Triple celebration for supporters of Bungay Library

Sylvia Knights, trustee of the Friends group and vice chairman of Suffolk Libraries, with Sir Laurie

Sylvia Knights, trustee of the Friends group and vice chairman of Suffolk Libraries, with Sir Laurie Magnus at the anniversary celebration. Picture: Amanda King. - Credit: Archant

Supporters of Bungay Library have gathered to celebrate 25 years of the community facility operating from its current home.

Bungay Library. Picture: Archant.

Bungay Library. Picture: Archant. - Credit: Archant � 2011

The milestone was marked on Friday, August 4, with the library's new patron Sir Laurie Magnus among the guests.

The date also marks five years since the library's community group – the Friends of Bungay Community Library - was set up, along with the fifth anniversary of the library service being transferred to Suffolk Libraries.

The library started out small in 1770 when the Bungay Book Society was established. The group met at the Kings Head in the town until at least 1874.

Clays printing works set up The Chaucer Institute in 1908 where it was hoped employees could better themselves through access to books, but it was in 1928 when the first real public library opened in Bungay, in Wingfield Street Council School, now Bungay Primary.

By 1952 the library had moved temporarily to St John's Hall on Honeypot Meadow, before moving again in 1953 into former stables in Brandy Lane, Broad Street, now owned by Sprake and Kingsley.

Due to greatly increased library usage, a purpose built building was proposed in the 1980s and in December 1992 the current building in Wharton Street was opened. It cost £250,000, which included a donation of £150,000 from Kathleen Bowerbank, who opened the building with Lord Jim Prior.

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Lord Prior became one of the founding patrons of the Friends of Bungay Library, when they were set up in 2012, a role he continued until his death in 2016.

Sylvia Knights, trustee of the Friends group and vice chairman of Suffolk Libraries, said: 'We have much to celebrate, not only twenty five years of a vibrant, active and much loved library on this site, but after five years of nationally acclaimed stewardship from Suffolk Libraries and the huge support and contribution from the Friends group and all our library users, we have a brilliant community hub.'

Speaking at the event, Sir Magnus acknowledged the support of the other library patrons Luke Wright and Louis de Bernieres, library trustees past and present, all the Friends and volunteers and library staff, for everything they have contributed to make the library a community asset.

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