Radcliffe library has a very strong connection with the Bealey family. In 1902, the Urban District Council applied to Andrew Carnegie, a U.S. millionaire of Scottish extraction, for a Public Library Grant. The Carnegie U.K. Trust responded with an offer of £5000 topwards the cost of building a Public Library for Radcliffe.
In response to this, the Radcliffe & District Literary & Scientific Society which was founded in 1887, offered £300-£400 for the books stock. Additionally, Adam Crompton Bealey, the President of the Society put up £500 for the site to mark his year of office.
Despite this generous offer, the Local Authority had second thoughts about taking responsibility for the cost of the annual upkeep of the proposed library and the question of “Shall Radcliffe have a Public library” became a controversial issue.
The Literary & Scientific Society ran its own referendum and campaigned vigorously for acceptance of the Carnegie offer, with eventual success.
The building, which is the one still in use in Stand Lane, occupies the original site of the first Bridge Wesleyan Chapel. When the new chapel was built in 1883, the old building was sold to the proprietors of the “Radcliffe Express” weekly newspaper which ceased publication in 1901. This is the site that Adam Crompton Bealey bought and presented to the town for its new library.
The new library was opened on 19th October, 1907 and the upstairs hall was allocated to the Museum. The facilities provided by the new library were modern and plush for the time with a reading room and an extensive lending department.
By 1952, the library contained over 35,000 volumes in addition to a reference department and a junior library for children to join. The reading room was still in operation with all of the leading daily and weekly newspapers, and weekly and monthly periodicals available for public use.