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28th October 2022
Pontefract's Carnegie Library (1904), the town's first free public library, is an inspirational example of re-use rather than demolition. It closed in 1975, and is now the Pontefract Museum. It is much admired in the Pevsner guide which goes into an unusual amount of detail, calling it an "Art Nouveau treat..[with] a beautiful hall with tiled dado and arches in pea green with pale blue flowers and emerald green trim, and mosaic floor with leafy border. Oak screen and doors with original brass fittings." This embodiment of the immensely rich Carnegie's philanthropy is a reminder of how it is possible for money to 'trickle down' and make literature and culture accessible to all in beautiful surroundings.
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