Restore Kensal Rise Library
  • Petitioning All Souls College, Oxford University

This petition will be delivered to:

All Souls College, Oxford University

Restore Kensal Rise Library

    1. Jodi  Gramigni
    2. Petition by

      Jodi Gramigni

      London, United Kingdom

Kensal Rise is a melting-pot of culture, faith, and class, and the Library has been at the heart of this community ever since Mark Twain opened its doors 111 years ago. The Library was created for the betterment of the working class residents, and while the land was gifted by All Souls College, Oxford, the local community and local taxes financed the building itself.

Kensal Rise Library has survived two World Wars and the Great Depression; but sadly it was not able to fend off Brent Council’s closure threats, and the Library was brutally shut in October last year when Brent shamefully disposed of six of its 12 libraries (

The local community is determined to save Kensal Rise Library and has established a campaign ( as well as a charity, the Friends of Kensal Rise Library (, to oversee the running of the Library. The Friends are ready and able to take over the Library at a moments notice, but there is one significant hurdle before this can be achieved - All Souls needs to RESTORE THE BUILDING TO THE COMMUNITY.

All Souls has previously stated that they are “happy for the Friends to run the Library”, but they are preparing KENSAL RISE LIBRARY for an OPEN BIDDING PROCESS. All Souls current plans are in contrast to their previous commitments to the community and their long history in Kensal Rise. Surely this cannot be what the Fellows intend?

We therefore ask All Souls to revert their current course and transfer the freehold of the building to the Friends of Kensal Rise Library so that it can be restored to the community.


Boyd Tonkin sums up All Souls situation perfectly ‘A TRUE EXAMINATION FOR ALL SOULS’

...the rich endowments of All Souls include the freehold of Kensal Rise Library, the branch shamefully shut, stripped and plundered at dead of night (down to the plaque that marked its opening by Mark Twain in 1900) by the most grossly philistine Labour council in Britain: Brent.

Although the municipal hooligans of Brent handed the keys back to All Souls, the Friends of Kensal Rise Library have now requested that the college transfer the freehold to them, under the Charities Act 2011, to enable the building's renewed use as a library.

All Souls should comply, prove its lavish assets serve a greater purpose than the upkeep of a favoured few, and do its bit towards mitigating the chaos and error that Brent has sown. - Boyd Tonkin, The Independent on 16th June 2011

Recent signatures


    1. Private party the Paradise tomorrow, 18th April

      Jodi  Gramigni
      Petition Organizer

      Shhh... Private party the Paradise tomorrow for the new The Indie Book Show episode featuring Save Kensal Rise Library. Fab tunes with DJ Don Letts, the KR library photo booth & more. Can't wait!

      Date: 18/04/13
      Time: 8-11:30pm
      Location: 19 Kilburn Lane W10 4AE

    2. Reached 4,000 signatures
    3. URGENT fundraising APPEAL to raise £70,000 in pledges by SEPTEMBER 7th

      Jodi  Gramigni
      Petition Organizer

      The Friends of Kensal Rise have launched an URGENT fundraising APPEAL to raise £70,000 in pledges by SEPTEMBER 7th, and I am thrilled to announce that in less than 24 hours, the Friends have received over £12,270 in pledges.

      It's amazing how much our library, and libraries all over, mean to so many people. We will make this happen!!!

      Please help us with whatever you can spare. If you have £5, £100 or £10,000 it is all gratefully received, each pledge brings us that bit closer to our goal.

      This fundraising is a vital component of the Friends of Kensal Rise Library's bid to All Souls so that we can restore Kensal Rise Library. Please note that funds will only be collected if our bid to All Souls is successful. If we are unsuccessful, you will not be asked to complete your donation.

      Many, many thanks for your continued support.

    4. Must See!

      Jodi  Gramigni
      Petition Organizer

      A perfectly narrated short film by De Novo Arts about the Brent Council library closures that has created the devastating situation Kensal Rise Library faces today. A tale so simple and so absurd it defies all logic... "Save Kensal Rise Library", a must see.

    5. Reached 3,000 signatures
    6. A Letter from The Society of Authors

      Jodi  Gramigni
      Petition Organizer

      Lindsey Davis, Chair of the Society of Authors, is officially MY HERO. Please take a moment to read her brilliant letter to Sir John Vickers, Warden of All Souls College, asking him to return Kensal Rise Library to the community.

      "...I was ashamed to see an institution of my university, and a registered charity, involved in the actions that were reported so luridly..."

    7. Reached 2,000 signatures
    8. Mark Twain museum joins calls to save Kensal Rise library

      Jodi  Gramigni
      Petition Organizer

      The Guardian reports:

      Jacques Lamarre, the Mark Twain House & Museum's director of communications, has written to Brent council, and to ministers Ed Vaizey and Jeremy Hunt, begging them to reconsider the closure of the library in Kensal Rise Library:

      In an unexpected gesture of generosity, Jacques has also promised, on behalf of the Mark Twain House and Museum, to personally travel to Kensal Rise with another five books to donate at the re-dedication of this "irreplaceable institution", if it is reopened.

      I am extremely grateful to Jacques and the Mark Twain House & Museum for adding their voice to the chorus asking for Kensal Rise Library to be reopened, and I hope that his request reaches the Fellows at All Souls College who are the only ones with the power to grant this request.

    9. Reached 1,000 signatures
    10. Campaign to save All Souls' owned library continues

      Jodi  Gramigni
      Petition Organizer

      Oxford student paper,, reports on the petition to All Souls. Thank you for taking the campaign to All Souls doorstep!

    11. Does size matter?

      Jodi  Gramigni
      Petition Organizer

      Kensal Rise Library so tiny vs All Souls imposing Codrington. Help save our community library from being lost forever. Please post the petition to your FB page and tweet to your followers. Thank you!

    12. Kensal Rise: The Movie

      Jodi  Gramigni
      Petition Organizer

      Hilarious take on the awful truth of Kensal Rise Library. Would be amazing to film as a short if anyone wants to try?

    13. Labour MP joins the fight to save Kensal Rise Library

      Jodi  Gramigni
      Petition Organizer

      An excellent report in the Brent & Kilburn Times regarding MP Denis MacShane's letter to Sir John Vickers, the warden of All Souls College.

      The letter reads: "I am sure those who handle All Souls property transactions will claim the college should only care for today’s bottom line and ignore the plea both of history and those in that part of north London who care for reading. But the college is a community of scholars, of readers, of page turners and this historic connection to a community of readers in a poor part of north London should not be terminated just because the finance people say so.”

      It is worth noting All Souls response Denis MacShane: "All Souls college informed him that they are in regular contact with the Friends of Kensal Rise about the future use of the site." Is that true? Perhaps, but All Souls are still PROGRESSING WITH THE DISPOSAL!

      The community deserves the opportunity to run their library. Will the All Souls Fellows allow it?

    14. Viewings for potential bidders start this week!

      Jodi  Gramigni
      Petition Organizer

      Thank you for your support. The campaign to Save Kensal Rise Library wouldn't have made it this far without you taking part and speaking up for libraries.

      As of this week the All Souls Fellows are continuing with their plans to dispose of Kensal Rise Library, and their property agent is starting viewings for potential bidders. It is extremely important that we let All Souls know we disagree with their plans and ask them to change course. We need them to return the building to the community before it is too late.

      Joining the campaign, MP Denis MacShane ‏took direct action and contacted Sir John Vickers, the Warden of All Souls College, to request the return of the library to the community Let's hope the Warden will seriously consider his request.

      Please continue to share this petition and follow our story. If you have any suggestions or advice get in touch with me on twitter. You could be the difference that changes everything.

    15. Reached 250 signatures


    Reasons for signing

      • 5 days ago

      books plays a very important role in our LIFE.. :)

      • 8 days ago

      Im espousing the campaign to restore Kendal Rise Library mainly because of the educational benefits libraries provide for their communities. Recently our philistine Rhondda-Cynon-Taff Council indefensibly closed my own towns library, even though it was a very popular and busy library. But what do we expect from a Tory led Government, that is hellbent on eradicating such educational institutions like libraries that came into being for the sole purpose of educating the working classes.

    • Katy Pompilis LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 1 month ago

      Yes, libraries are important places. Regards

    • michael pratt FIFE, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 1 month ago

      If local government at heart values the vote i would reconsider this THANK YOU

    • Joao Carlos da Silva Afonso Gomes THETFORD, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 3 months ago

      A library helps the population to be educated by knowledge, not media or politicians.


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