Renovating our Library

It is a miracle that Primrose Hill Community Library has reopened after a series of setbacks.

Early last year the Library was awarded a grant that was to be spent on replacing the original hard rubber floor, which had become scarred after over 50 years of wear. The work, planned to take place over the summer holidays, had to be postponed when it was found that water had rotted the wooden window sills and frames facing onto the garden. All of these needed replacing urgently, which delayed work on the floor until the Christmas holiday period.

When work began on the floor in December, another horror was discovered by the contractors: there was extreme damp under the floor and the concrete was severely damaged. This meant that the whole floor in both the children’s and adult libraries had to be replaced.

At this point Camden Council was contacted, as it owns the freehold of the property. We are most grateful to David Desnoes and Tricia Lucas who responded immediately to pull out all the stops: they arranged for all the furniture and books to be moved into storage so that the contractors could take up the old screed, put down a damp-proof membrane, lay a new concrete floor and finally give the floor its new hard rubber surface.

It has been a major project, effectively relaying the sub-floor of the whole building. It is amazing that it was done so quickly considering the problems: such as clearing the total floor area, ordering all the materials needed at a time when the building industry is traditionally on holiday, and allowing time for the concrete to set at each stage. It needed great coordination between the parties involved. Frances Parsons managed the project supremely on behalf of the Library. Aspect Commercial Flooring, based in South London, picked up a much larger job than they had anticipated with great efficiency. While Sonny White Removals helped immensely in crating up all the books and furniture, storing them in the former Kilburn Library, and then returning them all to the right places.

With the help of many of the Library’s volunteers, everything was made shipshape so that the reopening could take place on 15 February, just two months later.

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