Music til late, playing anything and everything to make you dance. Reserve an area downstairs for free, or check out our beautiful capacity function room. Sundays are what the Colonel Fawcett truly excels in.follow url
Gregory's Chronicle: 1250-1367
If the snow is falling, curl up on one of our big sofas with a mulled wine. The Colonel Fawcett. Upcoming events. Drop us an email and we will get straight back to you… To make a booking click HERE For any other enquiries email info thecolonelfawcett.
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When to come? Monday — Thursday For the food lover or the ale explorer. Friday — Saturday Lunchtimes are buzzing but family friendly, with emphasis on our food and our service. At that time there were only two Friends group in existence at Belsize Park and Heath, both of which had been threatened with closure.
Realising the strength of public opinion, and that closing libraries would cost them votes, councillors threw out the proposed library strategy and set up an all-party committee with an independent chair, Tony Travers of the London School of Economics. This committee's recommendations — for greater transparency and consultation with the public, and no immediate closures — set the tone for library policy for the next decade. This included the installation of a lift to link the basement children's library with the ground floor, the replacement of the library shelves, new furniture, suspended ceilings and lighting.
This was also a golden era for FoWHL, with regular events — click here for some examples — a membership topping , and the support of local authors Doris Lessing, Stephen Fry and Anna Raeburn. Sadly the clock was taken down during works in and has not been seen since. But if the future of the library then seemed bright, there were still challenges to face. Computer terminals for general use arrived in , heralding a new era, and leading many to fear that books would be steadily relegated.
Another innovation in was the arrival of DVDs for loan. But the most serious challenge arose after the financial crash of , which in turn led to the gradual erosion of the consensus on Camden libraries established by the Travers Committee. Once again, libraries were seen as easy targets for cost-cutting, with the axe finally falling in It fell first on three fixed libraries: at Belsize, Chalk Farm and Heath.
Bloody British History: Camden
Each of these was then taken over by the Friends' groups, and turned into volunteer-run libraries, a model that was by then becoming increasingly common and which found great favour amongst those preaching the benefits of 'the Big Society'. A fourth library, at Regent's Park, was then closed altogether in April Added to this was the closure of the Mobile Library in April Another victim was Kilburn Library, on Cotleigh Road, although this was replaced by a modern building on Kilburn High Road in a controversial location, right on Camden's borders with Westminster and Brent.
Thus just nine libraries remained in the borough, despite the population being around the same figure of , as it had been in according to the Census , when there had been 17 libraries. West Hampstead appeared to escape relatively lightly during that particular round of cuts. Indeed in the spring of another substantial sum was spent on refurbishing the outside of the library, with new steps leading up to the front door, a new ramp and new signage. That they chose to devote this allocation to the library was yet another demonstration — one of many over the years — of just how highly the people of West Hampstead value its services.
But for all the improvements, behind the scenes the cuts continued; to opening hours, staffing levels and to book stocks, until once again the pressure told and yet another serious threat emerged during the summer of Once again rumours circulated that West Hampstead could be one of seven libraries either to close or to have its services severely reduced. For anyone wanting more detail of the results of the consultation, in which over 2, people participated, the full report can be read here. An impressive 29 per cent of all respondents, incidentally, identified themselves of users of West Hampstead second only to the response from Swiss Cottage users , even though in terms of its number of visitors around 86, per year West Hampstead is one of the smaller Camden libraries still operating.
"The Battle of Camden: A Documentary History" by Jim Piecuch
Amongst the under 16s who participated, 19 per cent were regulars at West Hampstead. And so to the present day. Once again, fortunately, it appears that as a result of Camden's deliberations in early , West Hampstead Library is safe for the time being. But make no mistake, unless there is a U turn by the Conservative government over its austerity measures and a change of heart by Camden, almost inevitably serious cuts lie ahead, and with them, increasing pressure on the library service to find ways of maximising the library's assets, at the expense of books.
For example one idea aired by local Labour party representatives in early is the conversion of the children's library into a doctors' surgery. All the more reason therefore to keep on supporting the Friends of West Hampstead Library. But more importantly than that, to support the library itself.
Use it lose it. That must be our motto for the coming years!
Related Bloody British History Camden (Bloody History)
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