Heritage Open Days-Events at Wokingham Library

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Wokingham Library will be taking part in Heritage Open days this year when communities celebrate their history and heritage. Between September 4 and 16 there will be a special display about the history of Wokingham Library and we will also be highlighting some interesting facts and stories about the town as supplied by our local history volunteer Jim Bell.

Our Reminiscence Group will meet on Thursday September7, 10.30am to 12noon and the topic will be Wokingham Library and its history and memories of libraries from childhood. This is a free event, no need to book, just drop-in.

If you would like to find out more about Wokingham and the local are, drop-in to our local history surgery where local history expert Jim Bell will be available to answer your questions. Jim is in the library between 9.30am and 11.30am every Friday.

There is also a colouring competition with a local theme for children visiting the library. Hand in your entry for a chance to win a great prize by the end of Monday September 18

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Heritage: Waterbabies Statue

heritage

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.

Waterbabies Statue

The statue was designed in 1999 by Lydia Karpinska.  It was Wokingham’s first public statue. Rev. Charles Kingsley, author of The Water Babies, interviewed a local chimney sweep, James Seaward of Rose Street, about his recollections as a child sweep, on which he based the character of Tom in the book.

James Seaward, who had 12 children, was elected Alderman of Wokingham from 1909 to his death in 1921, many of his descendants still live locally.

Can you find the representation of a chimney in the sculpture? You might see Tom smiling back at you!

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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

Heritage: Wokingham Library Moves to Denmark Street

heritage

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 Moves to Denmark Street

In 1995, a building was started in Denmark Street for a new library.  Before the building work started, the corner of Langborough Road and Denmark Street originally housed vehicle workshops and an electricity sub-station.

It took library staff two weeks to transfer books and equipment from Montague House. The new Library was opened on Monday 28th October 1996. This was a state of the art library which had two separate floors for lending and reference stock. The total stock was 88,200 items, including adult, children’s, reference and local studies, CDs, cassettes, videos and CD-ROMs.

On 1st April 1998, Berkshire County Council was divided up into separate authorities and Wokingham Libraries came into existence with eight branches, rising to ten branches with Winnersh opening in 2003 and Finchampstead opening in 2010.

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

Heritage: Wokingham’s First Library

heritage

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