1.       Mark Twain Talk  –  Dr Cindy Lovell

 When a distinguished American expert on Mark Twain offered to come and present a talk, FKRL jumped at the chance. We were delighted when over 200 people came along on Sunday to hear Dr Cindy Lovell, director of the Mark Twain House and Museum in Connecticut, USA, give a fascinating lecture-with-slides about Twain’s life, his love of England and his connection to Kensal Rise. It was of course Twain who, on 27 September 1900, opened Kensal Rise Library and received (Dr Lovell told us, among many interesting details) a giant, engraved key as souvenir, now owned by a collector in Texas. Before Dr Lovell spoke, local author Tim Lott read from Twain’s works, complete sets of which, kindly donated by Penguin Books, were raffled in the interval.

On speaking at the event Dr Lovell said:
It was such a huge privilege for me. I felt so strongly about the work you have all done to save the library and knew that if Sam were here he’d want to come over and raise a fuss. I only wish I could have come sooner to speak on his behalf but am glad I finally made it.
This was the first of what we hope will be an annual event, a Mark Twain Memorial Lecture in aid of the library. Humorous, serious and irreverent – like the great man himself.
The event raised £1850.

 Many thanks to Rev Graham Noyce for once again letting us use the church and thanks also to businesses who supported the event (Daniels; Borough Wines; the Paradise; Queens Park Books; L’Angolos; C& D Food and Wine, Berkmann Wines).

Good to see many of the local councillors from the three wards around the library, Kensal Green, Queens Park and Brondesbury Park supporting the event. Thank you to Cllr Joel Davidson for his generous donation and thank you to Tulip Siddiqi the prospective parliamentary candidate for her support.

Special thanks to Richard and Laura and Stephanie and Margaret for organising the event.

Major thanks of course to our wonderful community for their continued support
David Butcher – FKRL

2.  Queens Park Day – Sunday 14th September

 FKRL will be there. Please come and talk to us about the campaign and the exciting plans for the future of the community library. We want everyone to be a part of these plans and would love to hear your ideas for the library and community space and if you have any expertise or energy to share.

  Margaret – FKRL

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From: Park Life. For Kensal Rise & Queen’s Park

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Mark Twain Comes to Kensal Rise!

The Friends of Kensal Rise Library present

Mark Twain in England

A talk by Dr. Cindy Lovell,

of the Mark Twain House and Museum, Connecticut, USA

With readings by Tim Lott, award winning author & journalist

Sunday 7th September at 7pm

St Martin’s Church, Mortimer Rd,

Kensal Green NW10 5SN

(2 mins from Kensal Green tube station)


Tickets: £5, available from L’Angolo Delicatessen, 120 College Road NW10,

C & D Food & Wine, 62 College Rd NW10,

Queen’s Park Books, 87 Salusbury Rd NW6, and on the door.

Bar: wine and soft drinks

 A fundraising event in aid of the Friends of Kensal Rise Library

Did You Know?

America’s greatest writer, Mark Twain, visited Kensal Rise in 1900 – and opened Kensal Rise Library!


“I formally declare this reading-room open, and I think that the legislature should not compel a community to provide itself with intelligent food, but give it the privilege of providing it if the community so desires.” Mark Twain


Mark Twain’s many works include The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn  and The Prince and the Pauper. Twain has been called America’s conscience on racial issues, famously supporting the abolition of slavery. He educated himself in public libraries.

This is a unique opportunity to find out more about this extraordinary man and his surprising links with our community from expert speaker Dr Cindy Lovell. Dr Lovell is the executive director of the Mark Twain House & Museum in Connecticut.

Tim Lott’s books have won a number of awards including the Whitbread First Novel award and the PEN/JR Ackerley Prize for Autobiography. His latest novel is ‘Under the Same Stars’. His column on family matters appears weekly in The Guardian Family section. Tim Lott lives in Kensal Green.

Save Kensal Rise Library Update – Exciting News

After four years of non-stop campaigning against the library closure, we have won (at last!) a new community library and public space on the ground floor of the old library building. The developer has named the Friends of Kensal Rise Library as the actual tenants, subject to agreement of the lease and management arrangements. FKRL are now working on plans for the running of the library. If you would like to be involved, we would love to hear from you – contact us at and keep an eye on our website for details of more events. Come along to the Mark Twain event on 7th September 2014 for a campaign update.



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Update 20th July 2014

Hi Everyone,

Two important points:

1. The planning application for the Kensal Rise library was approved at the Planning Committee Meeting on Wednesday 16th July.

2. The developer has agreed to name FKRL as the ‘actual’ rather than ‘preferred’ tenant of the community space. This means that subject to lease and management arrangements being agreed the space will not have to be tendered out to other groups (The ‘Exception’ in the Localism Act allows for this) and FKRL can look forward to being the new tenants.

FKRL knows that this is not an ideal but a compromise solution, and we know there are challenging times ahead, but there has been so much support for our campaign, and there remains so much goodwill, that we are determined, with this continued support, to have a library back in our building. We are looking forward to planning our library and community space and hope as many of you as possible will want to be involved.

Thank you to everyone in the community, and beyond, who has supported us for nearly four years – any success we have had is due to your support.


 Margaret Bailey



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Hi Everyone,

Really good news!

1. Friends of Kensal Rise Library named as tenants of library and community space.

After months of negotiations, the Friends of Kensal Rise Library are to be named as the ‘Actual’ tenants of the new library and community space in the Kensal Rise Library building.
Previously the Friends were named only as the ‘preferred’ tenants, leading many to think that the agreement FKRL had signed with both All Souls College and the Developer was not watertight and carried no legal weight, and, that after years of campaigning there was a chance that other groups might be offered the space.
Mandip Sahota, Associate planner for the developer stated:
Further to advice provided by the LPA in respect of the Assets of Community Value Regulations 2012, I am pleased to advise that the applicant has today confirmed that he is naming FKRL as the ‘actual’ tenant, as opposed to his ‘preferred’ tenant, subject of course to lease negotiations, management plan etc being satisfactory. We trust this goes some way to giving the Council, the FKRL and the local community the confidence to support this planning application.
This is a real breakthrough and achievement, and thanks must go to our Trustees and Committee for their hard work in achieving this.
We also thank our community for supporting us and local councillors, especially Roxanne Mashari, who has worked on our behalf for some time.
This has been a long campaign with many obstacles.
We hope now to be able to begin to focus on creating a library and community space for all in our community.
2. Mark Twain Talk – St Martin’s Church Kensal Rise – Sunday September 7th at 7pm.
We are very lucky and honoured to have as our guest Dr Cindy Lovell, PhD, Executive Director of the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut, who will be giving a talk on Mark Twain.
More details will follow.
Thank you to Graham Noyce and the PCC for their continued support, we are really indebted to them.
3. Queens Park Day Sunday September 14th
FKRL will be present at Queens Park Day this year.
Come and find out about the campaign; sign up as a volunteer; join our committee; become a Trustee; all ideas welcome.
We do have other events planned, particularly a photographic exhibition of the campaign and a literary festival in the autumn – more on these later.
Margaret Bailey

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July Update

Planning Application to be decided on July 16th

The decision on the Planning Application for the Kensal Rise Library building will now take place on 16th July 2014 at 7pm at the Brent Civic Centre.
The decision was deferred at last month’s planning committee meeting while the committee took legal advice into whether or not they could proceed with making a decision on the Application.
Below is an excerpt from the latest Officer’s Report:

The Council has obtained advice from leading Counsel, Richard Drabble QC, since deferral of the
decision by Members on the 17 June. The advice was required to establish whether the Committee
could lawfully determine the current application having regard to the fraudulent emails, in support of
the application, received during the consultation process in respect of planning application reference
13/2058. Counsel has endorsed the views given by officers, by correctly identifying that such claims
of fraudulent activity, are not a material consideration for the purposes of assessing the current
Counsel contends that he can see no reason why the grant of planning permission on the current
application should prejudice the police investigation into whether earlier representations were bogus
or fraudulent. In these circumstances Members are obliged to determine the application on an
objective assessment of material planning considerations alone.

Planning Officers are recommending granting planning permission subject to the completion of a satisfactory Section 106 or other legal agreement.

Full details can be found on Brent Council’s website

FKRL will be attending the planning meeting and will be organising a bus to travel to the Civic Centre for the meeting.
The bus will leave the Kensal Rise Library building at 6.15pm.

If you would like a place on the bus please send me your name as places are limited.

Margaret Bailey

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June 2014 Update

Hi Everyone,

1. Brent Planning Officers have recommended that the planning application for the Kensal Rise Library building be granted consent – subject to legal agreement.

The Planning Committee will meet to decide whether or not to give consent at 7pm on 17th June. The meeting will take place in the Conference Hall at the Brent Civic Centre, Engineers way, Wembley. HA9 0FJ.
Members of the public are welcome to attend and if you wish to comment you need to contact:
Joe Kwateng – Democratic Services Officer -

020 8937 1354

You can read the Officer’s report at Brent’s planning website:

Click on meeting date: 17/06/14 and then click on agenda report pdf.
We will be organising a bus to go to the planning meeting on 17th June. We will leave from outside the library at 6pm, returning at approximately 10 pm. You are welcome to come and support FKRL.
If you are interested in a seat on the bus please email me as places are limited .
There will be a site visit to the library by the Planning Committee on Saturday 14th June at 10.30am. You can show your support for FKRL to the planning committee by turning up and letting them know how important the D1 space is to this community..

2. Following the recent elections and the formation of a cabinet, councillors now have new responsibilities.Although Cllr Mashari has moved to Employment and Skills in the new Cabinet, she has given us an assurance that she will continue to work with FKRL until we have secured a Community Library on the Kensal Rise Library site. We would like to thank Cllr Mashari for her help and look forward to continuing to work with her, not only on the library but in future partnership, which will include working with young people in the borough, helping them to acquire employment skills and providing solutions to digital exclusion.The new Member who is responsible for libraries is Queens Park Councillor James Denselow.

Cllr Denselow sent us this message:
I’m delighted to have been re-elected by the residents of Queen’s Park and then voted to be the Labour Group’s Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities. I promise to work with FKRL to support their plans for a community library and will strive to bring these delicate negotiations to a successful conclusion. The opening of the Kensal Rise Community Library could be both an inspiration and template for a different kind of relationship between the Council and its residents”.
We look forward to working with Cllr Denselow.
3. The Queens Park  Photo Event is taking placing this coming weekend June 14th-15th 1-6pm.
Photo competition winners exhibition for Under18′s.
Around a Mile Exhibition from local photographers (all pix taken within one mile of Queens Park Bandstand).
Free portrait sessions and exhibition of previous sitters.
Come and have your photo taken and be part of the Queens Park Portrait Project
4. FKRL will be hosting some great events over the next couple of months.
Quiz night July 2nd with brilliant Quizmasters Richard and Simon. Venue to be announced..
Sunday 7th September - Cindy Lovell, Executive Director of the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford Connecticut, USA, will be giving a talk on Mark Twain.
Venue to be announced. Check out the website - inspirational.
Queens Park Day – Sunday 14th September - FKRL will have  a stall – come and talk about the campaign, join the committee, become a trustee, give us your ideas for our library and community space.
We are looking forward  to making plans for our library and public space and involving as many of you as possible in those plans.
Hopefully, exciting days ahead.
Thank you to all of you that continue to support FKRL and the campaign.
Margaret Bailey


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Easter Update – FKRL Supports the new planning application 14/0846

Save Kensal Rise Library – the campaign continues!

Last year, FKRL opposed the developer’s planning application. We thought the library space was unworkable: it was less than that offered now – and half was going to be in a  basement with no natural light. We did not think that was acceptable.

This year, FKRL has agreed to support the new community (D1) space within the new planning application. We believe it is our best chance of keeping a library for our community.
Why has FKRL agreed?
As a result of FKRL’s campaigning, the contract between All Souls and the developer obliges the developer to reserve 1500 square feet for library and community use. Now, after further campaigning, the developer has been persuaded to set aside more and better community space in exchange for our agreement.
Any campaign involves difficult decisions at key moments. FKRL’s Trustees agonised about the implications of signing such an agreement. None of us got into this battle originally because we wanted to see flats in the building.
But we now have an improved offer of a viable library and community space – roughly two thirds of the ground floor – rent free in perpetuity and refurbished. Only the ground floor was accessible to the public in the former library building.
Walking away from the offer in the hope that we might eventually manage to acquire the whole building (from an owner who does not want to sell, and at a cost of millions of pounds we don’t have ) would be irresponsible. We would run the risk of no space at all.
Like any property deal, there is no guarantee until contracts are exchanged. What we have achieved is an agreement that we are the preferred tenants, nominated by All Souls, as per their contract with the developer. Trust is required from all three parties at this stage. We look forward to signing a tenancy agreement once planning permission is granted.
After nearly four years of campaigning, we at last have a chance of something, rather than a chance of nothing
We are looking forward to the day when we can put all our energies into creating a great, free  library and community space for all the residents of Kensal Green and Kensal Rise.
What You Can Do
For the best chance of retaining a library for the community, FKRL are supporting the application in the following way:
Support planning application 14/0846
I give my support re Planning Application 14/0846:
1. For D1 community library and space
2. For FKRL to be tenants of the space
If you agree, please join us by writing the same, then sign and send to Brent Planning  before April 28th 2014.
To send – go online to Brent Planning
 and using the link against this planning application record “Comment on this planning application” or send your comments by email or by post to:
Robin Sedgwick
Planning Application 14/0846
Planning Department
Brent Civic Centre
Engineer’s Way
Wembley HA9 0FJ
Thank you for your continuing support for the campaign to Save Kensal Rise Library.
Margaret Bailey
Chair FKRL
and on behalf of all Trustees.


Why FKRL Decided To Accept Kensal Rise Library Re-Development Offer
Many of you know that the FKRL Trustees recently decided to support the community (D1) aspect of the library building’s re-development. We signed an agreement in good faith with All Souls College and the developer to this effect, trusting this would strengthen our position as future operators of the library and community space.

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March Update: Planning application submitted for Kensal Rise Library building

Hi Everyone,

The developer, Andrew Gillick, has submitted his planning application for the Kensal Rise Library building (see below at end).


The Trustees of the Friends of Kensal Rise Library (FKRL) have been trying to negotiate with the developer and the College since November. We were offered three quarters of the ground floor.


The Trustees agreed, in principle, to accept the space offered – subject to a written agreement between all parties (All Souls College, the developer and the FKRL) guaranteeing that FKRL would be the lessee of the space in return for its support for change of use of the building.


The College agreed to be a signatory to such an agreement. However, so far, Mr Gillick has not been willing to sign.


The amount of space is not of FKRL’s choosing. However, the FKRL’s Trustees agreed to accept it rather than jeopardise the chance of no space at all for a library and community area – sadly, a real, potential outcome.


The Trustees accept that it will be a challenge to run a sustainable library in the space offered, which is much smaller than other community libraries (eg Little Chalfont, Belsize, New Cross etc). They also know that the amount of space offered falls far short of retaining the entire building for community use, as per its official listing as an ‘Asset of Community Value’.


We are due to meet the developer’s planning consultant tomorrow evening, Wednesday 12th March. It will be made clear there whether or not the developer wishes the FKRL’s support  and is prepared to give us the assurance we need about our tenancy.


Without this assurance, FKRL will have no choice but to oppose the developer’s planning application, and will campaign against the suitability of Mr Gillick and his plans for this community asset.


We will also rely on Planning Officers and Committee to decide whether the offer to the community is sufficient mitigation for the loss of community space, notwithstanding the reluctant decision of FKRL’s Trustees to accept – or risk losing any space at all.

The Officers and Committee are not bound by our decision, and will decide on planning issues and the material consideration that the whole building has been designated an Asset of Community Value.


There will remain the problem of choice of tenants for the community space, although we have the College’s assurance that FKRL are still its preferred tenant. However, whether this will carry any weight with the developer, as senior landlord, remains to be seen.

Everyone will be free to respond to Mr Gillick’s planning application.

We hope that you will all take time to consider the above – and FKRL’s predicament, and make your comments regarding the application accordingly.




Margaret Bailey

Information for Planning Application 14/0846

Application Type: Full Planning Permission
Location: KENSAL RISE BRANCH LIBRARY, Bathurst Gardens, London, NW10 5JA
Proposal: Conversion of the existing vacant building to provide 5 residential units (2 x studios, 1 x 1 bed duplex flat and 2 x 2 bed duplex flats) on part ground and upper floors and 186m2 community space (Use Class D1) on the ground floor. Single storey ground floor extension to west elevation, provision of roof extension and communal residential roof terrace, and creation of basement for bin/cycle store. Provision of new entrance door on Bathurst Gardens serving D1 space, with associated cycle parking and landscaping to Bathurst Gardens and College Road. Erection of temporary site hoarding to protect site from vandalism and tresappsing while vacant.
Comments: Comments and objections cannot currently be submitted for this case as it has not been fully validated.
Received Date: 07/ 03/ 2014
Status: Received – not yet validated
Decision: This case has not yet been decided.
Key dates: Monitor your application
Agent: Mr Sahota, Nicholas Taylor & Associates , 128 Southwark Street London SE1 0SW
Applicant: Kensal Properties Limited, c/o agent
Case Officer: Technical Support Team
020 8937 5210
Certificate: Type A


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Update – 11 Feb 2014

Hi Everyone,

Fraudulent Email Enquiry Update

We have received the following information regarding the fraudulent email investigation from Cllr Mashari who has been updated by Brent Council’s Director of Legal and Procurement.

On Friday the police requested additional evidence and information in respect of the fraudulent email case, and this has been provided to them by the Council’s audit and investigation team.
Updates will follow.

Pop Up

Lovely notice made by a resident for Saturday’s celebration of National Libraries Day with regard to the pop up.

“Out of sight
But not out of mind….”

Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate and pack the books. They were taken for storage by the council today.
Let us hope that it won’t be too long before they’re back home.
We are working on it.



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