Category Archives: History


With the library closed, we are unable to browse reference material or borrow books about people or events commemorated this year. For the record, here are some examples:

Significant historical events include the Russian Revolution (1917). Among births to note are Italian painter Giotto (1267), Dutch Humanist Erasmus (1467), Jonathan Swift (1667), David Garrick and Horace Walpole (1717), Henry David Thoreau (1817), novelists Arnold Bennett and John Galsworthy (1867). Also born in 1867 were dramatist Luigi Pirandello, children’s book illustrator Arthur Rackman and sports coach & Herne Hill resident Sam Mussabini. Births in 1917 include Anthony Burgess, Arthur C Clarke, Eric Hobsbawm, Carson McCullers and John F Kennedy.

Jane Austen died in 1817, as did opera singer & Herne Hill resident Anna Storace. Poet Charles Baudelaire died 1867; actor-manager Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree and WW1 poets Edward Thomas and Arthur West died in 1917. Notable deaths in 1967 include author and editor J R Ackerley, who was born in Herne Hill, playwrights Joe Orton and Elmer Rice, poets John Masefield, Dorothy Parker, Carl Sandburg and Harlem Renaissance poet and dramatist Langston Hughes.

Tea with Shakespeare, Saturday 25th April


The Friends of Carnegie Library invite you to come to TEA WITH SHAKESPEARE. A celebration of Shakespeare’s Birthday in Words & Songs Performed by The Friends’ Musick in period costume. Directed by Marilyn Harper. Refreshments provided and all voluntary contributions gratefully accepted. The event will be opened by the Mayor of Lambeth at 3.30pm. Tea (Elizabethan style) will be served from 3pm.

Lambeth Libraries: a talk by Robert Drake Wed 12 Feb

Letter from The Herne Hill Society

Wed 12 February, 7:45pm
Robert Drake, Secretary of the Twentieth Century Society, gives an illustrated talk on the history and architecture of the Borough’s libraries including Herne Hill’s Grade II-listed gem, the Carnegie [that must be us! - ed]. About the Herne Hill Society meetings ->
During the refreshment break, be sure to take a look at Continue reading

Inspired by the Crystal Palace Subway: Call for Interviewees

crystal_palace_subwayDo you have memories of Crystal Palace subway? Perhaps as part of the High Level station or when it was used as an air raid shelter. Maybe you played there as a child, attended Subway Superdays or went to parties there. Or some other use we haven’t even thought of yet…

Volunteers at the ‘Inspired by the Subway’ project would love to hear from you if you have any memories that you would like to share. We are trained in oral history
interviewing and recording. We are collecting memories for an exhibition in
September 2014 and all materials will professionally archived. Continue reading

The Carnegie Chess Club: A Passing History

Edward OchagaviaThe Carnegie Chess Club was established by Edward Ochagavia in 2000 when the Library was under threat of closure. He was keen to make the library not just a place for books but also to bring people living in the area together socially and stave off the threat. He learned to play when he was growing up in the Soviet Union where chess is almost a way of life and wanted to pass on his enjoyment of the game.

His passion for chess lies in the game's ability to enrich your intellect. Whether you lose or win, you will improve your logical thinking, planning and strategising skills, social sportsmanship, and mental discipline. These skills are transferable to many of life's challenges such as mathematics, philosophy, science, technology, project management, and achieving your goals.

Since the club was established it has Continue reading

Reading Garden

The Carnegie Library is one of the few libraries in London to have a dedicated, quiet, and secluded outdoor space to facilitate a peaceful and relaxing reading experience. Join in the lull of the wind in the trees, the birdsong, and the ambience on one of the garden benches, smoke a pipe even, while reading the daily papers.

The Wildlife and Reading Garden's History

In 2007 Lambeth Libraries, in partnership with the Friends of Carnegie Library and Lambeth Parks, were awarded a grant from the Breathing Places Big Lottery Fund to create a ‘Reading Garden’ at Carnegie Library.Garden Frog

This ambitious project, which opened up the currently unused garden at the back of the library for storytelling, reading, and quiet contemplation, was launched on 7 July 2007 by Jeffrey Doorn from the Friends of Carnegie Library. He was joined at the launch by Library Manager, Laura Chrysostomou, Dr Ian Boulton, Lambeth Bio-diversity Officer, and support was given by author and restaurant critic, Jay Rayner.

With the help of volunteers the first phase of the project, to clear the ground and prune back the overgrown shrubs, was successfully completed. Following structural work the garden was opened to the public on 3 May 2008 by the Mayor of Lambeth, one year from the beginning of the project.  The garden holds events, a gardening club for children, and a sensory garden with Braille signing.