80th anniversary of our 1937 library

The original building of the Singleton Park Library is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. Now commonly known as the 1937 building and home to the Law Library, it was officially opened in October 1937 by the then Duke of Kent.

1937 Library Banner

The original building of the Singleton Park Library is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. Now commonly known as the 1937 building and home to the Law Library, it was officially opened on 19 October 1937 by the then Duke of Kent. 

Throughout the early 1930s the problem of library accommodation became steadily more acute. By 1933 student numbers had increased to over 700 and the library stock consisted of 29,000 volumes. Conditions were becoming intolerable, cramped and overcrowded, even with additional accommodation in Singleton Abbey.

The building of a new permanent library became the College’s priority. An appeal for funds was launched to raise money for a new library building and in 1934 the University launched a limited competition to appoint an architect to design the new library. The competition was assessed by W.G.Newton, Professor of Architecture at the Royal College of Art, and the plan submitted by Verner Owen Rees (F.R.I.B.A) was awarded the first prize and accepted, with some modifications, as the design for the new library building. 

1937 Library Interior 2

To celebrate the 80th Anniversary of the opening of the 1937 library, there is a small exhibit in the main hall of Singleton Park Library. This opened on the 11th December and run until the New Year. It will showcase a selection of material discovered in the Richard Burton Archives as part of the University centenary cataloguing project, including copies of photographs, press cuttings and reports.

Emily Hewitt and Stacy O’Sullivan
Assistant Archivists, Richard Burton Archives, Swansea University

Photograph of the interior of the 1937 library, c.1940