Gilia, our Archives volunteer, writes:
Henry Hare was the architect of Hammersmith Library. He won the commission in a competition, and the work was paid for by the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. It was opened in 1905.
Henry Hare was a Yorkshireman, whose career started in Harrogate. He studied in Paris, and then settled into practice in London in 1891. During the next twenty years there were many public buildings being constructed, and he was good at adapting different styles to suit the client.
There were educational buildings in ‘Collegiate Tudor’, such as Westminster College Cambridge, and University College, Bangor; there were ‘Early Renaissance’ ones such as Oxford Town Hall, and Stafford County offices; there was Neo Baroque, for Ingram House, the offices of the U.K. Provident Institution in the Strand, now demolished.
For us and for other libraries in Wolverhampton, Harrogate, Southend, Islington, Shoreditch and Fulham, he chose a less flamboyant Baroque style, with sculptures on the outside and stained glass in the major windows. The cost of the windows was met by local councillors.
It is said that he signed his buildings with a carving of a hare, but we have not found ours yet, if it exists at all.
He was elected to be the President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and played a great part in promoting good architecture just after World War One.