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Woodside Library

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We are looking for  memories about Woodside Library in the early 1960s so that we can recreate our 1940s-60s town. 

We will be translocating Woodside Library, brick by brick, to form an important part of our Forging Ahead development. We are currently seeking memories about the library from the early 1960s, the period in which the building will be set. 

Do you have any personal stories or family connection with the Library? Did you borrow there, study there, or dance there? If you do have anything you would like to share to help our interpretation of the library, please get in touch. 

How to contact us

  • Tel: 0121 557 9643
  • email: collections@bclm.com 
  • Post address: Collections Team, Black Country Living Museum, Tipton Road, Dudley, West Midlands DY1 4SQ 

About Woodside Library

The library was opened in 1894 to serve the south west part of Dudley. The land for the library and Woodside Park were donated by the Earl of Dudley, who also offered help with the funds to build the library out of the takings from his fetes at Dudley Castle. As such the library, and the adjacent police-houses and fire station, were constructed with a covenant limiting it to public use only. The opening ceremony for this, and Netherton library, built at the same time, was on 24th July 1894. The Earl and Countess of Dudley, along with many local dignitaries, processed from Dudley Central Library, to Netherton, to Woodside. The building featured a Reading Room and Lending Library on the ground floor, and a Recreation Room and Retiring Room upstairs, and was intended for the benefit of the working people of the Woodside area. At the beginning, the library was “closed stack” – visitors had to request books from the librarian – but converted to open access in 1934.

After World War Two, libraries began to modernise and Dudley libraries were at the forefront – they increased their book stocks by 15,000 a year, included paperbacks for the first time and gramophone records, mostly classical music and language learning tools. The upstairs rooms were used for a variety of clubs and societies, and dances hosted by local compere Horace Robinson. The building was refurbished in the early 1970s and operated until 2008.

Why Woodside Library?

Woodside Library will be one of the largest, and most architecturally impressive, translocation projects within BCLM: Forging Ahead. It will enable us to continue stories of education and children’s lives, social life and the role of local authorities in everyday life in the Black Country, as well as complementing some of the other new buildings in their portrayal of civic life in the post-war period. We are proud that we'll  be able to give this beautiful building a new lease of life. 

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