New lease of life for old library

An old picture of Marton Library, from 1932

An old picture of Marton Library, from 1932

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This once grand-looking building had fallen into despair.

But now the former Marton Library – an English Heritage listed building – is being given a new lease of life.

Marton Library was starting to become an eyesore after its closure. Pictured here in 2012

Marton Library was starting to become an eyesore after its closure. Pictured here in 2012

Built 84 years ago, the library, on Waterloo Road, South Shore, has been languishing derelict for more than a decade.

It was becoming something of an eyesore, with its broken and boarded up windows, and graffiti – a target for vandals.

In 2009 on New Year’s Day, it suffered a fire which caused serious damage to a kitchen in the disused building.

In its lifetime, it had provided years of education, entertainment and a focal point for the local community.

Work now taking place on the old Marton Library

Work now taking place on the old Marton Library

When it opened its doors to the public on July 2, 1932, it was heralded as “a striking addition to Marton’s many amenities.”

The facility boasted a reading room and a lending library and was described as “a handsome building, and there can be no doubt that it supplies a long-felt want.”

It had been built from “the best local brick”, according to The Gazette report of the time, with revolving doors and an entrance hall, panelled in oak.

The report added: “Ample provision has been made for space, light and air, and the scheme throughout shows a nice sense of harmony and design.”

Marton Library, just before its closure in 2004

Marton Library, just before its closure in 2004

Foundation stones were put in place on either side of the entrance, laid by Alderman John Collins and Coun W Rostron Duckworth.

The former library was auctioned off in 2004 by Blackpool Council, after its controversial closure. It was snapped up by property developer Raymond Ashall for £121,000.

Its rather sad fate was decided in just nine minutes.

The building, with 2,500sq ft of floorspace was up for sale with central heating, kitchen, slate roof, stained glass window and of course, enough room for a bookcase or 20.

The bidding for Marton Library was brisk – switching among four or five different bidders in a flurry of bids.

It marked a sad ending for the library, which in 2002 celebrated its 70th anniversary. It had 4,000 borrowers and 12 computers for the public with free internet access and word processing.

Permission was later granted to convert the building into homes and developers first moved onto the site in 2013. Any scheme must preserve some of the building’s original features.

But work seemed to never really get started, until recently.

Now passers-by will notice it has began a transformation. Windows have been put in at the front of the building, it has been painted and doors are also being installed.

It looks like the old library may be getting a new lease of life.