'Heart of the community': Muswell Hill Library celebrates 90 years

From left: George Danker, Cllr Adam Jogee, Flo Armstrong and Cllr Peray Ahmet

From left: George Danker, Cllr Adam Jogee, Flo Armstrong and Cllr Peray Ahmet - Credit: Polly Hancock

Muswell Hill Library celebrated its 90th birthday on Friday with a tea party.

Local residents and dignitaries including Haringey Council leader Cllr Peray Ahmet, mayor Cllr Adam Jogee and Cllr Pippa Connor (Muswell Hill) attended the community bash at the Grade II-listed building on October 15.

George Danker, chair of Friends of Muswell Hill Library, presented the historic facility with an original copy of The Science of Life – the same book that was gifted upon the library's opening in 1931.

“We are delighted to be able to celebrate the library's 90th birthday," George said. “This is an important occasion for everyone who lives in Muswell Hill because the library is our only public building and is the true heart of the community.   

“We are so lucky to have such a beautiful place in which to learn and discover and open up new possibilities.” 

Cllr Brabazon, Haringey Council’s cabinet member for civic services, said: “Our public libraries are cultural hubs and important local resources.   

“Muswell Hill Library is much loved in the local community and we’re delighted to celebrate its 90th birthday – it’s remarkable that the library has stood and remained a fixture in the local community for so long.” 

Information from the Hornsey Historical Society charts the beginnings and evolution of Muswell Hill Library from its inception in 1931– then opened by the mayor of Hornsey, Councillor C H Summerby.

Mayor of Haringey Cllr Adam Jogee and leader Cllr Peray Ahmet

Mayor of Haringey Cllr Adam Jogee and leader Cllr Peray Ahmet - Credit: Polly Hancock

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The former mayor was given a bound volume of The Science of Life by Wells and Huxley, which had the Hornsey coat of arms on the front – and which can still be seen above the main entrance of the building today. 

In 1938 one of the earliest murals in a pubic library was installed in Muswell Hill, painted by students of the Hornsey School of Art in Crouch End.   

In 2016 the library in Queens Avenue was threatened with closure – before campaigners successfully forced the local authority to U-turn.  

Haringey Council had proposed to move the facility to 54-56 Muswell Hill, the site of a former pub. More than 3,000 people then signed a petition to save the library within a fortnight of its launch, prompting the council to scrap the plan. 

Following coronavirus restrictions, Muswell Hill Library is now back to normal opening hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 9am to 7pm; Wednesday 10am to 7pm; Saturday 9am to 5pm; Sunday closed.  

The tea party was organised by Haringey Council alongside the Friends of Muswell Hill Library.   

For more information on Muswell Hill Library visit https://www.haringey.gov.uk/libraries-sport-and-leisure/libraries/muswell-hill-library.

The grade-II listed building has been home to a library since 1931. Photo: Polly Hancock

Muswell Hill Library, based in Queens Avenue - Credit: Archant

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