A brand new extension to one of Kingston's most popular public libraries was officially unveiled today, providing a bright new space for community activities including school visits, reading groups and knit and natter sessions where local people can mix and meet.
The centrepiece of the Tudor Drive Library extension is a solid mahogany Harrier jet model, reflecting the local area's history as a centre for military aircraft manufacturing.
The new community space will house a record of the nearby Hawker aircraft factory site on Richmond Road and the rich history of Latchmere House, which has served as a private house, a WW1 hospital, a WW2 detention centre and a prison.
The library extension is a partnership project between Kingston Council, Berkeley Homes and the Kingston Aviation Centenary Project, funded by the nearby Richmond Chase development.
The Richmond Chase development of 77 homes includes restoration of the grand Latchmere House, the provision of thirteen affordable homes and a bright new village green complete with a new children's play area.
Tony Pidgley CBE, Chairman of the Berkeley Group said:
"Our libraries are places of contact, community and pride. This isn't just a place to learn. It's a place for everyone. Yoga groups, knitting groups, toddler groups and local meetings. This library extension is a product of true partnership and I want to thank everyone involved for working with us to make it happen."
Cllr David Cunningham, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Regeneration at Kingston Council, said:
"I'm delighted with the extension of Tudor Drive Library, which is a hugely-valued community hub. With links to the history of Latchmere House and Kingston's aviation heritage, the extension both celebrates our Royal Borough's impressive history and provides a brand new space which will be used by residents for years to come."
David Hassard, Joint Project Leader, Kingston Aviation Centenary Project, said:
"Kingston had a hugely successful aircraft industry which was the largest employer in the town for much of the last century. We are delighted that there is now this permanent reminder of the achievements of all the people in the area who lived and worked there."