Libraries

According to Alan Rose in his ‘The Heritage of Red Hall Methodist Church, Audenshaw, 1782-1982’, the first library of any kind was the Red Hall Sunday School one. It certainly went back to 1860, as in the early 1980’s a M.Ed dissertation was written by a P. Hermon entitled ‘Red Hall Methodist Sunday School library, 1860-1880’. This dissertation was essentially statistical, but included a copy of the library’s rules, and a copy of the 1879 catalogue. The Society has not seen the dissertation.
Alan Rose states of the 1879 catalogue that it showed about 700 books were then available, not all for children. The child­ren’s titles tended to be of the ‘improving’ variety.
The library continued until the Sunday School moved into its new building in 1909, this building was a Sunday School only, not a day school as well. The library books were then sold off.
As regards to public libraries, the story can be traced back to 1913. The 1892 Public Libraries Act allowed all urban local authorities to run libraries, but they could please themselves. Audenshaw ‘adopted’ the Act in 1913, but instead of starting a library they made an agreement with the Ashton-under-Lyne council that Audenshaw residents be allowed to use Ashton’s libraries. This agreement lasted until 1926 when the Audenshaw Council surrendered its library powers to Lancashire County Council under the terms of the 1919 Public Libraries Act. Incidentally it was the first Urban District in the country to do such a thing.
Lancashire County Council wasted no time in setting up a lib­rary service for Audenshaw’s residents. A County Branch library was opened in the Y.M.C.A. premises on Denton Road in 1926. The lease was ended in 1936 and a library was opened off Guide Lane on Providence Road. These premises were used until the purpose built Denton Road branch was constructed at the end of the Thirties.



The YMCA, Denton Road
The words Audenshaw Public Library
are on the window to the left of the door

There was a public library in Ryecroft Hall after the Hall was taken over by Audenshaw UDC in 1922. The library room of the Hall when a private residence, was converted to a public library and this was run by Lancashire County Council with facilities for borrowing books from anywhere in the County. The library room in the Hall still has its original fittings but perhaps it goes un-noticed, the room is now a Local government office.
Lancashire built a new library at the Junction of Denton Road and Stamford Road which was opened on 29 June 1940 by Austin Hopkinson. The library was of the style of the thirties with rustic brick and iron window frames. The present Droylsden Library is bigger but similar in style.



Denton Road Library
Opened by Lancashire LCC 1940
Closed by Tameside MBC 1989

A portion of land at Ryecroft at the junction of Manchester Road and Lumb Lane was transferred from Audenshaw UDC to Lancashire CC in 1938 so that the County Council could build a second Library in Audenshaw. Because of the war this new library was not opened until 5 October 1966 (by County Alderman L. Ball), following which the library within the hall was discontinued.