News Article

Bringing ideas, imagination, creativity and knowledge to enrich lives and build thriving communities

Books and bubbles at Moretonhampstead Library

Posted on 28 Jul 2022

Front exterior view of Mortonhampstead LibraryWelcome back celebrations after roof repair closure

Moretonhampstead Library is reopening after a lengthy period of closure for roof repairs.

Customers will be welcomed back to a ‘Books and bubbles’ celebration on Saturday 30th July between 10am and 12noon. Everyone will be treated to a glass of (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) fizz and nibbles when the doors open, courtesy of the library’s Moreton Friend’s Group.

The library has been closed since Tuesday 1st March. Extensive repairs have been carried out to the roof of the historic building in Fore Street including new slates, lead and timbers, as well as work on the dormer windows, brickwork and pointing.

Libraries Unlimited Head of Commercial & Innovation Steve Turner said: “This was an extremely complex job involving the removal of the whole roof. It was then rebuilt with new timber, and new slate was put on top. We originally anticipated it would take around six weeks but as anyone who is responsible for an historic listed building knows, you’re never sure exactly what you’re dealing with until you start work. We’re grateful for the skill of our contractors, and looking back to welcoming everyone back through the doors.”

Libraries Unlimited commissioned specialist contractors to carry out the work as the building is listed Grade II. The charity secured agreement for the improvements from Dartmoor National Park.

Moretonhampstead First Assistant Denise Gatley said: “I’ve bumped into many of our regular customers in town and I know they’re very excited to have their library back. Our Summer Reading Challenge is well underway so we are particularly looking forward to saying hello to children and their parents who want to keep up their reading skills during the summer holidays.

“We’d also like to thank our wonderful Moreton Friends Group volunteers and customers who supported us with the pop-up library sessions at the Community Club in the town during this time. Full extra volunteer hours will re-start again on Wednesday 3rd August.”

The original Bowring Library was built in 1902 by shipping magnate Sir Thomas Bowring (1847 – 1915). It contained a reading room and an upstairs billiard room and men’s club. Sir Thomas was a benefactor to many local causes in Moretonhampstead including the Bowring Prize which was a scholarship for a local child’s education, and the Unitarian Chapel where he is buried.

Photos of the stages of work on the roof will be shown in a display in the library later this year.

Libraries Unlimited believes…

…in the unlimited potential of library services to make a positive difference to people’s lives and communities through a shared love of reading and access to high quality information and facilities.