However regrettable this loss might be, just forty years ago its predecessor library closed- a vast, vaulted and quintessentially Victorian space which embodied the values of literature and culture, of aspiration and high art. It opened in 1881 and its architects were J.H.Chamberlain and William Martin. Joe Holyoak has described how their Ruskinian architecture raised the city's spirit and 'spoke of culture and fine art, of craftsmanship.' The library's cathedral-like space was lined with vertiginous walls of books, framed by beautifully made work in wrought iron, wood, plaster and carved stone.
Occasionally visiting as a schoolboy, I remember the light coming from the clerestory windows, its atmosphere of quiet and calm, of learning. I suspect that its demolition in 1974 was a greater loss than the 2014 demolition of Madin's building will be.