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Article by Paul Wright & photos by Paul Needle, 2020
Library - Higham Ferrers
Parish Rooms - now the library
The Parish Rooms became the Library in 1968
The library is now closed.

I always think there are some lovely iconic buildings as you travel through Higham Ferrers. But sadly one of those buildings that might be on most people's list, has now closed its doors in Midland Road.

It was formerly the St Mary’s parish rooms, and had been serving as the Higham library since the late 1960‘s.

supporter reception desk
 Local support before closure.

Reception desk prior to close down.

This closure followed the sad announcement by Northamptonshire County Council (NCC), that the library service in the county was to be drastically reduced in size. 15 months prior to it’s closure, the Higham Ferrers Community Library Group was formed by the chairman Rev Paul Needle. It had been hoped that the group would be able save the Higham library from closure by becoming volunteer-run.

Mr Needle said, we did offer volunteers to run the service, but despite appeals to NCC the only offer we got was a lease of £19,000 a year, plus the upkeep, or to buy it outright at the market value of £400,000. It needs a minimum of £50,000 spending on it.

The library will be sadly missed.
Twenty one libraries in Northamptonshire have also been under threat of closure, including the local one’s at Wollaston, Finedon & Irchester.

As from the end of December 2019, the building is now up for sale for the asking price of £400,000.

Many thanks to Paul Needle for allowing the use of his photo’s in this article, and to him and his team for their valiant efforts to keep the library afloat.

Strength of feeling was running high about the closure, and we have a couple of poems that were sent in to express what was happening.

Staff were at the building at the start of 2020, and were seen to be moving books and stock around.

The Rev Paul Needle, chairman of the Higham Ferrers Community Library Group, said: "I feel really sad. It's an extremely sad day for all of the community and we've been let down by those in charge. It's a great shame that Higham Ferrers Library is the first to close down but it's probably not the last."

The former parish rooms, which had served as Higham Ferrers library since 1968, told its final story at 16.00, on Tuesday December 31st, 2019.

Although it is part of the conservation area, it does not have a conservation order on it.

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