Winton Forum


Winton Library

Winton's first library was started in 1891 at Winton Congregational Church. In 1905 a temporary "newsroom" was set up at 10 The Parade opposite St Luke's Church.

The original plans
Opening Day 26 October 1907
The 1920's - tramlines in the foreground
How the reading room looked in the 1950's

The current Winton Library was opened in 1907 and was Bournemouth's first permanent purpose-built library.


Following a failed proposal for a building in Alma Road, it was constructed on land given by landowner Lord Leven and paid for largely by the millionaire Scottish-American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

The winning tender for the new library was from Miller and Sons who submitted an estimate of £1,833.

The records show:

Mr. William Edgar presented the library with a gift of four lamps.

Mr. W, Bonifleld provided the library furniture (£43-16s-Kd).

Mr. J.H. Tett provided the gas fittings for the library (£10-15s-0d).

Mr. James Gibbons of Wolverhampton designed the memorial plaque (£12-10s-0d)

Mr. J, Stevens was appointed as Caretaker - at a salary of £30 per year.

The official opening was on 26 October 1907.

First borrowing

The ceremony was conducted by the Mayor Alderman J. Parsons who also borrowed the first book - it is recorded as "Frederick Treves - Highways and Byways of Dorset".

Andrew Camegie had been invited but was unable to attend.

Carnegie libraries were built on the firm moral principle that reading and education would help people "better themselves".

Unlike earlier libraries they had an open shelf system that allowed people to browse freely.

Famous reader

The best known Winton resident to take advantage of the concept was Flora Thompson who virtually educated herself in Winton Library.

She went on to write one of the classics of English literature. You can read more about her on our Flora Thompson page.

The library was modernised and redecorated in 1926 and extended in 1933.

Forty years later in 1967 there was another major refurbishment which included new floors and lighting.

Another first

In 1972 Winton continued its trailblazing tradition by becoming the first computerised library in Bournemouth.

Four years later it was declared a Grade 2 listed building.

There were more refurbishments in 1993 and 2006 - when the library was fitted with a computer suite.