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Lillington Library

A Grade II Listed Building in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.3017 / 52°18'6"N

Longitude: -1.5176 / 1°31'3"W

OS Eastings: 432989

OS Northings: 267173

OS Grid: SP329671

Mapcode National: GBR 6NC.M4W

Mapcode Global: VHBXJ.ND1W

Entry Name: Lillington Library

Listing Date: 30 April 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1420766

Location: Royal Leamington Spa, Warwick, Warwickshire, CV32

County: Warwickshire

District: Warwick

Civil Parish: Royal Leamington Spa

Built-Up Area: Royal Leamington Spa

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Warwickshire

Church of England Parish: Lillington St Mary Magdalene

Church of England Diocese: Coventry

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Summary

A branch library, in Festival of Britain style, dating from 1959-60, designed by Henry Fedeski, ARIBA of Fedeski and Rayner Architects, and built by George Wimpey and Co.

Description

A branch library, in Festival of Britain style, dating from 1959-60, designed by Henry Fedeski, ARIBA of Fedeski and Rayner Architects, and built by George Wimpey and Co.

MATERIALS: brick and concrete, with Hornton stone, glass, slate and coloured aggregate panels over breezeblock; copper roof to the first floor.

PLAN: T-shaped plan, with irregular arms.

EXTERIOR: the building is of brick and concrete construction, in two blocks: a long, single-storey range running left to right, housing the public areas of the library, with concrete beams supporting the flats which form the upper storey of the two-storey range running front-to-back and slightly oversailing what was formerly the centre of the now seven-bay range. The ground floor is glazed to full height, with aluminium frames, under a flat roof. The end walls are built from coursed, hammer-dressed Hornton stone. The entrance bay, which forms the ground floor of the front-to-rear range, tips outwards to carry the overhanging first floor, and is flanked by polished Broughton Moor slate panels. Above, the three-window cross wing has a low-pitched, gabled roof clad in copper; the breezeblock is clad in a checker-board pattern of alternating light- and dark-coloured aggregate panels. The returns to either side are clad in coarse, pinkish aggregate panels along the first floor of the seven-window range; the blind rear elevation is similarly clad. The ground floor and the rear of the main range are of brick.

INTERIOR: the interior of the ground-floor library forms a single, open space, with a central entrance housing the issue desk. To the rear of this section, four steps lead up into the rear corridor, which has offices and facilities for staff. An internal door within a service room gives access to the ground-floor lobby, primarily accessible from outside, which houses a concrete dogleg stair which rises to the first floor flats. The stair has square section metal balusters with ball details, and a metal handrail. The first-floor landing has opposing doors giving access to the former flats, now offices.

History

In the 1920s a part-time branch library was opened in an ex-police station in Lillington, but as the suburb began to expand, it became clear that this library could not cope with the needs of the population, and by 1953, plans were begun for the construction of a new library. Building was, however, delayed until 1959 because the government would not grant loan sanction. Henry Fedeski, FRIBA, DIPTP, AMTPI, a local architect in the Leamington Spa firm of Rayner and Fedeski, was chosen to design the building. In addition to undertaking a large number of domestic commissions in the area, the firm was engaged by the Anglican Diocese of Coventry as Diocesan Surveyors. As well as the Lillington Library building Henry Fedeski designed the Roman Catholic church of Our Lady (Grade II), which stands adjacent; the church was completed in 1963, and together the buildings form part of the municipal hub of the new suburb which grew up as a large area of social housing was built in the early 1960s. A two-storey building was conceived, to reflect the height of the flats on the opposite side of Valley Road. The scheme comprised a small ground-floor library, a single rectangular room, with two flats at right-angles on top, one intended for the branch librarian. The building was formally opened on 22 July 1960.

In the 1970s, the ground-floor library was extended by two bays to the west, increasing the size of the adults’ lending library, and at the same time, a small, ground-floor office extension was added to the rear of the building, under the supervision of James C E Tainsh, the County Architect. The former flats were in use as offices at the time of inspection (2014).

Reasons for Listing

Lillington Library, a small branch library in 1959-60 to designs by Henry Fedeski ARIBA, is listed at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: the library is a good example of the first wave of post-war building of branch libraries, and is in a lively, colourful Festival of Britain style, with good massing and design;
* Lack of alteration: aside from a sensitive, small extension, the exterior, which is the most significant element of the building, is unaltered;
* Group value: with the adjacent Roman Catholic church of Our Lady (Grade II), which was built almost simultaneously with the library, to designs by the same architect, forming a coherent hub for the new suburb they were constructed to serve.

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