London: JK Rowling has failed to save the historic Kensal Rise Library from being put on the property market, even though several leading authors had campaigned for it.
The Royal Society of Literature, of which the Labour-supporting Rowling is a leading member, said that it was “appalled” that Kensal Rise Library had been stripped of its books by Brent council in May, the Telegraph reported.
The elegant library, whose opening was attended by author Mark Twain in 1900, has now been quietly put on the market with Cluttons.
The estate agent has not disclosed how much it is seeking for the 5,850 sq ft building, which is in an increasingly fashionable corner of north-west London, but it would be worth millions.
Labour-controlled Brent had closed the library last year as part of their cost-cutting exercise.
Under the terms of its lease, the building’s ownership has now reverted to All Souls College, Oxford, which is now selling it.
“It was dedicated as a library and reading area by Andrew Carnegie, so that is what it should be,” Tim Lott, one of the authors who has been campaigning to save it, said.
“All Souls were fine with the land being used for free until Brent council insisted on giving it back to them.
“Now they, understandably, have to look at their options. I feel betrayed by the council and the Government,” he said.
Denis MacShane, the Labour MP, said: “The decision is a symbol of cultural philistinism. It is sad to see this wonderful coalition of writers and artists has been unsuccessful in their campaign.”