Celebration marks 60th anniversary of Rottingdean Library

Posted On 22 Mar 2014 at 10:00 pm

Rottingdean Library marks its 60th anniversary today (Saturday 22 March) with a celebration, including afternoon tea.

Winston Churchill was Prime Minister and food rationing had just ended when the village library opened in a former Georgian vicarage called the Grange.

The building had previously been a Second World War officers’ mess and the home of downland artist Sir William Nicholson from 1909 to 1914.

But now it is a vibrant community hub which houses not just the library, but also Rottingdean Museum, the Grange Art Gallery and a display about the author Rudyard Kipling.

Kipling lived in a nearby house called the Elms from 1897 to 1902.

To mark the library’s anniversary, a free event will take place at the library in The Green from 2.30pm to 5.30pm today.

There will be afternoon tea, including a birthday cake, a photo display of the building’s history, craft activities for children and a quiz.

A new disabled-accessible toilet is also being built and should be open in a few weeks.

Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, who is Brighton and Hove City Council’s lead member for libraries, said: “It’s a wonderful historic place, well worth celebrating, but now getting facilities people reasonably expect in the 21st century.

“This is part of a programme of improvements at libraries which reflects their continued importance.

“We previously had no toilets there so the council has funded these to make the library a more viable and pleasant place to visit, including for people with disabilities.”

The library currently hosts computers, pre-school activities, a toddlers group, homework club and a summer tea garden.

It is open on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Check the council’s website for the exact hours or call 01273 296918.

Brighton Kemptown MP Simon Kirby said: “Public libraries provide a valuable service for people of all ages across my constituency.

“The Rottingdean Library is a particularly special place which has been an important feature of the local area for the past 60 years.

“I fought against the library’s closure as a councillor in East Sussex over 20 years ago and so I am especially pleased that this impressive milestone has been reached.”

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