Plan to create Romantic poets centre to save Hampstead library

Heath Library could specialise in Keats and the Romantic poets under plans to save the cherished centre.

Tony Ghilchik, a member of the Phoenix Project group which is working on a rescue plan, unveiled the idea at a packed meeting at the library in Keats Grove, Hampstead.

He was “hopeful” that the group could create a literary centre which would draw heavily on the library’s heritage.

Mr Ghilchik, who is also the Heath and Hampstead Society’s vice-chairman, said: “We want to create a literary and literacy centre based around the core elements of Keats and the Romantic poets.

“It will come nicely alongside what we are doing at Keats House. So far, I am optimistic.”

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The group is working with the City of London Corporation, which owns the library and neighbouring Keats House, to create a business plan to convince Camden Council to give them transitional funding.

Ideas for homework clubs to help improve literacy levels were also put forward.

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The timescale for taking over the library was also revealed.

In mid-November, the City of London will decide “in principle” if it supports the group’s takeover bid.

A formal expression of interest document must be drawn up and handed into the council by the end of November.

If this is accepted, the library could pass into the community’s hands on April 1 next year.

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