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.
Wokingham Library at Montague House
In 1951, Wokingham Library moved to Montague House in Broad Street. Berkshire County Council bought the building for £5,800. The public library occupied the former scullery, kitchen, dining room and study. There used to be a staircase where the counter once stood. During the first year 92, 131 books were issued and there were 4,544 registered borrowers. Originally the library was only open for ten hours a week. By 1952 it rose to 30 hours a week.
In 1970 an extension was built at the back of the original building, which was used as the Adult Library, the former school dining room became the Children’s Library and one of the smaller rooms was turned into a workroom and office.
The decision to build a larger library was made in 1994. Wokingham Library moved to Denmark Street in 1996. Since then Montague House has been used as part of Bracknell and Wokingham College, and most recently the Italian restaurant, Prezzos.
Source: ‘Miss Baker’s School and Other Wokingham 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