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Historic mosaic discovered beneath the carpets as £650,000 work continues on Dartford’s Central Library

PUBLISHED: 10:57 20 September 2016

Dartford's Central Library

Dartford's Central Library

Archant

Popular venue due to be re-opened later this year after refit of 100-year-old building

Mosaic found at Dartford libraryMosaic found at Dartford library

A long-forgotten mosaic has been unearthed on the floor of Dartford’s Central Library after workman carried out a major £650,000 refurbishment of the site.

The intricate terrazzo mosaic flooring has been uncovered under carpeting just inside the main entrance and specialists have been brought in to remove underlay and adhesive, which have hidden the impressive flooring for decades, to bring the mosaic back to its former glory.

Kent County Council agreed a refurbishment proposal for the 100-year-old library after a six-week public consultation showed huge support for it to reflect the heritage and past glories of the building.

Since it closed earlier this year for the four-month refit, library services have been temporarily moved to the nearby Acacia Sports Centre.

Mosaic found at Dartford libraryMosaic found at Dartford library

Mike Hill, KCC’s cabinet member for community services, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to include the restoration of this long-forgotten mosaic in the library refurbishment project.

“This historic multi-coloured flooring will provide an attractive feature as visitors enter the building.”

In addition, extensive parquet flooring, which was mostly hidden under carpets, has been uncovered. Although some of it is in too poor a state of repair to bring back into use, much of it within the local history section can be renewed and will also add an extra sense of history and authenticity to the restoration project.

The works involve significant improvements to the building including redecoration inspired by original paints and colours and restoring spaces dedicated to art displays and quiet study. New furniture sympathetic to the character of the building will be introduced and the original listed bookshelves are being refurbished.

A collection of historic local pictures recently acquired by Dartford Borough Council will be displayed and the Peter Blake Gallery will be fully returned to its original use as a space for exhibitions, particularly those by local artists.

Original doorways connecting the library and Dartford Borough Museum will be opened for the first time in many decades to allow users to flow between the collections.

Public facilities will be improved with toilets and changing facilities being provided, along with a new meeting room for groups and societies. A new room, the Centenary Room will be created from previously inaccessible storage areas and two well located meeting spaces will be used for deaths and births registrations.

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