Barnet’s Labour administration is forging ahead with the revitalisation of Hendon Library, only a few years after it faced the Conservative threat of closure.

Barnet Conservatives wanted to knock down the Grade II listed Hendon Library apart from its front wall and hand it over for other uses.

This sparked a campaign where almost 2,500 residents signed a petition to save the library, championed by Anne Clarke, Labour councillor and member of the Greater London Assembly.

After being elected to administration in May 2022, Barnet Labour managed to reverse the plans and how has secured planning permission to revitalise the library following a council planning meeting on Tuesday evening,

Barnet Labour is committed to maintaining a Local Studies Service at the library, making the borough’s heritage from 1600 to the present day accessible to residents in the form of documents, photographs and rare books. The iconic central staircase is being preserved as are the stunning glazed ceilings of the upper reading rooms.

Its future is being shaped by the Hendon Partnership Board, a meeting of local residents brought together by Barnet’s Labour administration to help ensure that changes to Hendon never happen again without the voice of citizens being heard.

Barnet Labour’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure, Arts and Sport, Cllr Ammar Naqvi, said: “Hendon Library has been such a part of our lives – from being taken as youngsters at the pioneering children’s section, to a quiet place to study as a teenager, to being a constant resource throughout our lives.

“Now we have the required planning permission, we can get on with ensuring Hendon Library is as much part of our next hundred years as it has been of our last hundred years.”

Five Facts about Hendon Library:

It was opened in 1929 and cost £30,000.

It predates the London Borough of Barnet by 36 years, when Hendon Urban District had a population of 116,000 compared to more than 200,000 today. Ten years before the library was opened the district had only had a population of 56,000.

The motto above the entrance Non mimima pars eruditionis est bonos noscere libros means ‘not the least part of learning is to be acquainted with good books’

It is a grade II listed building, described in The Architect’s Journal as a distinguished example of a Neo-Georgian public library. It has listed elements internally and externally.

Barnet Conservatives had planned to end the building’s life as a library until local campaigners and Labour stood up for the service. Under Labour n it promises to be a revitalised library.

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