It was revealed to us, and covered in national press, earlier this month that Bebington Central Library has been classified as a Grade II listed building.
Our local library is one of seven 20th century libraries given a Grade II listed status, presenting the best examples of such buildings throughout the country.
Bebington’s first free public library was established in 1866 by Joseph Mayer, a Liverpool goldsmith. However, the growing community meant that in 1965 the borough council commissioned local architects practice Paterson, Macaulay and Owens to design a new library.
Historic England has carried out extensive new research into post-war libraries and has identified the building as meeting the highly selective criteria for listing. According to experts, Bebington Central Library has ‘a bold, modernist style’.
However, since the election of 2010, Conservative cuts have severely reduced Wirral Council funding, meaning that it is so much harder for us to provide valuable funding to local libraries.
So our efforts to make the most of this Grade II listing are being hampered. You cannot expect councils to take such cuts, year after year, and be able to protect libraries and enhance them. It is just not possible.
Supplying a meeting place and an area to learn, the building is a credit to the volunteers who help out there.
I hope that local residents will support this listing and that this particular building will be admired by – or at least will intrigue – passers-by and visitors to Bebington for years to come.
And that in future, the Government will not choose to focus so much of its budget cuts on Wirral. It just isn’t fair.
By Alison McGovern MP for Wirral South