“LIBRARIES gave us power” – the iconic opening lyric to the Manic Street Preachers’ 1996 hit, A Design for Life.

Widely credited as the song that rescued the band from the devastating disappearance of their lyricist and guitarist Richey Edwards a year earlier, it’s a rousing ode to working-class life in the 90s.

Reaching number two in the UK charts, the band’s bassist Nicky Wire – who wrote the song – described A Design for Life as the moment in which “an underground band goes overground.”

It’s the song that put the Manics in touch with a whole new audience and solidified their status as one of the most successful bands of the 1990s.

South Wales Argus: Manics bassist Nicky Wire wrote 'A Design For Life'Manics bassist Nicky Wire wrote 'A Design For Life'

Since then, the opening line has travelled far and wide into the consciousness’ of Manics fans across the world and it’s one of the many unofficial slogans that have become synonymous with the band’s politically charged music.

But, what’s even more impressive, is that this anthemic tribute to working-class culture was inspired by a building in one of Newport’s oldest working-class communities.

Sitting uniquely between the terraced houses on Temple Street, the former Pill Library is one of Newport’s most historic buildings, dating back to 1889.

A stone’s throw from Commercial Road, this beautiful piece of Victorian architecture spent more than a century serving Pill’s working-class community.

South Wales Argus: The former Pill library on Temple Street sits between a row of terraced houses. The former Pill library on Temple Street sits between a row of terraced houses.

But it’s the inscription, high above the building’s entrance which reads “Knowledge is Power”, that caught the eye of Manics lyricist and bassist, Nicky Wire.

He said that the quote – originally coined by English philosopher Sir Francis Bacon – summed up an ideal of working-class culture.

And what’s more, Pill has a long association with the nearby Alexandra docks – a typically working-class line of work that provided jobs for so many in the area.

What’s the building being used for today?

In January 2009, library services were transferred to a new branch in Commercial Road.

Shortly after, in 2011, the former library was converted into a community hub as part of a £6.7 million project to regenerate Pill.

South Wales Argus: 'Knowledge is Power' inscribed at the top of the building.'Knowledge is Power' inscribed at the top of the building.

And more than ten years on from its regeneration, the building continues to serve the community today and houses the Pillgwenlly Community First hub.

A member of staff at the building told the Argus that it’s still getting plenty of use.

“It’s still a busy building,” they said.

“We’ve got lots of groups set up in here – all but one floor of the building is used, there’s plenty of people coming in and out.

“There’s a lot of history here too – we get plenty of people coming in and sharing their memories with us from back in the days when it was a library. It’s great that it’s still here and long may it continue to be so.”