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Free Library & Reading Room, Wheeler Street

History of Free Library Wheeler Street

According to 1959 Royal Commission on Historical Monuments Survey of Cambridge this library was a late 19th century building. It originally held fireplaces, one from the house of John Veysy and another from the same place as Madingley Hall and dated 1538.

16/6/1904: Cambridge Library committee referred to the recent fire on Peas Hill and the destruction of the premises adjacent to the library. But for the skill of the fire brigade the reading room must have been destroyed and the contents lost. The accumulation of books, pictures and scarce literature could never be replaced. Now the old dilapidated buildings should be cleared away and a more appropriate building erected. Next year they would celebrate the jubilee of the opening of the library and the appointment of Mr Pink as Librarian. The Library Association should be invited to hold their annual meeting at Cambridge, free of charge. (Cam. News)

1913:

Free Library and Reading Room

Hours: Daily 10-12 am; Monday and Thursday 6-7.30

Miss C L Digby and Miss Whitehouse, joint hon secs.

13/10/1936: The Central Library Lending Department is housed in the oldest and most unhygienic part of the building in Wheeler Street. The room is badly provided with natural lighting and artificial light has to be used. When ‘open access’ was installed in 1921 the annual circulation was 141,968 books and now it is over 309,000. It should move into the present domed Reading Room. Most of the bookcases have been in use since 1862 and would be unsightly; they should be replaced by steel shelving. (Cam.News)

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