There is something within the work of George Pace which speaks directly to my eyes and heart – and feet. His Modernism is tempered by the Mediaeval – along with Arts and Crafts references and a nod to Le Corbusier’s Notre Dame du Haut, Ronchamp
Here in Sheffield is a church built in 1868 – 1871 to a standard neo-Gothic design by William Henry Crossland. Bombed in the Blitz restored, redesigned and built by Pace 1958 – 1963, accommodating the original spire and porch.
The rising cost of repairs, combined with ‘a desire to progress’ with the regeneration of Droylsden town centre and the inaccessibility of the library’s T shape, three-floor configuration means that a ‘solution for the future of the library’ is now needed, according to the town hall.
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.