Redruth Former Library

The procurement search – led by local arts group Redruth Former Library CIC – will select a team to transform the Grade II-listed landmark, originally known as the Passmore Edwards Free Library into a new arts hub featuring studios and co-working spaces.

The project, planned to complete in 2024, aims to create a new venue for community events and other activities such as dance classes, fitness groups and music performances inside the Baronial-style complex which was designed by James Hicks and first opened in 1894.

According to the brief: ‘Opened in 1895, the building has always represented Passmore Edwards’ commitment to creating spaces for social mobility; and we take its name from a quote from Edwards: “If I can fund the Ladder; the people will climb”.

‘We carry that mission forward into the 21st Century. In the year of the 200th anniversary of Passmore’s birth, we want to build on his legacy to provide spaces which allow development and growth for the people of Redruth.’

Redruth is a small settlement of around 14,000 inhabitants located around 14km west of Truro in Cornwall on the route of the old London to Land’s End trunk road. Redruth’s old library was purchased from Cornwall Council by Redruth Former Library CIC two years ago after library facilities were relocated to another site.

The organisation plans to transform the local landmark at 2-4 Clinton Road – which features a prominent octagonal tower and a large former reading room – into a new hub for community, education and culture called ‘The Ladder’. Divided into two connected buildings, the complex is currently sound but in need of internal and external refurbishment.

The team selected for the estimated £40,000 contract will work with the community arts group on the next phases of its application for Shared Prosperity and National Lottery Heritage Fund support and will also complete a feasibility study.

Key aims of the project include refurbishing the slate roof, creating a link within the complex and refurbishing the library. Facilities already created within the complex since its transfer of ownership two years ago include a courtyard garden, café, rehearsal and performance spaces.