Picton Reading Room & Hornby Library, Liverpool

Picton Reading Room & Hornby Library, Liverpool (must see)

The Picton Reading Room and Hornby Library stand side by side on William Brown Street, alongside other grand Liverpudlian landmarks like the County Sessions House, and the Walker Art Gallery. The two buildings were constructed thirty years apart, in 1879 and 1906 respectively, and together form part of the Liverpool Central Library.

The Picton Reading Room is the more distinctive of the two buildings, with its semicircular frontage and Corinthian columns. It is named after local architect and antiquary Sir James Picton, though he did not actually design the building. The Reading Room is the work of Cornelius Sherlock – but Picton laid the first foundation stone. It was the first library in the UK to have fully electrified lighting – a safer option than gas light given the vast array of books it held.

The Hornby Reading Room, as it was originally known, was named after Hugh Hornby, and designed by Thomas Shelmerdine. It is located behind the Picton building and is known for the well-preserved interior demonstrating hallmarks of Edwardian Imperial style.

Why You Should Visit:
The architecture and internal design is something to behold, and there is more on offer than in most other British libraries.
Aside from the extensive book collections, some worth many thousands of £s, there are many collections of photos and maps.
A small coffee shop is also present if you just want to sit and take in the atmosphere and watch people milling around.

Tip:
Grab some coffee from the ground floor and take the lift to the top floor terrace – fabulous views of Liverpool!

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 9am-8pm; Sat: 9am-5pm; Sun: 10am-5pm

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Liverpool, England within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Picton Reading Room & Hornby Library on Map

Sight Name: Picton Reading Room & Hornby Library
Sight Location: Liverpool, England
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) containing this sight: Acclaimed Architecture of Liverpool, Walking Tour   City Orientation Walk  

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