Tag Archives: Nottingham

NEW BOOK REVEALS FASCINATING LINK WITH BROMLEY HOUSE LIBRARY

One of the Library’s acquisitions in 2014, Alison Light’s “Common People: the History of an English Family” (Ca 13767), makes an interesting, if unconscious, connection with a distinguished former member of the Library.
In exploring her family background, Alison Light illuminates many aspects of our social history along the way. She discovered that her grandfather’s mother, Sarah Hill, entered the recently-completed Netherne Asylum, in Surrey, in 1911. This prompted her to look at the role of asylums and workhouses in the lives of working people over the last two centuries.
She found a picture of Netherne Asylum, below, and notes (on page 283) that it was designed in a “simplified Queen Anne style” by G T Hine, consulting architect to His Majesty’s Commissioners in Lunacy.

Hine

George Thomas Hine (1841-1916) was the son of Nottingham’s most famous architect, Thomas Chambers Hine, who was a member of Bromley House Library for 55 years. George himself was a subscriber between 1884 and 1890. He was a partner in T C Hine’s practice until he started his own, in London, after his father’s retirement in 1890.
One of his specialisms was the design of hospitals and asylums, begun by his winning first prize for the design of Mapperley asylum in 1875. Ken Brand’s Nottingham Civic Society pamphlet on T C Hine (Cc 02643) notes that he went on to win other open competitions to design asylums at Woodford, Essex in 1887, Charminster, Dorset in 1890 and Ryhope, Sunderland in 1891. After winning 5 competitions he was appointed consulting architect to the Commissioners in 1897. He designed or extended 20 asylums in all and lived in Mayfair, London.
The Commissioners in Lunacy were created in 1845. Known as “Masters in Lunacy” and appointed by the Lord Chancellor, their first Chairman was the distinguished reformer Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury. They became the Board of Control for Lunacy and Mental Deficiency in 1913 and were absorbed by the Ministry of Health in 1919, continuing as inspectors of asylums until 1939.

A short biography of G T Hine can be found in Jennifer S. Alexander’s article about Mapperley Hospital in the Transactions of the Thoroton Society for 2008, Vol. 112 (Cc 02078). It can be read online at http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/arthistory/staff/ja/alexander-copy.pdf .

Martin Gorman

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Painted to fit?

The painting in 1916

The painting in 1916

In 1822 when Nottingham Subscription Library was moving into Bromley House, John Rawson Walker offered to paint a picture for the Library instead of paying the share price of 10 Guineas. At this point if you wished to join the Library then you purchased a share, and paid an annual subscription. A Guinea, for those who are unfamiliar with earlier coinage, was settled in 1816 as 21 shillings.  Two other artists, Clifton Tomson and Thomas Barber junior, made similar arrangements.  The small seated figure in the painting by John Rawson Walker is of Henry Kirk-White, the poet and hymn writer of Nottingham, who wrote a poem called Clifton Grove. He is also remembered as the writer of ‘Oft in Danger, Oft in Woe’. Clifton Grove was a famous beauty spot during the 19th century, and no visit to Nottingham was complete without visiting there. The legend of Clifton Grove refers to an unhappy love story featuring an unfaithful maiden and a heart broken squire, who threw himself into the Trent there. This is referred to in Henry Kirk White’s poem.

John Rawson Walker, and the other two painters, discovered that they had misunderstood the terms of the agreement with the Library, and were informed that although they would be let off the arrears, they had to pay the annual subscription for library membership. It seems likely that Clifton Tomson was sufficiently upset by this to immediately resign his membership, and remove his painting from the Library.

The painting has been taken down whilst the room is cleaned, showing  bare bricks behind it. It was presumably painted exactly to fit the space, suggesting that the Smith family had earlier had a painting of that exact same size. But was their’s painted to fit, or the fireplace designed to showcase a favourite painting?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brief Guide to Local History Resources at Bromley House Library

If you search for local history on BromCat you will currently retrieve 1922 items. Some of these are in special collections but most are on the open shelves.
The special collections are the James Ward Collection and The Michael Dobbin Collection.
The James Ward Collection was given to the Library in 1914 by the librarian and book collector James Ward and reflect his interests in local history, poetry, particularly Byron and his life and Henry Kirk White, and the Baptist Church in Nottingham, which is where he was Librarian. It isn’t a complete collection of his books, as he also generously gave books to other institutions. He also put together books himself, having collections of papers bound together either on a particular topic or added to a book that he had purchased. There are also several manuscript items.

The majority of this collection is shelved in its own bookcase in the Standfast Library.

The Michael Dobbin collection is on loan to the Library by Canon Charles Dobbin. This has a slightly wider geographical range and comprises around 750 items, some dating back to the 18th century and again some manuscript items. These are kept in locked cupboards in the ‘Michael Dobbin Corridor’ in the new wing and the doors will be unlocked for you on request.

Philip James Bailey was a Nottingham poet born in 1816, the year the Library started, although he was only a member of the Library for a few years when he returned to Nottingham prior to his death. As well as local history there are key items of poetical works, and theology and mysticism as well as freemasonry. The 200 volumes are housed in the cabinets in the Thoroton Room.

As much as the varieties of sizes of book and height of bookshelves will allow, Bromley House’s own collection of local history is housed in the Standfast Library, although the gems of this collection are in the glass fronted cupboard next to the counter. On the upper shelves are Phillimore’s Nottinghamshire Parish Registers (Marriages) There is also a collection of pamphlets stored in their boxes under the old card catalogue.
Just inside the coffee room you will find the Thoroton Society’s publications, a run of Trade Directories in date order, and the Records of the Borough of Nottingham’.
As the Library was always keen to collect local history, and didn’t dispose of this during any of the sales that took place periodically it has left us with a particularly rich collection. Some of these are inevitably in the locked cupboards, and if such an item is stated as in Case 1 or the Safe Room then you will have to ask and have it signed out to you, and it will be put in the Neville Hoskins Reading Room with the appropriate book rests etc. If this room is unavailable then unfortunately the book will also be, so if you are keen to look at a particular item on a particular day please do check with us prior to coming to the Library

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Using group codes on BromCat

One of the advantages of a library catalogue is the ability to gather books together virtually, even if they are not physically together on the shelves, or to enable a search to be made on a special collection. To do this at Bromley House Library we use group codes. These are most often used to mark books that have been donated as a collection, but can be used for other reasons.

Those that we use are as follows:

Group code        Description

AB                          Adolphe Brunner Collection

AS                           Alan Sillitoe Collection

BHL1816             Collection of books appearing in the first printed catalogue of 1816

GK                          Books found in an attic of a coal merchant’s house and donated to the Library by Graham Knight

JWC                  James Ward Collection

LH                           Local History Collection

MD                         Michael Dobbin Collection

NH                         Books previously in the collection of Neville Hoskins

PJB                         Philip James Bailey Collection

PPAS                     Parliamentary papers of Alan Simpson

SL                            The remainder of the Standfast Library

TG                          Travel Guides

WWI                     Books relating to the First World War

To search for any of these collections, or within any of these collections, select Advanced Search and using the drop down menus, select  ‘Group’ and enter the group code in the search box.  If you have any problems with this, please ask a member of staff for help.

More information on these collections coming later.

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Filed under Book collections, Cataloguing project

Old books were new books once…

Musings of the Librarian

When we think of old libraries our first image is of rooms full of nice old books, so we easily have an image of a Victorian library looking much as it does today. We forget that it was full of the latest best sellers, because what we consider to be today’s classics were once that. Their spines were bright, not faded from time and sunshine, and dirtied by years of coal fires and the early gas lighting. There were multiple copies to keep up with the demand, and members were not always patient about having to wait their turn. Black and white photographs, or faded sepia, give us no image of the vibrancy that there would have been, with the new books all on display, the magazines with their colour prints of fashion etc, and Punch magazines with their cartoons on current events.

One at least of our grandfather clocks was purchased new, and we had the latest scientific equipment in the form of the barometers, the Wind dial and our Meridian line.  Our members requested that telephone be installed for their use as soon as it was available. The proportion of new books to old would have been much in the favour of new books too, the balance being somewhat different now as those new books have grown old alongside the library. So, when we look at the past, let’s not do it filtered by a black and white photograph, but remember that what is old now was once new and the latest thing. We were then, as we are now, both scholarly and popular, catering for a diverse clientele, and looking forwards as much as backwards.

Outside, Nottingham was busy and bustling too, with a market in Market Square, and frequent events taking place there, often photographed from our parapet. Maybe this is why ‘Members are not allowed on the roof without permission’?  There were businesses and clubs on the premises then too. Members of the billiard club would be coming and going, and the person employed as a marker did get drunk on the premises more than once. One hopes he didn’t meet the members of the ‘Ladies Bible Class’ when under the influence….

NTGM012431 Market and BH

Photograph courtesy of Picture the Past, approx. 1890

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Hey, BromCat, take me to your collections…

Exploring the Local History Collection

One of the features of the “Bromcat” online catalogue is that it provides a means of exploring the Library’s special collections. The catalogue describes these as “Groups”. If a book is included in one of the Library’s 13 collections it will show up in the “Related” field on the main display pages for each record and under the “Group” field on the dynamic display page (found by clicking the “change display” button on the right hand side and selecting from the “detailed” options). Clicking on a collection title brings up all its titles. The largest, with 1828 entries, is the Local History Collection.

What a fascinating collection it is. If, like me, you find that serendipity is one of the joys of library membership, this is the collection to dip into. All of the titles invite curiosity, some closer study. Who could not be intrigued by a title like “Damn His Charity, We’ll Have the Food for Nought” (Cc03044), the story of the 1766 food riots, when the Mayor of Nottingham was bowled over by a rolling cheese? Or be tempted to explore “British Duck Decoys of Today”, 1918, by Rainworth naturalist Joseph Whitaker (Bb1779 and JWC/1(12)), “The Wonders of the Year 1716” (Cc02238(5)) for prophecies about the Antichrist or, more prosaically, the delights of the “Conchology of Nottingham” 1853 (Bb2407)?

I would guess that members might be particularly interested in notable Nottingham personalities and families: George Green, the Thorotons and the Smiths all have links to the Library, the latter in particular providing Bromley House with its name. There are many others: Holles, Chaworth  Musters, Byron, Trotman, Birkins, Samuel Butler, Jesse Boot, Bendigo, Albert Ball, JT Becher of Southwell, Huntingdon Plumtre and the Pierreponts of Pierrepont Hall, who had brothers on opposing sides in the Civil War. The Collection has books or pamphlets on all of these.

For anyone wanting to dig deeply into the history of a local family there is a Southampton University thesis by G. Jaggar on the Whalley family of Screveton (MD/6(518). Sir Richard Whalley, whose family crest was, yes, a whale, became extremely rich on the proceeds of helping Henry VIII to strip the monasteries. His grandson was a wastrel, however, and the family not only lost its wealth but died out altogether, despite Sir Richard’s 25 children by 3 wives. The family went from riches to rags in 3 generations.  Screveton church has a magnificent alabaster monument to Sir Richard, (see pictures).

There is more, much more.  An illustrated guide to Matlock, perhaps? A book on the scenery of Sherwood Forest? Histories of Gedling, Southwell, Hucknall, Epperstone, Bulwell, Kimberley or Eastwood? Or should we be investigating whether the Nottingham Subscription Library represented an elite institution in the period 1815-1853 (Cc02646)? I think we should be told!

Martin Gorman

Whalley memorialsMG blog 2

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Later librarians

The stories of the next two Librarians complete their history for the first hundred years of the Library’s existence. Again there were financial irregularities, although the Library never prosecuted. After this, the Librarians were of course all of impeccable character! The very attractive share certificates were produced after the irregularities of Moore’s employment.

1893-1899 J William Moore

 He was appointed as assistant librarian on 1/7/1867 at 6s 0d per week and in 1893 he was being paid £2 14s 0d fortnightly.

The Library Association held its Annual General Meeting in Nottingham in September 1891 and it may be that Banwell (librarian), and Moore (assistant librarian) attended it [Peter Hoare].

At a special Committee meeting held on Monday 10 July 1893 at 5 p.m. at the offices of the Honorary Secretary (H.E. Hubbart) at 10 South Parade, J.C. Banwell was to be asked to resign as Librarian. H. Dixon proposed, with S.H. Sands as seconder, that the post go to William Moore at a salary of £90 per annum with the residence at Bromley House and with gas, coal and water provided and taxes paid. He would be paid fortnightly and there would be three months notice on either side. Moore’s acceptance letter is recorded for 12 July 1893.
So he had gone from £15 12s 0d per year in 1867 to £90 0s 0d in 1893 26 years later.

He was given leave and £4 to attend a meeting of the Library Association in Cardiff from 10 to 13 September 1895 (13/8/1895).
This meeting proved useful as on 8/10/1895 the Committee considered a long and detailed letter from Moore making recommendations about the use of subscription libraries based on discussions he had had with other librarians at the Cardiff meeting.
He went to London (3/12/1895) to seek further information.

Christmas boxes
The Account Books show the seasonal generosity of the Library and Moore, as assistant librarian, regularly received a Christmas bonus which was about equal to his weekly wage. The Librarian was presumably considered to be above such matters.

Moore was paid his last weekly wage of £1 7s 0d on 29/10/1892 and then received £27 0s 0d to cover the 18 week period from 5/11/1892 to 10/3/1893 (i.e. £1 10s 0d per week or £78 0s 0d per year).

Further salary increases
His salary was increased to £120 per year on 6/6/1896 and two months later (11/8/1896) his holiday allowance was increased to 14 days to be taken without inconvenience to the Library.
He was given permission to attend the Library Association meeting again, this time in Preston but with only £2 10s 0d as expenses.
The Committee meeting of 6/7/1897 agreed a payment of £5 for Moore to attend the International Libraries Conference along with the President, William Bradshaw. This conference was held in the Council Chamber of the Corporation of London and was attended by some 641 delegates, 21 of whom were from abroad including Melvil Dewey [Peter Hoare].

At this time (5/10/1897) Moore was honorary librarian to the Nottingham Naturalists Society and on 7/6/1898 it was agreed that he receive an extra 10s 0d per week for cleaning the Library and seeing that it was kept in good order.

The doorway to the house he used at Angel Row was made satisfactory (5/7/1898).

Moore’s wife was unwell and the Committee paid him £15 towards the doctor’s bills and for a subsequent period of convalescence away from Nottingham (5/7/1898).
A month later they awarded him £5 to attend the meeting of the Library Association in Southport (9/8/1898).
The Library Committee obviously thought highly of Moore and showed this in their financial, personal and profession support.

However, all was not right. On 6/4/1899 Moore was suspended and Arthur Lineker, the assistant librarian, took on his duties. A week later Moore, who lived at Bromley House, was to be ejected from the premises (12/4/1899) and the matter was reported to the General Meeting of 1/5/1899.

Moore had worked for the Library for 33 years with the last six being as librarian.

Share certificates
However, he had abused the confidence placed in him and he did not account for all the subscriptions and rents that he had dealt with and £103 18s 2d was found to be missing from the accounts. He had kept the payments for five shares he had sold.
A written confession was forthcoming and a motion to prosecute Moore was defeated, perhaps because the Library subscribers were embarrassed at being duped in this way.
The five deluded subscribers were added to the list.
It seems that the Library did not recover any of the embezzled money.

1899-1926 Arthur Lineker 

In the 1896 the Committee increased his holiday allowance to 14 days to be taken without inconvenience to the Library (11/8/1896).

On 6/4/1899 William Moore was dismissed and Lineker was immediately appointed to replace him as Librarian. He was a young man, aged only 21, and his parents, Charles and Emma, lived with him in the accommodation at Bromley House Library.  His salary was agreed at £80 per year plus the house, coal, gas, water and taxes.

Rather surprisingly the Committee refused permission for the North Midlands Libraries Association to use the Reading Room for four hours on Thursday 2/10/1902 for their general meeting despite Lineker being that Association’s honorary treasurer. He was later its secretary (Kelly, 1904).

His holiday entitlement of 14 days was confirmed (31/7/1900) and his salary was increased to £100 per year on 12/2/1901 and another increase of £10 came on 14/7/1903. However, his request for a further increase was declined on 6/6/1905.

On 1/5/1906 the Committee decided that the Librarian need not live at Bromley House and so Lineker and his family moved out. This released their accommodation to be rented out. His salary was revised to £150 per annum.

He, the assistant librarian and two unnamed charwomen were to be insured to cover liability under the Employers’ Liability Act (2/7/1907)

He was given an extra week’s holiday in 1911.Another increase of salary of £10 came on 7/1/1913 giving him an income of £160 per annum and he was given a £10 ‘War Bonus’ on 7/12/1915.

He was the photographer responsible for many of the illustrations in Russell’s centenary history of the Library published in 1916. His photograph is in the Ellen Harrington Room (2006).

He was a good professional librarian becoming a Fellow of the Library Association in 1914. Keen to modernise he introduced the typewriter in 1902 and began the conversion of the catalogue to cards. His slowness with this task earned a rebuke from the Committee when it was still incomplete in 1907 (8/1/1907). He was questioned further on its incomplete state on 7/1/1908 and 3/11/1908. However, he was able to report its completion on 2/2/1909.

The Committee decided that the Librarian was to take no part in the sale of shares (5/1/1909) perhaps indicating a suspicion of some irregularity. On 6/12/1910 the Committee clearly stated that the Librarian must not act as any form of agent in the matter of tenancy agreements.

A letter was received from a Mr Hill (9/9/1913) regarding the unsuitability of Hall Cain’s The Woman Thou Gavest Me and Lineker, as the librarian, received implied criticism for ordering it. This book is still in the collection at Dc 5463.

In late 1905 he visited London, receiving 30s 0d as expenses. This visit was in connection with the reorganisation of the library subscriptions (Mudie, Westerton, W.H. Smith & Son and the London Libraries) (5/12/1905).

He was able to report that in 1914 only 20 volumes out of a holding of 30,800 were unaccounted for (1/9/1914). In October 1914 he was sent to London to negotiate with W.H. Smith on the subscription. The cost of borrowing 500 volumes was increased from £130 to £187 (5s 2d to 7s 6d per volume). As a result of these negotiations the Library agreed to 450 volumes at a cost of £168 15s (7s 6d per volume) – that is fewer volumes at the same until price.

He went to London in the spring of 1916 and reported (7/3/1916) that W.H. Smith were not to renew the subscription. Days Library Ltd. were found to be the best value offering 300 volumes for £130 (8s 8d per volume). A long letter setting out the terms of this arrangement was copied into the Minute Book and signed by John C. Williams. The first payment of £130 was made on 4/4/1916.

He, and five others, signed share certificates such as that issued to John Holland Walker on 9/4/1907.
He was to serve the Library for 27 years up to 1926 when he contracted scarlet fever and was then dismissed for misappropriation of funds.

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