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Latitude: 51.6329 / 51°37'58"N
Longitude: -3.8177 / 3°49'3"W
OS Eastings: 274292
OS Northings: 194240
OS Grid: SS742942
Mapcode National: GBR H2.88FZ
Mapcode Global: VH4KC.S722
Entry Name: Briton Ferry Library including attached Library House
Listing Date: 19 May 2000
Last Amended: 19 May 2000
Source ID: 23307
Building Class: Institutional
Location: Approximately 250m S of the parish church prominently sited N of the junction with Graig Road.
County: Neath Port Talbot
Community: Briton Ferry (Llansawel)
Community: Briton Ferry
Built-Up Area: Neath
Traditional County: Glamorgan
Built in 1901 (foundation stone on building) as a public library and as the offices of the Briton Ferry Urban District Council, by H. Alex Clarke, architect, and Thomas Waters, contractor. The library occupied the lower storey and originally housed lending and reference sections and a reading room. The upper storey comprised a council chamber and offices. The council rooms were used until 1922 when the Briton Ferry Urban District Council was absorbed into Neath Borough.
Built in a pavilion style and with a 2-storey 5-bay front in Bath stone with brick side walls, windows replaced in original openings, and a slate roof with end brick stacks. The bays are framed by Tuscan pilasters. The wide central bay has an elliptical arch in 3 orders, the outer order with capitals, and double panelled doors with raised fields. An overlight with geometrical tracery has etched glass reading 'Public Library and offices'. On the R side of the doorway is a polished granite foundation stone. The outer bays have segmental-headed windows with sunk panels in the spandrels. Between storeys is a deep moulded string course. In the upper storey is an oriel window with blind balustrade to the centre bay, while the outer bays have round-headed windows with panelled aprons and spandrels. A frieze of oversize nail-head is below the cornice and parapet. The parapet has blind balusters over the outer bays, while the 3 central bays bear an inscription in raised panels reading 'Public Library and Council Offices'. Behind the parapet and rising through the roof is a centrally-placed square clock turret with splayed slate-hung base, round clock faces, and surmounted by an octagonal cupola, in which alternate faces have louvres, and an ogee dome.
Set back against the R side is a lower 1-bay 2-storey gabled brick wing, which has a slate roof and end brick stack (known as Library Cottage). Facing the front, the lower storey has a canted bay window (boarded up at the time of inspection), above which are a pair of round-headed windows with sash windows, stone dressings and sills, beneath a gablet. The doorway is set back against the R gable end in a small gabled porch. The main library otherwise has a round-headed window upper R, while the stack projects at gable level.
Set back against the L gable end of the main range is a 1-storey brick projection with Bath-stone dressings and embattled parapet. Facing the front are a large and a small window under lintels (replaced in earlier openings). The L side wall has 2 narrow windows. Above, the main range stack is corbelled out at gable level. The rear wall is roughcast. In the upper storey are 5 unevenly placed round-headed windows with sashes. The lower storey has a single-storey hipped-roof projection offset L of centre with 2 segmental-headed windows to its L.
An entrance vestibule has a decorative tile floor and double half-lit doors with raked boarding below diamond-quarry glazing, and flanked by similar half-lit panels. A central stair hall has an elliptical arch above the foot of the stairs with panelled soffit and foliage responds. A moulded cornice incorporates a billet frieze. An open-well stair has turned balusters and newels, and fret-cut scrolls to the tread ends. The doorways to the lending library on the R and children's library on the L have half-lit panelled double doors and a fluted surround with paterae at the angles below a moulded cornice incorporating a billet frieze. The present lending library was originally 2 rooms, both of which have moulded cornices incorporating billet friezes. Both rooms also had fireplaces in the gable end but they are now blocked.
Listed, notwithstanding replacement of windows, as a prominent Edwardian public building retaining strong original character.
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