Was the first large, multi-functional, post-war library in London and was a example of pioneering architecture at the time. Plans are currently under way to remodel the library and redevelop it into studio spaces and new homes. The redevelopment is part of a proposed overhaul of one of the earliest Modernist public libraries in the UK, which backs onto the cul-de-sac where the Cockpit Arts building is located. The redevelopment plan, which includes more than 100 new homes, will reduce the archive collection. Some of the archive is to be stored in an off-site climate controlled facility.
The scheme would see some of the items in the treasured archive boxed up and moved out. The collection includes copies of historic maps, 19th-century toys, gramophone recordings of George Bernard Shaw accepting a freedom of the borough award in 1946 and back-copies of the New Journal, including the first-ever edition from 1982.
In January 2017 the ‘Twentieth Century Society’ listed Holborn Library in its ten buildings named, ‘at risk’
It is clear that the library is in a period of disruption and change while plans for redevelopment are finalised. Artists teachers and managers at Morley College London will be engaging in two weeks of artistic intervention within a space which manifests a rich history and exists within a period of uncertain transition. Artists will respond to the space within this framework of transition.
Questions of ‘worth’, public and social space, architecture, community, archives, knowledge and record keeping will be addressed through painting, drawing, ceramics, textiles, paper-making, photography, jewellery, sculpture, film, installation, digital media, sound, printmaking, performance, works on a variety of surfaces, and work made from library objects
Established in 1889, and with its roots stretching back some years before that, Morley College London is one of the country’s oldest and largest specialist providers of adult education.
Its original philanthropic, charitable foundation continues to be a distinguishing feature of the College to the present day.
Founded as the ‘Morley Memorial College for Working Men and Women’, it was the first institution of its kind to admit both men and women on an equal footing to address the learning needs of Waterloo and Lambeth – an area of great poverty at the time. This sense of mission and spirit of inclusion towards the most disadvantaged in society has been maintained throughout Morley’s history and continues today: putting our students first underpins all that we do.