In 2011, the copper roof of West Norwood Public Library was stolen on the same date that the local cemetery was vandalised by metal robbers that targetted memorials and the cemetery chapel. The robbery was followed by torrential rain that caused all kinds of damage including structural damage affecting electrical wiring and destroying valuable contents.
It took some time for a review of the damage to be carried out and when the review was carried out it the presence of asbestos led to further delays. During such delays, the building was occupied by squatters that brought with them animals into the building and the place is now like a bombed site.
The squatters were removed but the damage and the mess created by animal excrement remains together with damaged books lying on the floor everywhere.
A meeting was held by the end of 2012 at Elmcourt Road High School with the presence of local MP Tessa Jowell, several Councillors and various other representatives including members of Friends of West Norwood Library and a lady that attended the meeting on behalf of a company that offered to rebuild West Norwood Library transforming it into a Movie Theatre Complex.
West Norwood Library is still closed and boarded, dog crap still infests the building, damaged library materials are spread on the floors and all we have is the ghostly image of what used to be a vibrant and multifunctional building and centre of the local community.
I have been a West Norwood resident since 1994. My wife, my three children and I had been members of West Norwood Public Library. It breaks our hearts to see that for so long the Labour administration of Lambeth Council has done absolutely nothing apart from a few photo opportunities for propaganda purposes.