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The Western Library Refurbishment

Established in 1895 the Western Library is Hull's oldest publicly funded library.

This was in no small part thanks to the campaigning of James Reckitt himself, along with other city fathers of the time.

The Western Library is a fine grade 2-listed building, built in the Queen Anne style by Alfred Gelder, Hull's most famous architect and a major force in the creation of the city’s Victorian splendour.

In recent years the building was beginning to show its age, and the wear and tear that you would expect from a library well used by its community for over 100 years.

In 2011 the library closed for an extensive two year refurbishment programme funded by the James Reckitt Library Trust. The existing public spaces were refurbished and repurposed, for example by creating an internet-cafe style computer suite. However where possible the original features were kept, for example the oak beams, and the original Issue Desk that now stands as a fine decorative centrepiece.

But this was more than just a facelift. A new atrium entrance was added and the upper floor was brought into public use for the first time, with three flexible rooms for use by library users and the community.

Perhaps surprisingly, for the type of building normally associated with indoor recreation, the refurbishment programme saw the creation of a library garden. This is a place where library users can enjoy fresh air and books.

Award: £413,000