Update: Lane Ashfeldt's take on judging this year's competition: The Willesden Prize, Stories and Tunnels _______ This is the...
Friday, July 26, 2013
Demolition of the Willesden Library Centre (video)
A perfectly good building, which contained the local library, museum, cinema, art gallery, concourse, bookshop, café bar, performance spaces, meeting rooms and council one-stop shop is being demolished. In its place there will be a Stalinist sounding "Cultural Centre" with council offices and four blocks of luxury flats, currently advertised in Singapore as "For Sale - the Library at Willesden Green" with a list of features including "No affordable or key worker housing", "Gated development" and "Underground car park". Our library centre (by the way a good, literate and fluent name for it, now appropriated by developers of the apartments) was used by innumerable community groups and was nearly always packed with schoolchildren studying at the reading tables. There will be two years at least now during which pupils and students who would have made use of the spaces will lose out on their education. This is all thanks to our local Labour (would you believe?) council, which has also closed six other libraries, out of 12, in the past year. One of the libraries they closed and stripped and sold to property developers, was the Kensal Rise library, on a site donated by All Souls College in Oxford on condition that it be used for a community library and opened in 1900 by Mark Twain. In the past five years or so, they have taken £600,000 from the Heritage lottery fund to renovate the building you see being demolished, and to move in the Brent museum from its previous home at The Grange (where have they sold that, by the way?). What a rotten shower they are. They are not fit to run a whelk stall let alone local government. They sold the town hall as well and got themselves a new office block with no parking and not enough space, hence more offices on top of where our old library stood. Don't they make you sick?