Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Greater London Authority
Islington (London Borough)
National Grid Reference:
TQ 30733 84109



TQ3084SE BRIDGEMAN ROAD 635-1/51/92 (South side) West Library and attached railings


Branch public library. Dated 1906 on the foundation stone and on a plaque over the first-floor windows of the corner range block in Bridgeman Road; completed 1908. By Arthur Beresford Pite for the Public Libraries Committee of Islington Borough Council; builders C.Dearing and Sons. Yellow brick set in Flemish bond with bands of purple brick, dressings of yellow gauged brick and Portland stone; roof of slate. One and two storeys over basement. The library is set out in three loosely related parts: an entrance block of three-window range in Bridgeman Road; a gabled main block on the corner of Bridgeman Road and Thornhill Square; and a single-storey block to the right of the entrance in Bridgeman Road, again with three windows. Flat-arched entrance in single-storey porch, the architrave decorated with spiral mouldings; a shallow bracketed canopy at entablature level enclosing a panel lettered 'PUBLIC LIBRARY' and flanked by geometrical interlaced ornament, of which there are also panels at the head of small buttresses either side of the entrance; overlight; panelled door of original design; flat-arched windows either side of the entrance and three-flat-arched windows to the first floor, each under a round arch of gauged yellow brick; these windows have impost blocks and tympana of stone, each tympanum carved with one letter of the alphabet on a ground of foliage, and the same treatment is applied to the heads of other windows in the library, in order to complete the alphabet; the first-floor windows have 6/6 sashes of original design and bracketed pediments over, of a type inspired by the Baths of Caracalla. The block on the corner of Bridgeman Road and Thornhill Square has a range of three windows to ground and first floors flanked by tall blank round arches under parapets; the windows separated by engaged columns with unusual capitals, those to the first floor a simplified version of the Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae; here not only the tympana but also the impost blocks on both floors are carved with letters of the alphabet; over the first-floor windows are linked pediments of the Baths of Caracalla type, over that a broad round arch of gauged yellow brick with thin piers like a Diocletian window but blank and filled with diaper work in purple brick, and in the centre a corniced Portland stone inscriptional panel; over all, a shallow quasi-pedimented gable with simplified acroterion and antefixae in Portland stone. The return to Thornhill Square is of four bays with flat-arched windows to ground and first floor set back slightly from principal wall face, each with its letter of the alphabet, and set under similar pediments; parapet; lantern along the ridge of the roof, with an octagonal lantern set over it, the lower part glazed, the upper open, with a lead roof and finial. The single-storey range in Bridgeman Road has blank round arches under gauged brick heads either side of three windows separated by engaged columns with no capitals running up into impost blocks; windows heads with letters of the alphabet; hipped roof. Cast- and wrought-iron railings designed by the architect , either side of the porch and to the area in Thornhill Square, with overthrow, brackets to main wall and standards with Greek Revival details. INTERIOR: preserves the original plan which reflects the progressive librarianship of James Duff Brown, though the uses have changed somewhat. Steps up to central staircase hall, flanked by a balustrade with fasces to the panels and newel post with urn finial. The hall has panelled dado and original architraves and doors to the Children's Library and Children's Lending Library (an unusual facility for 1908), but the entrance to the main Lending Library has been slightly altered. Geometrical stair in apse with square newel decorated with neo-Classical ornament and urn finial, and panelled balustrade decorated with fasces. Paterae to frieze and Greek key ornament to panelled plasterwork of ceiling. More original architraves and panelled ceiling to the first-floor landing, but the various rooms, including the first-floor reading room with its segmental barrel-vaulted ceiling, have lost most of their fittings and such original decoration as they may have had. (W.A.Munford: James Duff Brown. 1862-1914. Portrait of a library pioneer: London: 1968-).

Listing NGR: TQ3073384109


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
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Books and journals
Munford, W A , James Duff Brown 1862-1914 Portrait of a library pioneer, (1968)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

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Date: 05 Oct 2005
Reference: IOE01/14959/35
Rights: Copyright IoE Miss Patricia Philpott. Source Historic England Archive
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