Advantage was taken of the festive atmosphere of the 1902 Coronation Day to celebrate the memorial stone-laying ceremony at Keighley’s budding Carnegie Free Library – the first in England substantially paid for by the Scots-born American industrialist Andrew Carnegie.

This informal snapshot shows the dignitaries involved watching the tableaux procession as it comes along North Street. They are able to see over the heads of the crowd thanks to the raised library site, protected by hoardings crammed with posters.

The bare-headed man in front of the further flag is Sir Swire Smith, the Keighley mill-owner whose educational interests and friendship with Carnegie had made him, in the absence of Carnegie himself, the ideal performer of the stone-laying ceremony.

Presented with a silver trowel and oak mallet, he “spread the mortar, and laid the memorial stone in a workmanlike manner”. In his speech he related the conversation leading to Carnegie’s generosity: “Mr Carnegie said ‘What is your population?’. I replied about 42,000. ‘Why,’ he said, ‘£10,000 would build you a library’ to which I replied ‘Yes it would’. Without more ado he said, ‘Well, I will give you a library’.”

The flag-pole in the foreground flew the Stars and Stripes in Carnegie’s honour.