Nov 252015

We have an opportunity to block the shutdown of Tate South Lambeth Library for conversion to a “healthy living centre” ( ie a gym with an unattended library corner).


By responding to a consultation paper on Durning Library and Tate South Lambeth Library that is now in the library and online at

The consultation paper from Lambeth is unacceptable as it stands (see below).

BUT we must all give a response – because otherwise Durning Library will remain as a proper library, and Tate South Lambeth will become an unwanted gym with a few bookshelves and little more.

We suggest that you

(1) Answer questions 1 and 2, with “strongly oppose”.

(2) Write in the space below these questions: “This document does not give us the option of stating our strong preference for Tate South Lambeth Library as the town centre library for the north.”

(3) Say which services/activities you would lose if Tate South Lambeth’s library service is reduced to a book-borrowing facility, with no librarian in place.

Why do we say this?

Lambeth Council has published a consultation paper which – supposedly – asks us to choose which of the two large local libraries in this area – Tate South Lambeth and Durning – will be the new, single town centre library for the north of the borough.

It does nothing of the sort

The two questions it puts are:

  1. To what extent do you support or oppose the proposal that Durning Library will become the temporary town centre library?
  2. To what extent do you support or oppose the proposal that Tate South Library will offer reduced library provision and wider range of wellbeing activities with a healthy living centre?

It does not ask the simple and fundamental question – which of the two libraries do you think should be the town centre library?

 Why not?

The true aim of the ‘consultation’ is clearly to obtain the go-ahead to replace the library at Tate South Lambeth with a gym,and very restricted space for a ‘neighbourhood library’ in the form of a small range of books and a few computers, with no library staff at all on site.

Lambeth Council wants the Durning Library to be the ‘winner’ of a battle we do not want to fight. Neither library should be turned into a gym – and certainly not Tate South Lambeth, which currently gets almost three times the number of visits.

By the way…

The timing of the consultation (it ends on December 21) is evidently designed to enable Lambeth Council to close down this library at the end of this year, giving three clear months to install the Greenwich Leisure Services gym by April 2016.

Lambeth’s broken promises

The Culture 2020 report, agreed by the Council cabinet on October 12th and by the Council on November 18th, promised a “4 week consultation period … to help determine if Durning Library rather than Tate South Lambeth Library will provide a temporary fifth town centre library in the north of the borough until 2022”.

And Jane Edbrooke, the Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods (and our own councillor), who has been fronting the Council’s campaign for its Culture 2020 proposals, has in public stated that the consultation would offer this choice.

So what should we do now?

Please fill in the consultation form in the only way that enables Tate South Lambeth users to say what they really want (as we suggest above).

And please continue to send your views to Jane Edbrooke and your other local councillors

Oval ward: Jane Edbrooke, Claire Holland, Jack Hopkins. Stockwell ward: Alex Bigham, Guilherme Rosa, Imogen Walker. Write to them at: Olive Morris House, 18 Brixton Hill, London SW2 1RD

Or email them at:,,,,,

Copy in the Chief Executive, Sean Harriss, and the leader of the council, Lib Peck:,

Nov 252015


Saturday November 28th 10am-3pm

One of Friends’ most popular events.

Come and meet local craft people.

Hear them talk about and show their work – jewellery, bags, cards, knitting, pottery and more.

The library’s two knitting groups will be there, selling reasonably priced gifts to help raise funds for their activities.

The Friends’ gardener will bring along some quirky gifts.


Nov 112015

There’s a glimmer of hope for Tate South Lambeth Library, fated to become a fee-charging gym instead of a well-used free community resource for everyone. It’s a thin hope – but a real one – for all of Lambeth’s doomed libraries. Lambeth’s awful library plans were officially ‘called in’ at a council scrutiny cttee on […]

Nov 092015
Death, dying and bereavement - a conversation

Monday November 23rd 7pm (doors open at 6.30) A get–together to discuss what people least wish to discuss. Fraser Dyer, priest in charge at St Anne’s and All Saints, South Lambeth Road, invites you to share your thoughts and experience. Or just listen in as this last taboo is tackled. This talk is jointly organised by […]

Oct 222015

If you support us please sign our ePetition to Lambeth Council here: “We the undersigned petition the council to continue to provide a full library service at Tate South Lambeth Library (TSLL), and to drop the plan to turn TSLL into a gym with minimal, unstaffed book loan facilities” You can sign this even […]

Oct 062015

On October 12th Lambeth Council is voting on a proposal that would convert three public libraries into gyms. Tate South Lambeth Library is on that transfer list. The document that Lambeth Council is considering is a revised version of Cultural Services by 2020 – revised by Lambeth officers, supposedly in the light of a two-month […]

Oct 062015
Vauxhall City Farm - the past and future of farming in Vauxhall

Wednesday October 28th 7pm (doors open at 6.30pm) Faith Boardman, chairman of the Vauxhall City Farm and former Chief Executive of Lambeth Council, traces the historic background and present state of the only “City Farm” within London’s central zone. Learn about food production, both animal and vegetable, in the area of Vauxhall (and northern Lambeth) […]

Sep 182015
Friends Bake Off on Fun Palace day

Enter our bake-off competition to win a slap-up tea for two at the Tea House Theatre, Vauxhall Lane, or – if you’re under 17 years of age- a big box of chocolates. Just bring your best signature home bake to the library, between 9am and 12.30pm on Saturday October 3rd – the Fun Palace day […]

Sep 182015
Mapping change in Vauxhall - a local perspective

Wednesday  September 30th, 7pm (doors open 6.30pm) Robin Whitmore, artist and map-maker, invites you to an informal workshop, for you to add your stories and memories to the large-scale, hand-drawn map, displayed in the library, illustrating the social history of the immediate area, and to hear how this map was created with local children and […]

Sep 052015
An evening of Portuguese wine and music

Wednesday September 23rd  7pm (doors open at 6.30) As part of the Lambeth Heritage Festival, a celebration of the Portuguese community in Lambeth. Learn about – and sample -Portuguese wines from different regions, accompanied by Portuguese music. Admission free, but donations invited. Numbers are limited, so make reservations at or phone Tate South Lambeth Library […]

Mar 312015
Open Garden at Tradescant's Retreat

Starting in April and continuing through into August, the Friends gardening group is to run monthly Open Garden sessions in the Tradescant’s Retreat courtyard garden. Every second Saturday of the month (so April 11th is the first date), from 1.30pm, the garden will be open to the general public, with direct entrance through the garden […]

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