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Dowlais Public Library

A Grade II Listed Building in Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil

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Latitude: 51.7611 / 51°45'40"N

Longitude: -3.3539 / 3°21'14"W

OS Eastings: 306652

OS Northings: 207805

OS Grid: SO066078

Mapcode National: GBR HP.0C2G

Mapcode Global: VH6CR.TZ8T

Entry Name: Dowlais Public Library

Listing Date: 12 November 2002

Last Amended: 12 November 2002

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 27083

Building Class: Education

Location: On the SE side of Upper Union Street opposite the Church of St John and some 100m SW of Dowlais Works Stables.

County: Merthyr Tydfil

Town: Merthyr Tydfil

Community: Dowlais

Community: Dowlais

Built-Up Area: Merthyr Tydfil

Traditional County: Glamorgan

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Merthyr Tydfil


Public library, 1903-7, by E. A. Johnson of Abergavenny, built as the Free Public Library with a grant from the Carnegie Trust. Arts and Crafts free style, with Tudor to C17 detail. The carved detail, in Art Nouveau manner, now much eroded, was by T A Jones of Cardiff.


Public library in rock-faced Pennant stone with red Alveley sandstone dressings and slate roof. Basement and main storey, L-plan with main reading room in N crosswing, entrance and exhibition room in S range, over basement. Free C17 style with Art Nouveau carved details, and plain square section mullions and transoms to flush grid windows. .
Main E and S gables have ornate shaped gables with ogee tops and finials, the coping interrupted by 2 raised piers with shaped curved caps. Two ground floor 3 x 3-light windows with moulded sills, flush band below and above and large gable roundel with 9-pane grid and ornate carved cartouche above. The 2 raised piers are carried on brackets to each side of ground floor sills. Copings have a concave curve each side of the raised piers, then an ogee curve to a shoulder and then a big convex curve going ogee at the top for the finial. Piers have a carved cartouche at tops. N side wall has 5 grid windows, 3 3x3 and outer ones 2x3 lights, similar moulded sills with brackets, flush band below and another band under eaves cornice which is split in 2 by little gable with ornately carved roundel window, ogee gable with finial framed by piers with ashlar tops and curved caps. subtle projection of outer windows to emphasis narrow centre bay. Three basement openings to right.
Main range to left of E gable has slightly projected entrance bay to right with hipped roof and moulded sandstone eaves cornice stepped forward over carved plaque with 'Public library' in art Nouveau letters. Cornices each side have short piers with curved caps over. Flush band under plaque over 3 small plain leaded lights over cornice of doorway. Doorway has splayed sides, ashlar depressed-arched head with scrolled keystone and dental cornice, supported by Art Nouveau shield each side. Six stone steps, concreted over to inner arch with Art Nouveau carved books in spandrels, and keystone over double panelled doors.
Wing to left has modillion eaves cornice over 4 grid windows, one 2x3 the others 3x3, moulded sills. Basement door to left and 2 3-light and one 2-light mullion windows. Panelled door with 2-light overlight and cornice. Big carved cartouche each side of overlight with bearded face.
Iron railings in front on ramped stone wall with ashlar coping.
Rear mostly C20 render. Projecting bay with mullion window on S side of reading room.


Main reading room has open timber roof with double-collar trusses, ceiled at upper collar with arch bracing at both levels, the trusses on corbels. Glazed screens to 2 small W end areas. C20 ceiling to S exhibition room.

Reasons for Listing

Included as an Edwardian public building in free C17 style with good Art Nouveau carved detail.

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