Friends of Minet Library - News

As a founding partner of the Minet Hub, we aim to regenerate Minet Library and its archive as a resource centre, with a new building on the site, a focus on improving access to information through digital media (including training, education and employment).

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  • 10 Apr 2015 1:43 PM | Minet Hub (Administrator)

    Come along and show your support for the 

    Minet Library & Archives

    Monday 20th April 2014

    Minet Library, 51 Knatchbull Road

    6:30 – 7:30

    Last chance to gather as a community in opposition to the proposal to close the Minet Library & Archive before Lambeth’s Culture Services 2020 Consultation closes on 24th April.


    We want to show Lambeth the breadth of opposition to their proposals for the Minet Library & Archives

    Monday 20th April 2014

    Minet Library Knatchbull Road

    6:30 – 7:30

  • 10 Apr 2015 1:41 PM | Minet Hub (Administrator)

    The Friends of Minet Library are making a radio programme about the Minet Library and you, the people who use it.



    Participants will be invited to be interviewed for 5-10

    minutes to talk about their favourite book and why

    they love it. 

    They will also be invited to talk about what

    the Minet Library means to them.

    Interview days are:

    Saturday 18th April 10am-4pm

    Saturday 25th April 10am-4pm

    We are open to anyone and everyone from 2 to 102.

    Come and talk to us!

    For more information on this project or to book an

    interview slot, please email Juliette Kristensen through

  • 15 Mar 2015 9:00 AM | Friends of Minet Library (Administrator)

    We have launched our online petition at Please encourage your friends and neighbours to sign.

    Please consider printing a poster for your street, to put in a front window or on your car if you are a driver. Save Minet Library poster.pdf

    If you have neighbours without internet access please print the petition form and ask them to sign. FoML petition form

    Thank you.

  • 08 Feb 2015 12:00 PM | Friends of Minet Library (Administrator)

    Thanks to so many who braved freezing temperatures yesterday evening to show such fantastic support for the Minet Hub campaign in support of Minet Library and Myatts Fields Park against cuts proposed by Lambeth as part of their Cultural Services by 2020 review.

    If you havent yet submitted your views directly, you can do so here:

    Sign-up to support the Minet Hub and Friends of Minet Library here

  • 01 Feb 2015 8:54 PM | Friends of Minet Library (Administrator)

    On Friday 30 January, Lambeth Council launched a public consultation on cultural services.  In the document, they make explicit reference to proposed actions that would see:

    • Lambeth Archives moved from Minet Library building
    • Closure of the lending library
    • Sale of the Minet Library building to developers

    The Friends of Minet Library, working as part of the Minet Hub, will be actively seeking to find ways of making sure we are able to keep the Archives and the library here.  To see more about this, read the bulletin issued by Minet Hub.

    If you are interested in helping us with the project, please email:

    Please show your support for Minet Library on National Libraries Day, Saturday 7 February 2015. 

    Thank you

  • 04 Feb 2014 4:30 PM | Friends of Minet Library (Administrator)

    Age Exchange and Lambeth Libraries and Archives are holding an open day at Clapham Library (91 Clapham High Street, SW4) where their team of specialists will be on hand to record your family stories, photograph your memorabilia, letters and photographs or other artefacts relating to the Great War.


    Tuesday 25 February 11.00am-4.00pm


    The event is free, but booking is essential.

    Please contact Annicka Ancliff 020 7926 4788 ( for further information.



    Also at the Open Day

    • Lambeth at War displays and plans for the Centenary around Lambeth
    • First World War themed lending books and other materials to borrow –local history books to purchase.

  • 07 Feb 2011 8:00 AM | Secretary MCA (Administrator)


    Local and award-winning novelists SARAH WATERS, EDMUND DE WAAL and STELLA DUFFY have stepped up to the plate to help support the Lambeth borough MINET LIBRARY read-in

    The read-in will take place on Saturday 12th February from 2.30 through 4.30pm, at MINET LIBRARY, 52 Knatchbull Road, London, SE5 9QY.

    Last weekend saw read-ins and demonstrations of library support across the country for local libraries, whose services are currently under threat. However, this small branch missed out and so local residents and the Friends of Minet Library group have jumped to the task of professing their love of this small library, which although partially destroyed by incendiary bombs on December 8, 1940survived, and with the help and support of the local community it maintains a lively, thriving existence to this day.

    Gifted to the community by the Minet family, the building that now houses the library was originally part of the Minet estate, and was designed by George Hubbard and opened in 1890. The library is still at the heart of this community, with the historic Myatt’s Fields Park and Longfield Hall just up the road. All these sites have recently been restored and provide regular activities open to everyone locally such as Community Gardening, Ballet, Tennis, Street Dance, Yoga, Tai Chi, Film-club and Reading groups.

    Lambeth Council is currently discussing the possibility of cutting and or closing Public Libraries in the borough and have already decided to stop the mobile/housebound library service altogether. The possibility of actual branch closures is very real.

    As a small, branch library, Minet Public Library is particularly vulnerable, despite it offering some key community activities such as Surestart Under 5s storytelling; a weekly reading group for 7-11 year olds; the free use of 12 computers for internet access, email and word-processing; a small collection of books in French and Spanish; as well as what we all know and love as typical library service: lots of real books!

    Highlights of the day will be readings from each of the authors, plus other local celebrities. The Itinerant Poetry Library – a world travelling free poetry library will be offering free membership to locals before it shifts location to San Francisco next week! Face-painting and free children’s activities will be taking place on the day, alongside the opportunity for anyone who turns up to read from their favourite library book.

    The Minet Library is more than a library - it is the centre of the community it serves. It would be unthinkable that in one of the most deprived parts of Lambeth it could close. Together we will make sure this does not happen.” – Kate Hoey, MP

    “When we enter a library we encounter each other, encountering each other we are revealed more to ourselves. Through such meetings we begin to understand how we are connected by our experiences of a shared world. Fundamentally, when we enter a library we are offered the opportunity to learn new things and thus, as individuals, as world citizens, to grow.” – The Itinerant Poetry Librarian

    Campaigners are expecting a large turn-out for the read-in on:

    Saturday 12th February, 2.30-4.30pm
    52 Knatchbull Road, London SE5 9QY

    For further information please contact Friends of Minet Library on 07506 310187 or email or tweet to @minetlibrary on twitter.

    Editor’s notes:

    • Minet is a branch library in the borough of Lambeth
    • The library was partially destroyed by incendiary bombs on December 8th, 1940 but survived the day!
    • Sarah Waters is the author of Fingersmith (shortlisted for the Booker and Orange prizes) and Tipping the Velvet (both books adapted for the BBC), and most recently the novels The Nightwatch and The Little Stranger (both shortlisted for the Man Booker).
    • Stella Duffy is the author of the The Room of Lost Things (2008 Orange Prize Longlist); the novel Theodora and the Saz Martin crime books series.
    • Edmund de Waal is the 2011 winner of the Costa Biography Award for The Hare With Amber Eyes. He was apprenticed as a potter in Canterbury, studied in Japan and then read English at Cambridge. The Hare with Amber Eyes is “the story of the ascent and decline of a Jewish dynasty, about loss and diaspora and about the survival of objects.”
    • Kate Hoey is MP for Vauxhall, South London.
    • The Itinerant Poetry Library has provided a free public library of “lost & forgotten” poetry for the last 4 years in 13 countries & 33 cities worldwide, in over 200 different locations, providing 1000 hours of public library service to the good citizens of the world.
  • 05 Feb 2011 6:00 PM | Friends of Minet Library (Administrator)

    For a long time after the war had ended in 1945, the Minet Library stood as a stark reminder of the war years.

    The familiar site of the library building standing on the corner of Knatchbull and Burton road was no more. It was gone, destroyed and flattened during a bombing raid in 1940. However, local people and children still came to the library to borrow books, making their way down to the basement of the building where the goodwill and spirit of the Minet Library was to be found.

    As soon as the war had finished, plans were made for a new library building. Architects were appointed and eventually the War Damage Commission approved the plans. During 1956, Lambeth Borough Council agreed to become responsible for the library, which had previously been jointly run with Camberwell.

    In 1957 building began and was completed within a few years at a cost of around £50,000, some of it being paid by the War Damage Commission. The Re-opening Ceremony was held on Saturday 18th April 1959, with the Mayor of Lambeth formally declaring the new Minet Library opened at 2.40pm. The new library, with its spacious interiors, contemporary designed furniture, under floor heating and large light catching windows was excitedly and well received by local people.

    The Council’s decision to invest in new books and facilities showed its confidence in the future. Readers could now choose from over 30,000 books, with the children’s library stocked with some 6,000 books for those aged from five to fifteen years.

    Many years have passed since the re-opening of the Minet in 1959. The ebb and flow of cuts and economies have had their effect, but the library is still here - a vibrant and much valued part of our local community. As the reader may well know the library has a long and chequered history going back well over a hundred years. If we could conjure up Mr. Minet from the past, I wonder what he would think of his library today?

    Graham Gower - Lambeth Archivist
    Originally published in the Minet Library and MCA Newsletter May 2003

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