Central Library – Grimsby

This is Grimsby Central Library – a proud public building of real quality, reflecting the cautious optimism and fierce civic pride of the Sixties. Built to last, in the modern manner – gently monumental, softened by the easy grace of the restrained decoration and a refined palette of stone, glass and concrete.

By the Borough Architect – JM Milner ARIBA assisted by E L Shepherd 

This image was used as the Mayor’s Xmas card in 1969.

The bold exterior grid is enhanced by a honeycombed grille above the entrance, along with a mosaic depicting the town’s seal.

The mosaic is the work of Harold Gosney – who is also responsible for the Abbey Walk reliefs

The Guardians of Knowledge which adorn the south facing elevation of the library are the work of Peter Todd former head of Grimsby Art School

To the rear of the building is a modular relief.

Inside the entrance porch a commemorative plaque.

Once inside, what a pleasure it is tread upon this interstellar inset stone flooring.

Either side of the lobby display case there are two vertical tapestries.

Along with a further plaque commemorating the opening on the 3rd September 1968 – by the then local MP Anthony Crosland.

Crosland looked ahead to a time where “personal freedom, happiness and cultural endeavour; the cultivation of leisure, beauty, grace, gaiety and excitement… might be pursued.” After he was elected MP for Grimsby in 1959, he referred to the above passage in an early speech, insisting – to much laughter, cheering and applause from the audience, that “it is possible to achieve all these things in Grimsby, and especially at Blundell Park.”

May I take this opportunity to thank the ever so helpful library staff – for kindly granting me permission to photograph the main body of the library.

Many original fittings and fixtures are intact – particularly the distinctive vertical suspended lighting system and the steel and wood stairways.

The facilities were well used and lit by the expansive window space.

Let’s take another final look outside, and say a fond farewell to this fine building – go on treat yourself, take a trip to the East Coast and feast your eyes, heart and mind on this beauty.

Ta-ra Grimsby!

I’ll be back real soon.

22 thoughts on “Central Library – Grimsby

  1. Thank-you for this. I’ve been going to this library, on and off, since I was a child (it arrived in the world the same year I did) and, as such, I had become immune to its considerable charms.

    Given the social and economic slide the town has suffered in the last few decades, its almost impossible to believe that once there were civic-minded people here with vision.

    Your facts and photos have opened my eyes to the place as though for the first time. I will be seeing it with new eyes, now.


      1. I discovered this wonderful building in the mid-2000s when in Grimsby on business. It is one of the finest examples of post-war modernist architecture that I have ever come across, and its survival in extremely original and unmolested condition is testament to the quality of its design and construction. Surely it should be listed. Fine buildings in original condition from this period are now very rare, and this one should be conserved for the enjoyment of future generations.


  2. Pingback: Grimsby Walk
  3. Where are the books, computer terminals, reference library facilities (seating, tables etc). Why are these not shown? People don’t go to a library to admire the architecture.


    1. Dear John – in this instance my interest was the architecture, that is the central purpose of Modern Mooch. The library does offer all the services which you list, details must be available on their website. Cheers – Steve


      1. Thank you for a quick reply. I am considering coming to live in Grimsby and was surfing the web when I came across Modern Mooch and shot off a few random thoughts in the hope of being constructive. I am a bookworm, but I take your point.
        Best wishes–John Dover


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