Former Chadderton Central Library


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Former Chadderton Central Library, Middleton Road, Chadderton


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Statutory Address:
Former Chadderton Central Library, Middleton Road, Chadderton

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

Oldham (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Former civic library, Jacobean Revival, designed by J Lindsay Grant of Manchester for Chadderton UDC with funding from Andrew Carnegie. 1904-5.

Reasons for Designation

The former Chadderton Central Library is designated at grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architecture: For the strong architectural composition of its two principal facades, making good use of its street corner position. * Social history: As an illustration of civic pride displayed by the new emerging town of Chadderton in the early C20. * Group value: As one of the key buildings of the conservation area, having particular group value with the adjacent former police station.


Chadderton first started developing as a town in the late C19. The library was built in 1904-5, shortly after the construction of the neighbouring police station and the first public baths, these buildings being the town's earliest purpose built civic buildings, forming the original core of the town. Construction of the library was funded by the Scottish-born American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, one of over 600 such libraries built in the British Isles after the 1892 Libraries Act up until the 1920s. The building underwent some alterations in the second half of the C20: loosing a cupola, flagpole and part of the parapet to the tower above the entrance in circa 1950; internal refurbishment in 1960s-70s resulting in a partial opening up between two ground floor reading rooms; the insertion of a ramped access in circa 1980 and the removal of an ornate ventilation turret from the main roof in circa 1990. The building remained in use as a public library until early 2010.


Former civic library, Jacobean Revival, designed by J Lindsay Grant of Manchester for Chadderton UDC with funding from Andrew Carnegie. 1904-5.

MATERIALS Red Accrington brick, mainly laid in English bond, sandstone dressings, leaded windows with rectangular quarrels, slate roofs with terracotta ridges. Cast iron rainwater goods with ornamented hoppers.

PLAN Double ranged with gable ends to Victoria Street (east) and entrance to Middleton Road (south) with the entrance stair hall adjacent to the street corner. Principal reading room occupies the whole ground floor of the northern range. Stair gives access to two further first floor reading rooms adjacent to the street frontages, the rear being single storey.

EXTERIOR Middleton Road frontage: Main entrance at the base of a three storey tower; three, two storied gabled bays to the left; a lower, three storied bay to the right that is set back. The entrance has a pedimented and richly decorated sandstone doorcase incorporating a cartouche reading "Public Library" surmounted by a sculpture of a reading child. Entrance retains outer gates of ornate ironwork. Windows above have sandstone architraves and mullions, and retain leaded lights. Windows to the bays to the west are similarly styled, but are larger, cross mullioned, with that to the first floor centre forming a large oriel. Parapet and gables are raised and coped. On the ridge of the main roof behind the centre gable is a leaded platform that formerly supported an ornamented ventilation turret. The bay to the right of the tower has no parapet, but has a dentilated eaves band instead.

Victoria Street frontage: Both gable ends are raised and coped, that to the right (north) being slightly higher and surmounted by a vase finial, that to the left with a shoulder to the left supporting a pinnacle. The right bay has a large, two storey canted bay with cross mullioned windows, quoining and a coped parapet. Above is a blind lancet to the attic that is architraved and pedimented. The left bay has a very large 16 light cross-mullioned, stair window with a three light mullioned window to the attic above and two, single light basement stair windows below. The corner to the left, (to Middleton Road) is canted and surmounted by a cartouche reading "This public library was presented by Andrew Carnegie Esq. 1905". Below there is a hanging sign on an Art Nouveau iron bracket and two further architraved windows. Set slightly back within the valley between the two gables is a partly truncated, diamond set chimney.

West end elevation: The two storey front range has large, six light, cross mullioned and architraved windows to the centre flanked by simpler two light, transomed windows with chamfered reveals. One of these small windows has been converted into a door. The single storey rear range has similar simple windows with chamfered reveals.

North side elevation: Cross mullioned windows with chamfered reveals and leaded lights.

INTERIOR Large stair hall featuring Ionic columns and an open well staircase, with both the balustrading and columns being oak. The ground floor of the hall is geometrically tiled in a monochrome design. Inner entrance doors, along with the other internal doors, are part glazed and are set in eared architraves. The large first floor room facing south has a vaulted ceiling. Other ceilings are more simply treated but generally have cornices.


Lambert Smith Hampton, Final Report: Chadderton Feasibility Study, 2008,


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

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