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ALEXANDRIA LIBRARY, the Ewing Gilmour Institute building, Gilmour Street, Alexandria. 

ACCESS : Check opening hours. https://www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/libraries/library-branches/alexandria-library/

Listed B. 


Also see TURKY RED AND THE TEXTILE INDUSTRY : AN OVERVIEW : index.asp?pageid=715772 This includes the museum upstairs.

This is the local library centred in Alexandria, but serving a wide area. It has an interesting previous life. The institute was built to foster the "mental recreation and moral improvement" of the youth of the Vale of Leven. In this case we are refering to boys and young men. The intended use of the Institute was to provide a place for mental recreation and moral improvement, and as a counter-attraction to the gin palaces of the Vale of Leven! (Young women though were not forgotten. Also see the MASONIC LODGE further down Gimour Street towards Smollett Street).  

The WDC website tells us : The Gilmour Institute for Men was officially opened and presented to the community on Saturday 2nd April 1884. It had taken 2 years to complete the building at a cost of £12,000 and was generously gifted to the people of the Vale of Leven by Mr William Ewing Gilmour, a partner of the Messrs John Orr Ewing & Co, Turkey Red dyers, in memory of his late uncle John Orr Ewing.

Designed by Glasgow architect Robert Thomson, the building is of Grecian and Egyptian styles. [WDC].


Portraits of Mrs and Mr William Ewing Gilmour, benefactors of this building as an institute for young men and also the nearby Ewing Gilmour Institute for Working Girls, long since become the Masonic Lodge.
Details taken from large portraits on display in the building. Joseph Henderson (1832–1908).  West Dunbartonshire Council Arts & Heritage ©  

The building had spells as an administrative centre until becoming fully utilised as a library. 

Work was done to the building in 2022 including a general upgrade to the interior. Although there is less display area, the general abience is now very bright and cheerful.

The main entrance.

Some amusing signage.

This and the following picture are of the chldren's section.

Of the rooms upstairs, one is a small museum displaying material from the long gone textile industries and the benefactors responsible for this building, now a library, the Ewing Gilmours.

The wall linings, doorways and other building features are also worth noting.

On a rainy day the large ornate roof vents take on an almost mystical look.

A doorway on the top floor.

And a window with ornate timber panelling. 

BRITISH LISTED BUILDINGS website : https://britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/200331584-public-library-gilmour-street-alexandria-bonhill

WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE COUNCIL website : https://www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/leisure-parks-events/museums-and-galleries/collections/buildings/public-halls/halls-alexandria/gilmour-institute/


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