Then & Now

1906-2021 Runcorn Carnegie Library.

The library at Egerton Street was constructed in 1906 with money donated by the Scottish-American businessman and public benefactor, Andrew Carnegie. Runcorn's first free library was opened in 1882. It is believed that it was originally located in Waterloo House. Following the donation from Carnegie in 1906 the present purpose-built library was built on a plot adjacent to Waterloo House to the rear and the original external wall of the house subsequently became an internal wall. The Carnegie Library was designed by James Wilding, surveyor and water engineer to the Runcorn Urban District Council. It remained Runcorn's central library until 9 November 1981 when a new library was opened at Runcorn Shopping City and the Carnegie Library became a branch library, closing for good in2012 when Runcorn Library was moved to the former market hall on Granville Street. The only use the library has seen in the past decade has been as temporary housing for residents in between homes, forming dormitory-type accommodation in what was once the reading booths, which has been largely kept from the public eye. The current state of the building inside following this period of use is unknown. The library is a listed monument, and although protected by this status, as of 2019 the Carnegie Library is under threat of partial demolition due to the heavy decline of the adjacent Waterloo House, although it is worth noting that the structure visible in this image is not at risk of being lost.