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.
The original Bridge Methodist Chapel. This building in Stand Lane began life as the Bridge Methodist Chapel in 1815, went over to commercial use when the fast-expanding congregation built its larger church near by in Milltown Street in 1833, and was demolished in 1906 to make way for the public library which opened there in the following year. From 1883 to 1901 it was the printing works for the weekly Radcliffe Express.
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.