Bancroft Road Public Library

I have been prompted by comments on my blog to find out more about what is being done to Bancroft Road Public Library.   The answer is that there is no information online other than the fact that a firm of architects called Kennedy O’Callaghan have been commissioned to undertake its repair which it certainly needs.   I assume it has got funding to renovate it following the outcry over its proposed sale to Queen Mary in 2008.   The building is significant, designed as the local Vestry Hall by an architect called James Knight in 1862, about whom I can find out no other information, and only converted into a library in 1901.   I’m reposting the photograph of its very fine Corinthian columns, which look as if it could be in the Roman Forum:-


6 thoughts on “Bancroft Road Public Library

  1. Martin Hopkinson says:

    An image of the painting attributed to Agostino Beltrano ‘The Sacrifice of Isaac’ can be seen on . It measures 275 x 183 cm and was presented to the library in 1902. It was inspected by curators at the National Gallery before it was removed. It is of a quality worthy of display in a museum . As Tower Hamlets perhaps it could be suggested by a group of residents of Tower Hamlets that it should be lent to a suitable London museum for display. One thinks of the Courtauld Institute, Kenwood or Dulwich as possibilities.

  2. Martin Hopkinson says:

    a monograph by Achille della Ragione, Agostino Beltrano . Uno stanzionesco, was published in Naples by Napoli Arte in 2010

  3. Martin Hopkinson says:

    on 11 November 2012 the painting was apparently with Christies see SaveTheLondonFruitandWoolExchange on

    Has it been sold without reference to the electors of Tower Hamlets?

  4. Martin Hopkinson says:

    another painting of this subject with a different subject was sold by Christie’s New York 15 October 1998 lot 94
    No copy of the Naples monograph is listed on COPAC

  5. Martin Hopkinson says:

    The latest edition of Pevsner [2007] says that Knight is James M Knight and that he also designed what is now Leyton Library, High Road and Rusholt Road 1882-3 as offices of the local Leyton Board. However, the cornerstone calls him John M Knight and gives the date as 1881. In 1894 John M Knight of Vestry Hall, Mile End designed a house in Clapton for George Lewis [High Road/284 Battle Road] see East Sussex Record Office. Also for the same client [of Hollington] Stables and Coach House, Hollington [The Chestnuts, Glen Road] in 1894. Hollington is north west of Hastings.
    There is a Clapton in Sussex as well as in London . He used a builder Isaac Elliott from Hollington
    The architect Theodore Moore [1863-1935] ARIBA [1887] of Whipps Cross, Walthamstow, was articled to him

    a John McKenzie Knight of Vestry Hall, Bancroft Road, Mile End was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of London in 1877. He was also a civil engineer [and member of the Institute of Civil Engineers] see The British Architect 69, p.433 and lived then at Bushwood, Wanstead. see also The Building News and Engineering Journal, 1908, p. 848

    He appears in the 1888 edition of the Naturalists’ Journal

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