News: Carnegie Library

Forthcoming closure

The Carnegie will be closed from 29 October to 25 November (four weeks) to paint and varnish the floor in the main hall.

Carnegie Community Trust

The Carnegie Community Trust was chosen on Fri 21 July 2017 as Lambeth’s preferred community partner to take a long lease of the Carnegie building.

The Trust have a toehold in the building, in the shape of a temporary licence from Lambeth to use the former Librarian’s Workroom during the current works, in order to meet with people who might be interested in using the building. The Trust is negotiating with Lambeth for a full licence of the building for a period of around two years during which its business plan will be developed and tested with a view to taking a long lease of the whole building (apart the flats).

The Trust now has funding for a post helping to set up the Community Hub at the Carnegie.

Carnegie Community Trust resignations

Carol Boucher and Fred Taggart, who served as Chair and Hon. Secretary of the Carnegie Community Trust, have resigned their positions in protest at what they see as duplicity by Lambeth Council in respect of the Carnegie Library.

They also believe there is a flaw in the Asset Transfer legislation, and have written to Clive Betts MP, Chair of the appropriate Select Committee, asking him to look into the case and help protect the interests of community groups seeking the Asset Transfer of Council buildings.

Download and print the letter, dated 28 March 2018 [PDF]

The remaining members of the Trust are continuing discussions with Lambeth about a 75-year lease.

The Trust is looking for new Trustees.

Find out more at Love Lambeth: News from Lambeth Council [external link]

Planning application

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.

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

Two competing groups submitted a business plan for Asset Transfer of the Carnegie to community ownership. Price Waterhouse Cooper were commissioned by Lambeth to evaluate the two business plans.

You can read more on these websites

The Carnegie Community Trust [external link]

The Carnegie Library Association [external link]

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

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.

Posted by Diana Doyle February 01, 2018

Do not understand why Lambeth, a borough with an interesting history, huge archive, historical artefact collection and no local history museum, do not realise that the Carnegie building would be a perfect place for a joint museum and library.

Comment on this article

We welcome your comments. Please complete the form to add to the conversation. An email address is required but this will not be published.

Thank you for your comments.

Please note: The Society reserves the right to edit or remove any comment.

Please enter the word you see in the image below: