Iconic Streatham Tate Library to Re-Open after Restoration

Streatham Tate library reopens its doors on March 26

Streatham Tate library reopens its doors on March 26

First published in News

On the 26th March, the beloved Streatham Tate Library, bequeathed to the people of the town by Sir Henry Tate, the sugar philanthropist and Streatham resident, re-opens its doors with a waft of fresh paint and a whole range of new books, information, services and community space on offer. To mark this historic event, a series of events has been planned over the first five days of the opening.

There will be readings and workshops from Margaret Bateson Hill - The Silver Flame (the final instalment of the much loved Dragon Racer Trilogy), Sam Hepburn - Chasing the Dark, and under-fives storytelling with Sandra Agard, a contribution on the history of the building and its founder from Tate Britain and the Streatham Society, a play by the newly created Streatham Theatre Company, as well as displays of community projects, a host of stalls on the Community Day and a Made in Streatham artisan craft/designer-maker event in the new Streatham Tate Centre.

The building, thanks to the tireless work of The Friends of Streatham Library Group, has been given a much needed renovation and refurbishment costing £1.4m using funds from the Mayor of London’s Outer London Fund and Lambeth Council’s Cooperative Libraries Capital Investment Fund. Not only has the Library been restored to its former glory, including the reclamation of a barrel ceiling and a magnificent skylight and other original features, it now also has a fabulous community space, Streatham Tate Centre, in which to host events from theatre productions to art exhibitions and other community projects.

This represents an exciting opportunity to demonstrate how relevant a Library still is to so many segments of the community and how it can become more so in the future.

“In times when there is so much news about libraries closing, for those with a love of books, to hear that one is not only re-opening, but being enlarged and improved, is really exciting news.”

Based on information by Friends of Streatham Library

Plan of Events:

Wednesday 26th March

10.30am – Official Opening Ceremony

11.30am – Library opens its doors to the public

11.30 – 12.30 Under-5 Storytelling with Performance Artist Sandra Agard

Friday 28th March

Reading from their latest novels: Margaret Bateson Hill from the Silver Flame (the final instalment of the much loved Dragon Racer Trilogy) and Sam Hepburn from Chasing the Dark

10.00am – Schools Events including readings and a Storytelling Drama performance by Freshwater Theatre, which is for ages Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 8.00pm – Theatre Production “Playing with Sugar” created and performed by the Streatham Theatre Company.

Free tickets available on a first come first served basis at tickets.streathamtheatre.org.uk

Saturday 29th March

10.00am – 5.00pm Community Day with readings, workshops and family friendly events in the Library including an author signing and storytelling with Tamala Ceasar, who reads from her new book Spaghetti and Cheese and an exhibit of archive material on Henry Tate from Tate Britain. Pip & Posy, well loved characters drawn by Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler, will make an appearance in the children’s section throughout the day.

11.00am - Spaghetti & Cheese for ages 4 years and above

12 noon - 1pm Arts and Crafts Session - Make Mother Day Cards Community Stalls hosting activities in the new Streatham Tate Centre including amongst others the Streatham WI Vintage Tea and Cake Stall, Streatham Food Festival, Streatham Festival, Streatham Action, Friends of Streatham Common, Friends of the Rookery, Streatham Common Community Garden, The Friends of Streatham Library Group, Streatham Society, Streatham Theatre Company, a Traidcraft stall, Somali Women’s Sewing Group and a giant-sized chess tournament.

8.00pm – Theatre Production “Playing with Sugar” by the Streatham Theatre Company as per Friday.

Sunday 30th March

11.00am – 5.00pm – Made in Streatham - A showcase for Streatham-based artisan craft/designer-makers to represent and sell their work in their own local community. The group's work ranges from illustrations to wood turning and felt making, designer logo t-shirts to stained glass - and lots in between.

The Tate Britain exhibition

Tate Britain will present Henry Tate's archive, including photos of his house in Streatham. Items from Tate Britain’s new Archive Gallery will also be on display, featuring Sidney Smith’s original architectural designs of Tate Britain at Millbank. Smith designed many public buildings for Henry Tate in the late 1880s and 1890s including the Streatham Tate Library and Tate Britain Gallery.

Tate is also offering 50 free tickets (each worth £11) to the recently opened Ruin Lust exhibition, which is on at Tate Britain until the 18th May.

Streatham Society exhibition

A Timeline illustrating the rich heritage of Streatham will be mounted on the walls of the new Streatham Tate Centre by the Streatham Society. From its origins in the Roman period through to its heyday of entertainment in the 1920s and 1930s, the Exhibition will feature images of the wonderful architecture still present today. Short notes will be included of the many famous people that have left their mark on the area. The Timeline will conclude with images of recent developments and regeneration projects taking place today in Streatham.

Streatham Theatre Company presents “Playing with Sugar”

This project involves local people in devising and performing a new show to celebrate the reopening of the renovated Streatham Tate Library, marking 125 years since the Streatham Free Public Library Act 1889 which lead to the library opening in 1890.

The show is inspired by the collected reminiscences of local residents from Streatham. A volunteer research team interviewed residents and collated submissions. Our artistic team then worked with local people to devise, write and perform the show based on those reminiscences.

Our ‘blog’ at blog.streathamtheatre.org.uk provides a way of reading, commenting on, and adding to the reminiscences. And our website at www.streathamtheatre.org.uk/sugar/ provides more about the project.

Streatham High Road Quilt

The creation of an appliqué quilt of Streatham High Road was inspired by:

  • Creation of the 'longest quilt in Europe' in celebration of the 'longest High Road in Europe'
  • The birth of the Streatham WII (StWI)
  • The amazing quilting seen at the York Quilt Museum

The Streatham High Road Quilt is owned by Streatham and is used to promote and celebrate Streatham at community events, including the Streatham Festival, Streatham Food Festival, Streatham Common Kite Day, Christmas and Faith Celebrations and local art open house days. The quilt will be displayed in honour of the newly regenerated High Road and the restored Library.

The Project aims are:

  • To help meet the WI & StWI stated aims of sharing skills and inspiring women
  • To provide another way to think about our community and the women that live there at a time when change in Streatham is moving at a faster pace
  • To promote the new StWI across the community and establish it firmly in the community
  • To recruit women to the StWI
  • To reach out to other communities of women in Streatham
  • To reach out and engage with other groups, organisations and individuals in Streatham
  • To celebrate a great community
  • To reflect the diversity, history and change on the High Road





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