Records of Wantz Library

Scope and Content

This collection comprises the record of Wantz Library, including building plans and inventories (1956-1993), a staff manuel (circa. 1976), adult issue books (1966-1995), junior issue books (1996-2001), a junior stock figures book (1976-1995), a junior homework book (1992-1998) and photographs of events (1987-1995).

Administrative / Biographical History

Wantz Library was originally built to provide communal kitchen for locals bombed out of their houses as part of the British Restaurant Scheme during the Second World War. It was transformed into a library at the behest of the formidable, John O’Leary, Borough Librarian in 1945. The original library was later demolished and replaced with a new building, which opened in 1976. A leaflet on the opening ceremony outlines how it was hoped the library would become a ‘centre for recreation and education to help meet the leisure needs of every age group’. Unfortunately the library was eventually closed due to a lack of funding from the coalition government in March 2012.

Access Information

This material is open to research and can be viewed at the Barking and Dagenham Archive and Local Studies Centre. To make an appointment to visit the reading room, please telephone 020 8227 2033 or email at

Acquisition Information

Transferred to the Barking and Dagenham Archive and Local Studies Centre in March 2012.


Catalogued by Clare Sexton, Assistant Archivist.

Other Finding Aids

For further information about the contents of this collection, please contact the Barking and Dagenham Archive and Local Studies Centre by telephone 020 8227 2033 or email at

Conditions Governing Use

For further information about our reprographics and publication charges, please visit our website

Appraisal Information

A substantial amount of material, which was deemed to be of no historical importance has been removed, including staff time books, sale books, daily cash summery books and postage books.

Geographical Names