[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 17 May 2007, 11:59 GMT 12:59 UK
How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
Carnegie Hall. In New York

By Brendan O'Neill

Up the M1, junction 45, turn left - at least that's if you're after the hall at the Carnegie Faculty of Sport and Education at Leeds Metropolitan University. Why is this name on everything from music venues to sports teams?

The UK is going Carnegie crazy. Everywhere you look, there seems to be a sports team or educational institution adopting the Carnegie brand.

The Carnegie trend is especially big in Yorkshire. This week the rugby union team Leeds Tykes has renamed itself Leeds Carnegie. This is because Leeds Metropolitan University has taken a controlling 51% stake in the team, and its sports wing is called the Carnegie Faculty of Sport and Education (previously the Carnegie Physical Training College, set up in 1933 by the Carnegie Trust).

St Helen's v Brisbane Broncos in the Carnegie World Club Challenge played in Bolton
Everything from rowdy sports events...
Also this week, draws were made for the quarter-finals of rugby league's Carnegie Challenge Cup - formerly known as the Challenge Cup, and later as the Powergen Challenge Cup following a jolt of sponsorship from the electricity company. But since the start of this year, when Leeds Met became the Cup's primary partner, it has been rebranded.

And last year Headingley Stadium in Leeds - home to the Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Leeds Rhinos RLFC and the Leeds Tykes (sorry, Leeds Carnegie) - was renamed the Headingley Carnegie Stadium. A new Carnegie Stand was unveiled in the stadium last September.

Leeds Met also sponsors premiere league football in Northern Ireland, which is now known as the Carnegie Premier League.

Outside of the world of sport, in July we will hear who has won this year's Carnegie Medal of Literature, the UK's oldest award for children's book, which has been awarded annually since 1936.

Children in a library
... to hushed libraries bear the name
Last month, to mark the medal's 70th anniversary, the Carnegie of Carnegies - a list of the 10 best winners from the past seven decades - was unveiled, featuring the likes of Philip Pullman's Northern Lights and Mary Norton's The Borrowers.

There is also a Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, most recently awarded in a ceremony in the Scottish Parliament at the end of 2005. Recipients include the likes of Bill Gates and the Rockefeller family.

The Carnegie brand is widespread. Stateside there are numerous Carnegie public libraries, the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Hall in New York - one of the most famous music venues in the world. Built in 1890, it has hosted world premiers of some of the past century's best-known classical music, as well as gigs by Liza Minnelli, Frank Sinatra and others.

Giving industrialist

So where does the Carnegie tag come from, and why is it popping up everywhere from rowdy sports stadiums to the hushed halls of public libraries?

Andrew Carnegie, industrialist turned philantropist
Andrew Carnegie, who set up the trusts dolling out the funds
"All of these things started life thanks to the generosity of Andrew Carnegie," says Charlie McConnell, the chief executive of the Carnegie UK Trust.

He was a hugely successful capitalist turned incredibly giving philanthropist, and perhaps the archetypal "boy done good". He was born in Dunfermline in Scotland in 1835, the son of a handloom weaver and an active Chartist.

The Carnegie family emigrated to the United States in 1848 where Andrew went on to make his fortune. He founded the Carnegie Steel Company, which was to become one of the most powerful and influential corporations in US history; today it is known as US Steel. Carnegie was the Bill Gates of his day, at one point earning the title of "the richest man in the world".

However, he has become best known not for making money, but for giving it away.

To die rich is to die disgraced
Andrew Carnegie
From the 1880s onwards, Carnegie devoted himself to philanthropy. It's estimated that by the time of his death in 1919, he had given away $350,695,653 of his fortune, or $4.3bn in today's money. Upon his death, he gave his remaining $30m to various charities and to pensioners.

"Carnegie had a dictum, which was 'to die rich is to die disgraced'," says Mr McConnell. The UK trust was set up by Carnegie in 1913, one of 23 foundations on both sides of the Atlantic to campaign for a more just, democratic and peaceful world.

The trust set up the Carnegie Physical Training College in Leeds in 1933, which was subsequently co-opted by Leeds Met and which is now helping to spread the Carnegie brand.

"Carnegie was a radical liberal. Because of where he came from, he had a real interest in improving opportunities for working class people. He was dedicated to social change and to educational opportunities," says Mr McConnell.

Books for all

The Carnegie name may be writ large in sport in the north of England and Northern Ireland, but there are other aspects of everyday life we take for granted which also sprung from his philanthropy.

Rufus Wainwright in concert in London
Rufus Wainwright recreating Judy Garland's Carnegie Hall concert
He was at the forefront of setting up free public libraries. Between 1881 and 1917, Carnegie built a remarkable 1,681 libraries in the US, 125 in Canada, 660 in the UK and Ireland, 17 in New Zealand, 12 in South Africa, five in the West Indies, four in Australia and Tasmania, and one each on the Seychelles, Mauritius and Fiji. In total, he built 2,507 public libraries in that 40-year period, costing more than $56m. Many libraries, especially in the US and Carnegie's native Scotland, still bear his name - the Carnegie Free Library.

Mr McConnell says that Carnegie was also passionate about social welfare and world peace - a side of his work continued by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"Before and during World War II, the Carnegie UK Trust commissioned reports and inquiries into ways that the state could help people, and these underpinned the arguments for a welfare state. The trust also made the case for having national parks."

From free libraries to welfare to the flourishing of protected countryside, it seems there is far more to Carnegie's legacy than rugby teams and stadium stands.

And we can expect to hear his name even more in the future. Mr McConnell says that the various heads of Carnegie foundations met in 2001 to discuss how they could remind people of Carnegie's legacy.

The spread of his name looks set to continue almost a century after he died.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific