Findon Valley Library c. 1975
Photograph courtesy of West Sussex CC Library Service
The first library in Findon Valley was opened in June 1950 in the showroom of Cissbury Garage, on the A24 in Findon. It opened for 6 hours a week and very quickly became much too small and cramped for the amount of villagers wanting to use the service. In 1951 the library was moved to one of the classrooms at the Vale School. This was up a steep hill which was not suitable for everyone to reach and so in 1956 it moved location again to All Saints Church Hall. This move made access to the library easier for everyone and the issue figures improved. By July 1958 the plans for a new library building were approved and building began on a piece of land which had been acquired some years earlier.
The annual report of the Findon Valley Society (previously called Findon Valley Residents’ Association) for 1959 included the following:
FINDON VALLEY BRANCH LIBRARY, A plan and model of the building to be erected at the southern corner of Lime Tree Avenue, adjoining the Findon Road, were displayed in the Worthing Library during January 1959. A large number of books, which will not date, have been got aside for transfer to the new branch. Building work has already commenced.
The building was erected by Field Place Builders who used an unusual architectural construction. The framework was mainly of wood and was octagonal in shape. It had a 44 feet roof span with no centre supports and three of the sides were taken up almost completely by glass. It was designed in this way to cope with the slope of the land and to compliment the ‘modernistic’ Findon Valley Free Church which stands on the opposite corner of the road.
The Library was opened on 17th October 1959 by the Mayor of Worthing, Councillor H W Bradley with the first book being issued by the Mayoress. The Findon Valley Society were, it seems, content with the end result stating in their annual report of 1959:
‘Our efforts have been rewarded after 11 years of endeavour. Membership and issues already show a remarkable increase.’
Written by Jane Dore, Information Librarian, West Sussex County Council
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