Portsmouth Central Library

  • June 2022

Portsmouth is a maritime city with the Royal Navy´s base, an important port and a Historic Dockyard. The population of the city is more than 200 000 inhabitants. The Central Library, also called the Norrish Central Library, is designed by the city architect Ken Norrish.  The library opened in 1976. The building in the incised concrete represents brutalist 20th century architecture. The site next to the Civic Offices and the neo-classical Guildhall and close to the commercial centre is very central. Except for the library the building includes a café, a theatre, exhibition areas, rooms for hiring, an IT learning zone and the Portsmouth History Centre. The library offers premises for different social and well-being services which might have the result that the image of the library is combined with social problems. There is a recently opened access to the digital library but there are no printed newspapers and magazines. The Local History Centre is impressive and includes for example special collections about/by the authors Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Dickens was born in Portsmouth and Conan Doyle created his fictitious detective Sherlock Holmes here. TWO stars: Acceptable.