Old Lewisham Central Library - a Memory of Lewisham.

In the early 1950s I worked at the Central Library, near St Mary's Church. My most vivid memories are the long working hours (difficult for the social life of a young girl) and having to manually count the 'issue' before we could go home. We were quite a happy group of young people but I do not know how many went on to become fully fledged librarians. After several years I left to pursue a successful career in children's publishing and my best friend Gerry became a probate clerk. Gerry and I once played a prank which caused quite a stir. The old library building (demolished now I suppose) had a barrel shaped roof in the main area which was glass and very dark. During a tea break in the attic staff room we discovered a door into a crawl space above this roof and went in for a look - no rules on health and safety in those days- and discovered that the glass was in fact a mosaic of coloured glass and absolutely filthy with the dust of many years. We cleaned one of the panels which I think was about 6 inches square and yellow. When we arrived the following morning Mr Smith the deputy librarian and Mr Parris (I've forgotten what his function was) were staring up and pointing at the dazzling square. No questions were asked but pretty soon the whole roof was cleaned and very handsome it looked. I wonder if there is anybody left who remembers this roof. Sadly Gerry died in 2010 and we completely lost touch with our other best friend Lionel, who I believe returned to his home in Cape Town. Another memory is Blenkharns the bakery in the row of shops beside the library and the delicious pastries we bought for tea. I also remember Mrs Fox a very old lady who was usually first in the door when the library opened in the morning, and probably came in for a nice warm place to read the paper.

I worked for a time in the Record Library which had many old shellac records and people had to carry out a big heavy pile it they borrowed a whole opera.


A memory shared by rita on Mar 5th, 2019.
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