Heritage: Wokingham’s First Library


Heritage Open Days is England’s biggest festival of history and culture involving over 40,000 volunteers. Every year over four days in September, thousands of events across the country invite you in to explore local treasures of every age, style and function. It’s your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences.

In celebration of this weekend (8th – 11th September) come and explore some of Wokingham’s beautiful historic venues found here.  Wokingham Library also have a display about the history of Wokingham Library and come help us  complete the jigsaw of Montague House. The children can also enter a colouring competition with prizes available.
A related reading list will be available online and a display of related books in the library for those keen to learn more and we will also have a week of articles about the history of Wokingham Library on our blog.

The First Library in Wokingham

Wokingham Library has not always been based in Denmark Street.  Shortly after the new Town Hall was opened in 1860, the Savings Bank room was used as a Parochial Lending Library outside banking hours organised by the local churches. This continued until 1880.

In 1924, the County Council assumed the duties of library authority in Wokingham.  The first Library was started in 1924 in the town hall and was originally only open on Fridays 6-8pm.  The Library was opened with 250 books. By 1928 there were 934 registered readers and 566 books were being borrowed.

Source: ‘Memories of Wokingham Town Hall 1947 to 2005’ and ‘Miss Baker’s School and Other Memories’ by Jim Bell

Local History Surgery
A great opportunity to chat to local historian Jim Bell who will be in the library to answer questions about the history of Wokingham. A drop-in event. Friday 9th September 9:30 – 11:30am


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