The reopening of a historic Wirral building which housed one of the UK’s first free libraries looks set to take a step closer.
65 The Village in Lower Bebington will undergo improvements as part of a £175,000 investment from the council.
The building is one of three historically significant properties neighbouring each other within the Lower Bebington Conservation Area with close connections to Victorian antiquary, collector and philanthropist, Joseph Mayer.
It’s understood the landmark could potentially be utilised as a community café and food outlet once the refurb is complete.
Situated adjacent to Mayer Hall and Pennant House, 65 The Village was originally a farmhouse bought by Joseph in 1869, which he then set about remodelled and extending – which included the addition of a clock tower – in order to house his free library, that was one of the first in the country when he established it in 1866.
In 1930, the then Bebington borough council took on the full responsibility for operating the library, as well as Mayer Hall and Mayer Park and when Bebington Civic Centre opened in the early 1970s, the library services were transferred to this new building.
After that time, 65 The Village was home to Wirral Voluntary Services, but in recent years has been unoccupied and is now in need of essential repairs.
The bid for Wirral Council funding from its capital budget to carry out these repairs was the first step in securing a future for the building.
The bid has been successful and the project is included in next year’s council budget, which is set to be debated in the coming month.
Once approved, work can get underway and discussions can continue with interested parties on how it will be operated and managed going forward.