The first library facility serving the Moulsecombe estate opened in 1929 in Moulsecoomb Place.
On the 30th March 1929, the Brighton and Hove Herald reported that Library facilities were now being arranged for Moulsecombe.
Brighton Borough Engineer's plan of part of Ground Floor and First Floor of Moulsecombe Place.
The estimated cost of conversion of £275 was written in pencil on the plan. It shows the rooms as it may have been with the bathrooms still existing.
The Brighton and Hove Herald on the 28th December 1929 reported on the opening of Moulsecombe Library in Moulsecombe Place as follows.
Foreign Secretary at Opening
While the rain churned the grounds outside into a morass, Moulsecombe Place inside radiated an atmosphere of cheerful warmth and light. The staff had been hard at work getting things shipshape, and an upper room was already filled with shelves of books.
From one of the shelves was selected the book with which Mrs Thompson, wife of Alderman J. Lord Thompson, J.P., Chairman of the Pavilion and Library Committer, inaugurated the career of the library. The chosen book was Mr S. P. B. Mais’ “Sussex,” which was voted to be an entirely appropriate choice.
Downstairs in the spacious Music Room, which has been turned into a hall suitable for meetings, Alderman Lord Thompson, who presided over the gathering, asked the Mayor to declare the library open.
In his speech, the Chairman spoke of the benefits to Moulsecombe which will be provided by its own library. One of the biggest is the saving of time and money spent in going to the central library in Church Street. It will also, no doubt, be of use to residents of the Lewes Road district. It will be open every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Alderman Lord Thompson said that the books will be changed at frequent intervals. He gave an assurance that all suggestions for the improvement of the library will be carefully considered.
With a characteristically mercurial change of thought, the Mayor observed solemnly, “I would have the Moulsecombe residents bear in mind that if the rents are high, the books are free!”
Having allowed himself this witticism, Councillor Aldrich went on to congratulate Mr Henry D. Roberts, M.B.E., Director of the Pavilion Estate, etc., and the staff of the library department, on the rapid work that had been carried out at the new branch in order to make it ready. He hoped that the library would be sufficiently successful to allow an extension of its activities.
Passing from another witty allusion to the native independence of Moulsecombe —”I am sure the best is only good enough for Moulsecombe, judging from the energetic representations they make to us”—the Mayor declared the library open, “as a Christmas present from the Corporation.”
Events had proved the supporters of the scheme to be right The Corporation has spent, he estimated, about three quarters of a million on building houses in South and North Moulsecombe. There are nine hundred houses there now, with at least nine hundred families in them, set in pleasant conditions. Brighton can be proud of what has been done. He recalled, too, that it was through the instrumentality of Councillor Carter and himself that “this fine old house,” in which the library is now housed, was acquired for the town. Since then it has been in use as a school.
As he pointed out, there is plenty of room for an extension, but Moulsecombe must not expect too much at ones.
Councillor J. Manton, who seconded the vote of thanks, described the Mayor and Mayoress as shining examples of the type of public men and women Brighton wants. He spoke, too, of the debt the town, and the people of Moulsecombe in particular, owe to Alderman Carden. Finally, he gave a hearty welcome to the Foreign Secretary.
After the Mayor had made whimsical acknowledgment of the vote, Alderman H. Cane proposed a hearty vote of thanks to the Chairman, to whose abilities and courage he paid tribute.
Incidentally, Mr. Cane claimed that the gathering was unique on account of the fact that all the speakers, with the exception of Councillor Manton, were lawyers!
“These branch libraries,” he added, “are making an important contribution to the education of Brighton’s citizens by making it easy for them to obtain books of the highest standard.”
The gathering then adjourned to the tea room, where refreshments were provided by the hospitality of Alderman and Mrs Lord Thompson.
New Library for Moulsecombe
In February 1963 builders F. T. Wilson & Sons Ltd won the tender to build a new branch library at Moulsecoomb at a price of £12,704 on the north east side of the driveway to Moulsecoomb Place and by the side of the Moulsecombe Hall and the Lewes Road.
One of the lodges belonging to Moulsecoomb Place was demolished to make way for the single-storey purpose-built library which replaced the temporary facilities from 13 March 1964.
OFFICIAL OPENING NEXT WEEK
Both buildings have been designed to give a pleasing and informal atmosphere. They have good natural and artificial light and fit well into their surroundings. At Moulsecombe the area around the library is being landscape by the Brighton Parks and Gardens Department.
An initial stock of 6,000 books is being provided at Westdene, and one of 12,000 books at Moulsecombe. These have been carefully chosen to give a good selection of reading matter to children and adults alike.
At Westdene, the opportunity offered by the extension of Westdene School was taken to build the library over two new classrooms, although it has its separate entrance.
Since 1954 the Royal Pavilion Libraries Committee has been pursuing a policy of providing branch libraries in areas of Brighton which have had part-time service or no service at all.
From the Brighton & Hove Herald on 7 March 1964
These plans and drawings date from January 1961.
Moulsecombe Library in March 1964.
At the opening of the Moulsecombe library. Councillor George Lucraft, chairman of the library committee, said: "Although today is Friday the 13th we hope it will not be an unlucky day as we are opening two libraries." "This area," he added, “has had a library for 35 year, but we have decided to provide a new one to meet the needs of this expanding community.”
The Mayor said there was every evidence that young people were interested in reading. He explained: "Issues from the library have increased by 30,000, a third of which have been to young people."
He said that the library had all the books that exist in the central library and the expertise of the library staff.
The procession of vehicles then left for Westdene where the Mayor, armed with the "key of the door," officially opened the other branch library.
From the Brighton & Hove Herald on 14 March 1964
The building was redeveloped in September 2009.
Moulsecoomb Library photographed in June 2020, when it was closed due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.