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Public Library

A Grade II Listed Building in Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan

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Latitude: 51.4375 / 51°26'14"N

Longitude: -3.1734 / 3°10'24"W

OS Eastings: 318536

OS Northings: 171596

OS Grid: ST185715

Mapcode National: GBR HY.NNHW

Mapcode Global: VH6FL.Y47C

Plus Code: 9C3RCRPG+XM

Entry Name: Public Library

Listing Date: 19 November 1990

Last Amended: 21 January 1993

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 13366

Building Class: Recreational

Location: Set in the slope between Rectory Lane and Rectory Road; the main entrance is now at the corner in Rectory Road.

County: Vale of Glamorgan

Community: Penarth

Community: Penarth

Built-Up Area: Penarth

Traditional County: Glamorgan

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Built 1904-6 by H Snell, architect to the Windsor estate; contractor was Mr Bond; foundation stone laid 10th September 1904 by Samuel Thomas, Chairman of the Library Committee. Built with grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation. Present entrance is a later arrangement, replacing entry beneath arch in Stanwell Road.


Free Jacobethan style. Comprises main 2-storey and basement range to S with 4-window Stanwell Road front, single storey 4-window hall uphill to left and 2-storey, 3-window house at extreme N end; 2-window front to Rectory Road. Rubble masonry laid in thin courses and with partially dressed quoins and stringcourses; freestone frontispiece and clock tower on main range and also to window dressings and gable parapets throughout. Tiled roofs, with parapet to the main range and overhanging eaves to the hall which has red brick panelled chimney stacks and octagonal ventilators. Mullion and transom windows with leaded glazing, some cross-frame.
The composition is dominated by the square tower set into the extruded corner beside the main entrance. Octagonal louvred belfry to the top with weathervane and swept lead roof; clock faces to S and W below in freestone surrounds with strapwork cornice, pilasters, corner finials and moulded aprons. Coats of arms below and cross-frame windows. Shaped gable to Rectory Road with finial, slit-like attic opening over rectangular freestone 'Public Library' plaque and 4-light windows; cornice over panelled doors with overlight; modern steps and ramp. Some horned sashes to basement. On the Stanwell Road front there is a similar shaped gable to centre of this range and a narrower and more curved gable to the left with frontispiece over the former main entrance enriched by finials, shell-like ornament and strapwork bordered panel with inscription 'Goreu arf, arf dysg' ('Knowledge is the best weapon'); classically derived cornice and pilasters flanking round arched former entry with keystone, foliated spandrels, coffered soffit and coloured glass to margin; now glazed over panelled base. The hall has 3-light twin-transom windows; each bay is marked by pilasters stopped and scrolled at height of upper transom. 3-light windows to house with gables over upper windows; grouped horned sashes to middle; 4-panel front door; lean-to at left end.


Internally there are cast-iron columns, with octagonal bases to those on the ground floor of the main range; cast-iron balustrade to stairs with bulbous main balusters and brass handrail. Round arched opening into 4-bay hall which has timber trusses springing from fluted brackets.

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