Welwyn Garden City Library - Time Line

WGC Library 1960 Issue Desk
Welwyn Garden City Library
WGC Library 1960 Childrens Library
Welwyn Garden City Library
WGC Library 1960 Mid Herts College Site
Welwyn Garden City Library

Jan 1922

Subscription Library set up in Welwyn Stores

New Town Book Club up and running. Cost 3s 0d (15p) to join. Everyone lent a book to the club which made available 500 books for any resident to borrow.

July 1925

Subscription Library set up in one of the flats at the entrance to Guessens Court


Free County Library established in Lawrence Hall


The Subscription Library and the Free County Library joined together. The subscription was abolished. The library moved from Lawrence Hall to rooms in the Old Upper Handside Farmhouse


The Library moved from Handside to the wooden builders huts on The Campus site, which had been vacated by the Garden City Company. The Library now had two fully paid assistants and fifty volunteers.


The Library moved to rooms in the newly built Council Offices building, but the library soon outgrew its accommodation and the Children’s Library moved back to the wooden huts.

Autumn 1939

The Library moved to a vacant house, No 9 Guessens Road, which was owned by Theodore Chambers (chairman of the Garden City Company). Eventually Hertfordshire County Council bought the house and the library stayed there for twenty one years.

November 1960

The Library moved to purpose built premises in the Mid Herts College site on The Campus

November 1973

The Library at Campus West was officially opened by Sir John Betjeman

This page was added on 02/08/2010.

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  • I believe 9 Guessons Road was the home of Theodore Chambers.
    When the new Campus library was opened in 1960 the house became the HQ of the Mid-Herts area of the Hertfordshire Education Authority. I once went there for an interview for a teaching job in Hatfield.

    By Robert Oakhill (06/06/2020)
  • Rebekah Bristow You’ve brought back a vague memory of mine – a library in Cole Green Lane opposite (approx.) Gooseacre Clinic! We lived in Great Ley and I remember walking to the Clinic, Library and Woodhall shops.

    By Sue Bradford (02/02/2018)
  • If I remember right 9 Guessens Road was Ebenezer Howard’s home but it was converted into a library in Autumn of 1939. On a Saturday Mum would go off to bridge at the Woodman and Dad would drive me over to the library. I would browse the children’s section and love it – Dad would return, read and borrow books while I would go from book to book looking intently. Raised a keen reader.

    I was doing a six month course in French Language and Literature when the library moved to the Mid Herts College in November 1960. I went to evening and weekend lessons, and we were taught in the library. Always arrived early so I could browse the books and take a few out – you could even buy magazines from this library (a first).

    By George Boston (22/10/2015)
  • My sister and father, along with my in-laws, were all keen readers and I fondly remember travelling to the library. On Saturdays, after necessity shopping, we all as a family went down to the library where we had joined. My wife’s parents usually met us at Stanborough Park then we’d all go to the library as a family. A family reunion really.

    By Joseph Peterson (01/04/2015)
  • Our family lived in Blackthorn Road in the 1950s and 60s, our local branch library was a tiny room in the rent office in Wellcroft Road. What a clever idea looking back on it. Every time Mum went to pay the rent my sister, Johanna and I went along too. I loved it, choosing a book and story time. A very special place. It became redundant when the Cole Green Lane branch library opened.

    By Rebekah Bristow (nee SPROLL) (12/07/2013)
  • My first contact with the public library service in WGC was the children’s library on the upper floor of the pre-1973 building. I couldn’t believe how modern it felt ( I think that translates as lots of plate glass: wonderful views across the Campus and down Parkway ). The Browne issue system brought me back to reality with its inability to take back books on the day that they’d been issued, but that was almost universal then. The staff were great, and that’s still all it takes.

    By Andrew John (13/01/2013)
  • I remember going to the library in Guessens Road with my father, Bob Wilton, and the lovely downstairs rooms that held both the childrens and adults libraries. In the summer the french doors would be open to the garden, and I used to long to go out there to read. Although the new library on the Campus was so much more spacious, with more books, it didn’t have the same atmosphere as 19 Guessens Road, where I felt I was borrowing from someone’s private book collection.

    By Teri Aldous (02/12/2010)