1897 – Passmore Edwards Free Library, Shoreditch, London

Architect: H.T. Hare


Perspective View including ground & 1st floor plans published in The Building News, January 13th 1899. The Passmore Edwards Free Library, as it was originally known, was opened in 1897. Often described as the “Cornish Carnegie”, John Passmore Edwards was a Victorian politician and philanthropist, and life-long champion of the working classes; this magnificent library was one of over 70 major buildings across the country – including hospitals, libraries, schools and art galleries – which he helped to fund. The building became redundant when Hackney Council opened a new central library in Hoxton Street; it was used for a time by English National Opera for rehearsals and workshops, but has now been refurbished to provide (in addition to residential accommodation on the upper floors) performance spaces and rehearsal studios for the Courtyard Theatre.