The reopening of Thornton Heath Library and other cultural events
7:23pm Sunday 27th June 2010 in Croydon
History of Thornton Heath Library Thornton Heath Library opened on the High Street near the old polytechnic. It consisted of a News Room, a Magazine Room, a reference library and a lending library. Unusually for the time, the system was an open access system where the readers had direct access to the shelves. Most public libraries were closed access; where readers were shown what books were avaliable to them on a board and request them.
Soon a bigger library was needed and a new site was planned next to the fire station on Brigstock Road. It opened on 8th July 1914 by the Mayor Councillor F. Denning J.P and many new readers were enrolled.It was still 'open access'. A children's library was added in 1921, when the basement lecture room was converted and toilets were added. The Library remained open during World War II (there are still records available), and the old boiler room was converted into an air raid shelter complete with tin hats. Thornton Heath was heavily bombed, but surprisngly, the library building escaped damage.
There has been very little change to the building for a long time and it has actually been difficult to manage as a modern library; too many rooms, the children's library being in the basement;which made it difficult for pushchairs and there was no disabled access.
The newly refurbished Thornton Heath Library opened this month. (Its fiction section includes; crime, adventure, mythology and romance,while its non fiction section includes history, local history, family and careers.) Another aspect of Thornton Heath Library, and Thornton Heath in general, is that it is very community based. Thornton Heath has a very multi cultural community. In the early 1980s a alrge community language section was started to provide for new overseas residents. Languages included: Bengali, Gujerati, Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil and Malaysian. These included both fiction and non fiction books. Multi cultural events that have taken place at the library include: Caribean Focus, Images of the East and a Community Fair.
In fact, on Saturday 3rd July, Aspara Arts will not only be performing from 2:30pm to 3:45pm but will be holding a a workshop as well, afterwards. This is a ticketed event.
STRANGE EVENTS AT THORNTON HEATH LIBRARY Thornton Heath Library has had a few spooky incidents in the past. A cleaner had almost finished cleaning when she heard a a massive thump from upstairs as if all the bookshelves had fallen over and then a strange sound like something being dragged across the floor. When she went to investigate the upper floor everything was the same; except for her shoes, which she always changed on arrival, had been moved from where she had left them. She was the only person in the building and she had locked the door on her way in.
Strange smells, noises and objects disappering have also been witnessed. Staff have reported seeing someone out of the corner of their eye. Thinking it was a colleague, they turned to see no one there. A ghost hunter has reported seeing things when visiting. Other strange stories about Thornton Heath include; a UFO sighting over Tescos!, a haunted pub, the Wheatsheaf Inn and a haunted house on Beaverstone Road.
********************** DRAGON TALES Returning to theme of multi culturalism, this autumn the Museum of Croydon will be joining forces with the British Museum, for a brand new exhibition entitled Dragon Tales. The The British Museum has loaned four objects depicting St George slaying the Dragon to Croydon Museum. They will be displayed alongside the Clocktower's own Chinese Dragon collection which is currently exhibited in the Riesco Gallery.The exhibition is aimed at children.
Bangladesh Family day at the British Museum For anyone interested in Eastern / Indian / Bangladeshi culture, Saturday 10th July is Bangladesh Family Day from 12pm to 4pm; in parntership with Camden Bangladesh Mela Committee. The British Museum will be celebrating Bangladeshi culture with dance and music performances, art activities and colourful rickshaws created by the local community.
There will be a free Indian dance workshop on the 21st and 28th of August at 11:30am, 13:30 and 15:00. Also on the 28th will be an Islamic tile painting workshop at 11:30am, 13:30 and 15:30. The Asian Galleries and the Department of Asia at the British Museum The Chinese and Indian permanant exhibtions are located at the North section of the Museum. There are also permanant Japanese and Korean exhibtions. As well as exhibitions of Chinese Jade and porcelain there is also an excellent Islamic Gallery.
The Indian exhibition focuses on the main religions of India including Hindu legends and sculptures from Amaravati, while the Chinese collection ranges from all over China. The Islamic Gallery is separate and covers many aspects of Islam including its origins, prayer rituals, the life of Prophet Mohammed and how Islam helped influence scientific development and learning all over the world; through inventions such as sundails and astrolabes which were developed to help people keep track of prayer times. It also features treasures from the Mughal Empire and explains how they came to rule India. Exhibits include armour and a terrapin made completely from Jade.