Labour MP joins the fight to save Kensal Rise Library

Denis Macshane, MP for Rotherham, writes to All Souls College who own the building

A campaigning politician has leant his support to the fight to save Kensal Rise Library by writing to the owners of the building.

Denis Macshane MP, has contacted Sir John Vickers, the warden of All Souls College, in an effort to convince them to hand the building in Bathurst Gardens over to campaigners.

Mr Macshane, whose strongly worded letters saved Gabby’s Deli, owned by Willesden-based Gaby Elyahou, from closure last year has penned an equally emphatic request to the Oxford College.

The letter reads: “I am sure those who handle All Souls property transactions will claim the college should only care for today’s bottom line and ignore the plea both of history and those in that part of north London who care for reading.

“But the college is a community of scholars, of readers, of page turners and this historic connection to a community of readers in a poor part of north London should not be terminated just because the finance people say so.”

Speaking to the Times, the Labour MP for Rotherham explained why he chose to lend his support.

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He said: “Libraries are the beating heart of the British community and the public is a great British institution and a unique concept.

“Particularly in the case of Kensal Rise, which I think has become the most famous library in the country thanks to the wonderful campaign.”

Mr Macshane added: “When I heard about the campaign, from my friend Maggie Gee, I was moved to help.

“It is obviously tough when cuts are forced from central government but I think this particular case is unique, given the history with the college and writers who have backed its cause.”

All Souls college, in a response to Mr Macshane informed him that they are in regular contact with the Friends of Kensal Rise about the future use of the site.

The move to shut Kensal Rise Library, in Bathurst Gardens, alongside five others in Cricklewood, Neasden, Preston, Tokyngton and Barham will save the council �1m.