East & West Molesey

A Dictionary of Local History

Rowland G. M. Baker, 1972

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A small free library operating on a voluntary basis was run by the parish of St. Mary's. In April 1880 a committee was formed to run the library, buy more books, and extend its scope to cover the whole of East Molesey. In the same year the stock was increased by some 500 volumes donated by Samuel Carter Hall, the well-known author who lived for some years in the village and died in 1889. The books were issued from the Girls' school, at a rate of about 60 a week. In 1926 an association was formed to agitate for the district council to enter the county library scheme, which had been adopted by Surrey the previous year. The council at first refused as it meant raising a rate of one third of a penny in the pound! In 1927, however, it agreed and eventually a hut was erected in the grounds of the old council offices at Dundee Villa. This was used until the present library in Walton Road was opened in 1964. The old hut still fulfils a useful function as a day centre for the elderly.

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