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Between the covers at Limehouse Library

PUBLISHED: 16:01 01 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:19 05 October 2010

THIS is the state of Limehouse Library six years since it was shut.

Books lie abandoned in the basement and a photocopier sits idle in an upstairs office with the corpse of a pigeon to keep it company.

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THIS is the state of Limehouse Library six years since it was shut.

Books lie abandoned in the basement and a photocopier sits idle in an upstairs office with the corpse of a pigeon to keep it company.

A recent theft of slates from part of the roof has allowed a section of the ceiling to collapse at the grade II listed building.

Rain has seeped in through the gap and the carpet underneath is so damp that fungi is growing there.

Poplar and Limehouse Tory candidate Tim Archer and councillor for Blackwall and Cubitt Town said: "This is far worse than I thought. The longer the building is left empty the harder it is for any community groups to afford the repairs.

"This building could be turned into something wonderful but instead it is deteriorating."

The library opened in 1901, thanks to a £5,000 donation from social reformer John Passmore Edwards who laid the foundation stone.

In 1987 a huge fresco called Limehouse Reach was painted by Claire Smith in the style of William Blake on the back wall of the main library.

It can be seen in all its glory on www.sublimephotography.co.uk

The following year Harold Wilson unveiled a statue of Clement Attlee outside the library. The statue has been boarded up for four years.

The library was shut in 2003 as part of the programme which saw the creation of Idea Stores throughout Tower Hamlets.

A council PR spokeswoman said: "We are currently looking at options for Limehouse Library, however, an early sale or lease is unlikely given the current state of the property market."

Tower Hamlets council spent £430,860 on security, rates, insurance, energy and water for its empty buildings last year.

It has already spent £197,437 on caring for empty buildings in this financial year.

Let us know what you think should happen to the library and see it in its heyday on http://www.derelictplaces.co.uk/main/showthread.php?t=2315


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