Testament to Edwardian zeal

There seems to have been some misunderstanding as to how the old library building in Avenue Road, recently the home to the Bath Place Venture, was funded when it was first built in 1902. Contrary to your assertion that the buildings were ‘paid for by public subscription’ (Courier editorial November 9), it is a matter of record that they were in fact entirely financed by the old Leamington Spa Corporation through rate income.

The buildings were erected on the Old Perkin’s Nursery site and comprised a Free Library & Technical School. The Technical School which occupied the larger part of the new building was built by the Corporation in response to the 1902 Balfour Education Act which for the first time enabled local authorities to provide and run schools.

The Free Library section of the building owed much to the efforts and initiative of Alderman Thomas Thursfield, a Warneford Hospital consultant and former Mayor of the borough, who over many years funded the purchase of books for the library.

It says much about the Edwardian’s zeal for self improvement that in those days over 800 Leamingtonians passed through the library doors each and every day. - Alan Griffin, Leam Street, Leamington.

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