Barrett Browning Institute
The Barrett Browning Institute was built by public subscription in 1895 in memory of the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning who lived at Hope End House in Ledbury. A competition to design the building – originally it was just going to be a clock tower in the High Street – was won by architect Brightwen Binyon from Ipswich. A charitable trust was established which firmly stated that the building was
“for the purpose of libraries, reading rooms, lecture rooms, classrooms, museums and any other purposes for the advancement of knowledge, literature, science and art among the people of Ledbury and the neighbourhood thereof, and the general public”
“the institute shall not be used for the purpose of any particular church, religious body or political party, but shall be unsectarian and free from political partisanship”
More recently it was leased to Hereford Council to house the library, but in 2015 the library was moved to the newly restored Master’s House and the building, now in a very dilapidated state became redundant. Despite Pevsner’s damning verdict on the gothic building, it is much loved by the town, everyone looks up to the clock tower as they walk along the High Street!
After essential repairs to the fabric, the BBI is now a thriving youth drop in centre and Ledbury Places wants to continue developing the whole building as a space for the young people of the town.