News: Carnegie Library

Planning application passed

Despite strong representations from our planning expert David Taylor, Jeff Doorn on behalf of the Friends of Carnegie Library and local resident Sara Bredemear, on Tue 7 February 2017 Lambeth’s Planning Committee voted by a majority in favour of GLL’s application to install a gym in the building.

The meeting was held at Bolney Meadow Community Centre (literally miles away from Herne Hill). Despite this, over 80 members of the public attended.

Read the Herne Hill Society’s objections

On Thu 31 March 2016, the Carnegie Library, a Grade II-listed Edwardian building, was closed by Lambeth Council.

The demo outside the Carnegie

Asset Transfer

The Council’s plan is for the building is to be run by Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL); however they are in favour of transferring the building’s management to local people who would acquire it through an Asset Transfer procedure.

Two competing groups have submitted a business plan for Asset Transfer of the Carnegie to community ownership.

You can read more on their websites [external links]

The Carnegie Community Trust CIO

The Carnegie Library Association CIO [PDF]

Price Waterhouse Cooper have been commissioned by Lambeth to evaluate the two business plans. When the PWC report will be presented to Lambeth is not currently known.

It is clear, in the Society’s view, that both the organisations bidding for an asset transfer want to secure a future for the building, one that will provide community uses, including a meaningful library service. That is an aim strongly supported by the Society. The Herne Hill Society has not expressed a preference for either submission.

Correspondence with Lambeth

The Herne Hill Society has written to Councillor Lib Peck, Leader of Lambeth, raising a number of questions, particularly about the proposed use of the basement.

Letter to Cllr Peck of 6 May 2016 [PDF]

We received this reply, dated 24 May 2016.

Letter from Cllr Peck of 24 May 2016 [PDF]

Further information

In 2015 Lambeth published a consultation document, “Culture2020”. This included a set of proposals for the future of its public libraries and parks – see

Carnegie Library in an old photograph

Reader Comments

Posted by Colin Wight May 20, 2012

The Friends of Carnegie Library are now on Facebook

Posted by Caroline Knapp September 06, 2012

Excellent news re Wi-Fi in the library but it’s quite a complicated rite of passage, even with a membership card and pin number.
I’m about to use it for Ruskin Readers Adult Literary Club whose students will be able to gain access to Google, literacy games and all the glories of the internet.
Thank you, Lambeth, at long last!

Posted by Eleanor March 26, 2013

The friends are tweeting too -


Posted by John C May 09, 2016

To Colin Wight and HHS: thanks for writing to Lib Peck and Lambeth Council on 6 May re Carnegie Library’s current state and future. The Carnegie Library is a cornerstone of Herne Hill and deserves better than the Cavalier treatment it is currently undergoing.

Posted by Gloria Kaufman May 30, 2016

I grew up round the corner from the library in the thirties and forties. My love of reading was born in the library and has been with me ever since. I am almost 85 years old and was shocked to discover on a recent trip down memory lane that the library was closed. You have my support in your efforts to maintain it as an iconic local landmark and resource.

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