Mark Twain Trust ‘galled’ by closure of Kensal Rise Library

American author opened the beloved branch 111 years ago

The Mark Twain House and Musuem has spoken out after the closure of Kensal Rise Library which was opened by the American author.

The Huckleberry Finn-writer, who was an advocate of public libraries, opened the branch’s doors for the first time on October 13, 1900.

In a twist of fate, the library was closed for good 111 years later to the day after a High Court ruled that Brent Council could axe half of the borough’s libraries.

Steve Courtney, spokesman for the Mark Twain House and Museum, said the closures were short-sighted adding that the axing of the Kensal Rise branch was galling.


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He told the Times: “The arguments against keeping small, local libraries in existence in London’s glorious and diverse high streets are, it seems to me, short-sighted.

“The closing of the Kensal Rise Library, opened by Mark Twain, is particularly galling given Mark Twain’s deep love for books and libraries.

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“He founded one in the small Connecticut town where he spent his last years, and wrote to a Massachusetts library in 1894: ‘A public library is the most enduring of memorials, the trustiest monument for the preservation of an event or a name or an affection; for it, and it only, is respected by wars and revolutions, and survives them.’

“His home in Hartford, which we preserve along with his literary legacy, in fact served as the local library for many years in the 20th century and its institutional descendant survives today nearby.

“The campaigners should be commended for their efforts.”

Yesterday, campaigners lodged an appeal against the decision which has resulted in the Court of Appeal blocking the council from emptying the contents of Kensal Rise, Barham Park, Tokyngton, Neasden, Cricklewood and Preston libraries.

They are also barred from boarding up Kensal rise and Preston libraries.

A full appeal hearing will be heard next month.

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