Sandown, IOW library - a little history

This stunning building is the Sandown Free Library. Opened in Sandown High Street, IOW in 1905, this public library was often frequented by Karl Marx.

Money for the library was donated by Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish businessman who had migrated to the US as a child with his parents. Having worked his way up from a factory floor worker to owner of the largest and most profitable industrial enterprise in the world (Carnegie Steel Company), he later devoted his life to philanthropy with a particular interest in local libraries, world peace, education and scientific research. In 1903, the Sandown Urban Council approached Mr Carnegie for a loan to build a library. A loan of £2000 was offered, and after much discussion over location and necessity, a public poll was organised which concluded an overwhelming majority of approval by the people of Sandown, although not as much support from the people of Lake). The library was built on land donated by Mr Alexander Keller (builder of the Savoy Hotel) and was opened by Lord Alverstone (Lord Chief Justice of England) in 1905. By 1906 there were 2,745 books available with an additional reference library, a ladies room had been opened, and fossils from around the Island (now housed at Dinosaur Isle) formed a geology collection.

Info here was taken from the excellent article on the library history at

Please read more about the history of Sandown shops with more shop illustrations on our page Sandown History.

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