Heritage building

A Grade II listed building, funded by a grant from Andrew Carnegie

Carnegie Community Hub in Herne Hill

The Carnegie Library is an important community building for Herne Hill. Opened in 1906 it is a Grade II listed building, funded by a grant of £12,500 from Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919) and designed by the architects Wakeford and Sons. This building was one of 2,800 libraries established worldwide with a legacy from Carnegie.

Andrew Carnegie was a wealthy industrialist and philanthropist who led in the expansion of steel across the USA in the early 19th century. Born in Scotland Andrew Carnegie emigrated to America and lived in Pittsburgh, USA where he founded the Carnegie Institute, also various Carnegie Trusts and endowments across the world. The Carnegie grants for libraries were given with the aim of encouraging learning in the community.

Like many Carnegie libraries, the Herne Hill library has elegant architectural features, such as large windows and a glass dome which provide plenty of natural light, graceful Corinthian columns, and parquet floors. It was opened in 1906 and is a Grade II listed building.

Historic England notes as one of its reasons for the Grade II designation that “the library is almost unchanged externally, and the internal arrangement remains legible despite later, internal alterations which are largely reversible”.

Carnegie Community Trust was established to protect and maintain the building by transfer to community management and generation of income through a range of community activities. We have an important responsibility towards the building and using some of our Heritage Lottery Resilience Grant in 2018/20 we were able to develop the Carnegie Heritage Plan – setting out our commitment to maintaining the heritage. This plan has been reviewed by conservation architects and is always open for feedback and review.