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The James Reckitt Reading Room

What is now the James Reckitt Reading Room is the architectural jewel of Hull Libraries.

The James Reckitt Reading Room last served as the local studies library, and was originally the City’s first reference library.

Virtually unmodernised since its Edwardian heyday it had become a fascinating if somewhat shabby reminder of the original 1901 library building, and it had remained unused since the local studies library was relocated to the flagship Hull History Centre building. The award from the James Reckitt Library Trust was used to refurbish the room and bring it back into use.

Although there was a need to modernise the electrical and lighting system, the refurbishment mainly involved restoring the room to its original state. The most significant architectural features are the glass fronted wooden shelving, and the fine stucco plasterwork, which is offset by large oak tables and period Captain’s chairs. All of this was in need of considerable and considerate restoration. Such was the quality of the original workmanship and with a sympathetic approach to its restoration the room now looks as fresh as the day it was built, and is set to serve the people of Hull for another hundred years and more.

Renamed the James Reckitt Reading Room on its reopening it has become the venue of choice for intimate literary events and readings, workshops and meetings. Thanks to its warm acoustics it has also served as a music venue and the location of several music videos. Since becoming a venue licensed for marriages it holds the honour of being the first library in the Country to hold a wedding ceremony.

Award £150,000