Putney Library opened to the public in 1899.
The building was the gift of the publisher Sir George
A bust of him was placed in the long corridor to the building
during the 1920s.
When the library first opened it listed its members by their
Maids, Grooms, Footmen, Butlers, Draper, Ladies and
A practice which has long gone out of use.
These membership records were written upon ledgers,
which were kept within the Librarians Office,
and stored there for many years after they had became
You could made an interesting historical class analysis by
just going through these ledgers.
During World War Two the basement of the building was
used as an ARP ( Air Raid Patrol ) centre.
This space was later used to store items for the
I worked in Putney Library from 1973 to 1987.
When I first worked in the library it still had its original
wood book cases, and a wonderful grandfather clock in
Roy Plomley of ‘Desert Island Discs’ fame would use the
Music Library in his research work for his broadcasts.
He also liked to see old French films, and I would sometimes
bump into him at the National Film Theatre.
Another Putney library user was the Tribune cartoonist
A former Labour minister, Lord Jenkins of Putney, was yet
another library user.
I give the above facts as an example of the joy of Library
We all use & work within public libraries, and very rarely
think about just how they have been used over the years.
Yet just you look at this kind of history, & you will find a
fascinating part of all our social heritage.