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The latest news and views from Gladstone's Library.

Christmas reading recommends from the Gladstone's Library team!

by Amy Sumner | Friday, 15th December 2017

Gifting the perfect book to a person is one of the great joys of life; creating a perfect partnership which you can just feel in your bones will last.

With that in mind and as a little Christmas treat, the Gladstone's Library team have gathered together some of our books of the year and reading recommends perfect for stockings. If you are still looking for that perfect gift for someone special, we hope you can find inspiration within this guide! 


Gladstone, Hallam & Tennyson

by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 13th December 2017

Following Sarah Perry’s Gladstone Lecture on the subject of Gladstone, Hallam & Tennyson and the Idea of Friendship back in November, Intern Carla Manfredino ruminates on the close alliances between the three…


A weird and wonderful Welsh Christmas!

by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 06th December 2017

Every month the library team curates a new display for visitors and everyone who uses the library, highlighting the many wonderful collections we have on our shelves. This month, Intern Elspeth Brodie-Browne reflects on our final display of 2017, co-curated with Intern Katie Ruffley, all about the many Christmas traditions here in Wales... 


The Gladstone's Library Uncommon Calendar of Prayer: we need your input!

by Amy Sumner | Monday, 20th November 2017

The current resident Chaplain of Gladstone’s Library is working on a project - compiling names, a list of saints and friends of God - to include in an Uncommon Calendar of Prayer for Chapel services.

You are invited to participate in this project by submitting names of persons who have inspired your life in a most positive and decisive way.



Germaine de Stael: The First Modern Woman

by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 08th November 2017

Every month the library team curates a new display for visitors and everyone who uses the library, highlighting the many wonderful collections we have on our shelves. This month, Intern Elspeth Brodie-Browne has put together an exhibit on one of the great figures of the French Revolutionary period, who died 200 years ago…


2018 events programme announced!

by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 01st November 2017

Gladstone’s Library is delighted to unveil its programme of events for 2018 including residential courses, evening talks and literary festivals galore.

The Gladstone’s Library programme holds at its core theology; history and current affairs; and nineteenth-century literary culture – the areas that William Gladstone’s collection of books and journals itself centres around. Each year we programme an eclectic range of sessions for study, education and entertainment to fit with these themes, and 2018 is no different. In fact, we think it’s one of the best.


The Great Rivalry, as told by Punch

by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 24th October 2017

History is littered with bitter rivalries - Sparta and Athens, Lancaster and York, Tom and Jerry. But in recent centuries few have come close to matching the antagonism and divergence in styles that existed between two of Britain’s most significant leaders of the Victorian period, William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli. And what better way to learn about their rivalry than with the aid of every history student’s favourite source, (mostly because it beats sifting through mountains of unrelated papers), the satirical cartoon. 


Hearth interview: Will Harris

by Amy Sumner | Friday, 20th October 2017

Will Harris was born in London, of mixed Anglo-Indonesian heritage. He has worked in schools and as a tutor, co-edits the small press 13 Pages and is one of the organisers of The Poetry Inquisition. His poems have appeared in The Poetry Review, The White Review and The Rialto, where he is Assistant Editor. He is also part of the editorial team behind Swimmers and helped put together the first-ever Poetry Magazine Fair. He is a fellow of the Complete Works III, and will be published as part of the Bloodaxe anthology Ten: Poets of the New Generation. His debut pamphlet, All This is Implied, was published by HappenStance Press in June 2017. 


Hearth interview: Krishan Coupland

by Amy Sumner | Friday, 20th October 2017

Krishan Coupland is a writer, editor and digital nomad. His debut collection of (very) short fiction, When You Lived Inside the Walls, was published by Stonewood Press in 2017. Other poems and stories have been published in Ambit, Aesthetica, Litro and elsewhere. In his spare time Krishan runs and edits Neon Literary Magazine. 


Hearth interview: Sam Guglani

by Amy Sumner | Friday, 20th October 2017

Sam Guglani is a poet, novelist and consultant oncologist who specialises in the management of lung and brain tumours. He has a background in medical ethics and chairs the Gloucestershire Hospitals Trust law and ethics group. Director of Medicine Unboxed since he founded it in 2009, Sam uses the arts and creative industries to illuminate challenges in medicine. He is a published poet and writes for The Lancet, and his debut novel Histories is released in 2017.






Musical Mary Drew

by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 24th August 2017

The contents of Mary Drew’s diaries have been something of a surprise to me! But the daughter of a four-times Prime Minister, whom later acquired the position of Private Secretary to William Gladstone, did not hide her love of music. So much so, she wrote reviews about the music she listened to, the orchestras she went to see, and her own public and private performances.



Democracy by James Kirchick

by Amy Sumner | Monday, 07th August 2017

Staring at me from the desk in my bedroom at Gladstone’s Library during my recent residency was a postcard inscribed with a bit of the namesake’s wisdom: 

Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. 


Things I learned while not editing my novel by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

by Amy Sumner | Monday, 07th August 2017

I met my first Wikipedia surfer, almost 10 years ago. It was my first year at university. The polo-shirted boy explained that he spent hours clicking link after link. It wasted days of his life, he said and smiled. Back in my dorm, tucked into my duvet, I settled in with Wikipedia. I clicked a link. I read for a while, and then stopped. The site seemed useful, but I wasn’t entranced by the hyperlink pathway.


Gladfest interview: Louisa Young

by Amy Sumner | Monday, 07th August 2017

Louisa Young was born in London and educated there and at Cambridge University. She was a freelance journalist for many years, including for the GuardianMarie-Claire and the motorcycle magazine, Bike. An interview with Johnny Cash led to the realisation that she couldn’t be a journalist any more, and she moved into fiction, biography, history, and recently, songwriting. Her first book was a biography of her grandmother Kathleen Scott, sculptor and widow of Captain Scott of the Antarctic, who lived in the house where Peter Pan was written, and in which Louisa grew up with five siblings and six cousins. 



Gladfest interview: Kate Hamer

by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 20th July 2017

Kate Hamer grew up in Pembrokeshire and, after studying art, worked in television for over 10 years, mainly on documentaries. Her debut novel, The Girl in the Red Coat, was published by Faber & Faber in February 2015 and has sold in eight other territories. Kate won the Rhys Davies short story prize in 2011 and the story One Summer was broadcast on BBC Radio 4. She has also had work published in short story anthologies such as A Fiction Map of Wales and Seren’s New Welsh Short Stories. She lives in Cardiff with her husband. 


Work Experience by Olivia Jones

by Amy Sumner | Friday, 14th July 2017

Starting my Work Experience at Gladstone’s Library, I was given an introduction and tour of the library itself as well as the collections. Within the library are the History and Theology Rooms plus the Annex. After I was shown around, I helped to open the Reading Rooms and then carried out circulation of the books as well as reshelving them.


Work Experience by Harriet Lewis-Wilson

by Amy Sumner | Friday, 14th July 2017

The first day of my Work Experience at Gladstone’s Library incorporated a range of tasks that helped me get familiar with the library itself. I was introduced to the helpful, friendly staff and Interns who then showed me what I needed to do to open up the library which included turning on lights and checking the books were in the right place. 


Gladfest interview: Dan Richards

by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 13th July 2017

Dan Richards was born in Wales in 1982 and grew up in Bristol. He has studied at UEA and Norwich Arts School. Dan is the co-author of Holloway with Robert Macfarlane and Stanley Donwood, published by Faber in 2013. The Beechwood Airship Interviews, a book about the creative process and the importance of art for art’s sake, was published by The Friday Project / HarperCollins in 2015.



“It’s a mere nonsense”: Gladstone’s Homeric Age

by Amy Sumner | Friday, 23rd June 2017

‘Looked into my papers on Homer: & I am strongly tempted to undertake something…’ wrote Gladstone on 7th July 1855, unaware that that ‘something’ would occupy his thoughts for much of the next three years. What began as a small project to be completed while out of office grew to a three volume work: Homer and the Homeric Age (1858).


WIN a bundle of theatre and Gladfest tickets for Uncle Vanya

by Amy Sumner | Friday, 16th June 2017

As we approach Gladfest, we are pleased to announce that we will be running a series of competitions to win a selection of fabulous festival prizes. 

The first of these competitions is run in conjunction with our friends at Theatr Clwyd whose new version of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya opens in September.


Work Experience by Kate Robertson

by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 14th June 2017

This morning I helped to open up the library and start the circulation process, which meant that I had to use the Heritage Online software and the Cirqaclient software. 


Interview: Genesis Redux with Lyn Bechtel

by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 13th June 2017

Lyn Bechtel is a feminist Hebrew Bible scholar. 

Over the week of 26th – 30th June, Lyn leads a course at Gladstone’s Library entitled ‘Genesis Redux’. The course examines three disturbing stories from the Book of Genesis which represent a theology that is foundational to the theology of Jesus; Deuteronomic theology. These stories are Lot and his Daughters (Genesis. 19), Dinah and Shechem (Genesis. 34) and Tamar and Judah (Genesis. 38).


Volunteer at Gladfest!

by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 06th June 2017

We are currently looking for a small team of Site Information Volunteers for our Gladfest literary festival which takes place at the Library 1st – 3rd September.



Work Experience by Mia Mori

by Amy Sumner | Monday, 05th June 2017

Starting my week of Work Experience at Gladstone’s Library I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived. Since it was Founder’s Day, an annual event at the Library, it wasn’t the average day of work.


Work Experience by Owen Yale-Helms

by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 01st June 2017

The start of my Work Experience was not an ordinary day at Gladstone’s Library; it was Founder’s Day and was one of Gladstone Library’s most important events of the year.



Father's Day at Gladstone's Library

by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 31st May 2017

Here at the Library we want to say thank you to fathers everywhere on this special day for all of the love and the care invested in us. Even if sometimes we’re a little troublesome, you support us and we love you!


A Series of Unfortunate Events

by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 30th May 2017

Interns at Gladstone’s Library are encouraged to contribute periodic blogs on aspects of William Gladstone, the Library and its collections which really spark their interest or tie in with their own areas of expertise.

With the acquisition of the British Crime Writing Archives at Gladstone’s Library and our first ever Alibis in the Archive event taking place to launch that archive (now SOLD OUT!), Intern Danielle set about coming up with a murder mystery of her own to really get into the criminal spirit of things to come…


Our Friends sign-up regulations are changing

by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 17th May 2017

Please note that the sign-up regulations for Friends of the Library are changing. 

Following advice from our insurers, Gladstone’s Library is now only able to accept Friend applications from individuals in Year 12 and above. As the Reading Rooms at Gladstone’s Library are unstaffed after 5pm, unfortunately individuals under this age are not permitted to remain in this unsupervised area due to safeguarding issues. 


Interview: Fierce Imaginings with Rachel Mann

by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 09th May 2017

Rachel Mann has worked as Teaching Fellow in the Philosophy Department at Lancaster University and holds qualifications in Theology and Creative Writing / English Literature. She began writing poetry, liturgy and short stories in the late nineties and has also written feminist liturgical theology, cultural history and is a regular contributor to the Church Times. Rachel has published three books; Fierce Imaginings, Dazzling Darkness and The Risen Dust as well as contributing to many others. 


Voting: A blog by Warden Peter Francis

by Amy Sumner | Monday, 08th May 2017

A visitor to the Library has just shown me a glass plate made in 1869 to celebrate Gladstone being elected as Prime Minister. It is embossed with the slogan ‘Gladstone for the Million’, which is simply a way of saying ‘for the many’. It is just one of the many commemorative plates, jugs, cups and even chamber pots that were made in honour of Gladstone and offer striking testimony to his popularity.


Gladstone's Library in the New York Times!

by Amy Sumner | Monday, 08th May 2017

Gladstone's Library is delighted to have been featured in the New York Times (both online and in the physical paper!) in this wonderful piece about what Gladstone’s Library stands for. The title of the piece is ‘A Refuge for Liberal Values Beneath a Stern Victorian Gaze’...



Special offer: dinner bed and breakfast, and a talk!

by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 04th May 2017

Caroline Shenton was Director of the Parliamentary Archives at Westminster from 2008 to 2014 and is our May Political Writer in Residence. On Tuesday, 9th May Caroline discusses The Day Parliament Burned Down in the great fire of 1834 in an evening talk in our beautiful Gladstone Room.



    Expressions of interest for the Gladfest Market Place

    by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 26th April 2017

    We are delighted to begin accepting expressions of interest from artists, crafters, designers and makers who want to participate in our fantastic Gladfest Market Place over the Gladfest weekend Saturday, 2nd - Sunday, 3rd September. This will be our biggest-ever Market Place and will house an eclectic range of goods and gifts from local and national stallholders.


    Changes to Reading Room opening hours after 5pm

    by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 04th April 2017

    We are delighted to announce that just under 11,000 people worked in the Reading Rooms in 2016! That’s more than ever before, the highest number we’ve yet recorded. Many of those working in the Reading Rooms are enjoying our collections: use of books, journals and archive material is going up year-on-year. User feedback indicates that you, like us, are delighted to be part of a thriving, bustling working environment.


    Interview: Michael Nobbs on Building a Sustainably Creative Life

    by Amy Sumner | Monday, 03rd April 2017

    Michael Nobbs is the author of Drawing Your Life and publishes an illustrated journal called The Beany. Michael is an artist, podcaster and tea-drinker. At the end of the 1990s he was diagnosed with ME/CFS, a chronic illness that severely limits how much he can do each day. Over the years he’s learnt a lot about living the best life he can by accepting what he can’t change and working with what he can.


    Interview: Nicholas Draper on Remembering Slavery

    by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 28th March 2017

    Nicholas Draper is Director of the new Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slave-ownership at UCL. Prior to this he was Co-director of the recent Structure and Significance of British Caribbean Slave-ownership 1763-1833 project, and was a founder member of its precursor, the Legacies of British Slave-ownership project (2009-2012).


    Easter fun at Gladstone's Library!

    by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 28th March 2017

    Sunshine-yellow daffodils are in full bloom which means that the milder weather is on its way! It also signifies the coming of Easter and as such, our annual Easter Craft Fair which takes place in our beautiful Grade-I listed building 10.30am – 4pm on Saturday, 15th April and is completely free to attend.


    Stay and study with us on a residential course

    by Amy Sumner | Monday, 20th March 2017

    Gladstone's Library is a haven for reading, learning and conversing. Silent study spaces and more lively communal areas in our truly unique setting allow you to make the most of your time with us in whichever way you choose.


    The Swiss Intern

    by Amy Sumner | Monday, 20th March 2017

    My name is Jennifer, I’m 22 years old and I’m the current Swiss intern at Gladstone’s Library. But how did somebody from Switzerland get to work here? Long story...


    April Jelly Day announced!

    by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 09th March 2017

    We were overwhelmed with the attendance and the positive feedback we received following our February and March Jelly Days. It was wonderful to see so many people working, meeting new people and really making the most of the Library space.


    The Treasures of Closed Access: Samuel Wesley’s Life of Christ

    by Amy Sumner | Monday, 27th February 2017

    The Closed Access section of the Reading Rooms contains some of the Library’s oldest and rarest literary works and collections. It includes about 15 Incunabula, texts printed between 1450 and 1501, as well as a collection of books once owned by the Glynne family, of whom Catherine, William Gladstone’s wife, was a member.

    One of the books housed in Closed Access is Samuel Wesley’s The Life of our blessed Lord & Saviour. An Heroic Poem.


    Key Strokes: Writer as Swimmer by William Atkins

    by Amy Sumner | Monday, 27th February 2017

    I’ve always been interested in the relationship between the work of the mind and that of the body, how one can influence the other, and the extent to which the physical overlaps with the mental: How the reservoir of one kind of energy seeps into or draws upon the other.


    WIN Sunday Lunch for two as part of Wales Year of Legends!

    by Amy Sumner | Friday, 24th February 2017

    In 2017 Wales is celebrating its epic past, present and future. 

    Yes, Wales is an ancient landscape, with thousands of years of history and myth. It’s a land of majestic mountains and mighty skies, fringed with an impressive coastline. But it’s also an epic land of thinking and high adventure. Everywhere you go, there are innovative ideas, in ancient places.


    Flashing at Gladstone's Library?!

    by Amy Sumner | Monday, 20th February 2017

    Worry not, there’s been no explosion of nudity in the Reading Rooms! But new security measures are in place. Read on as our Director of Collections and Research, Louisa Yates, explains…


    Recommend our meeting rooms to a friend!

    by Amy Sumner | Monday, 13th February 2017

    Here at Gladstone’s Library we’ve a definite spring in our step. Spring is just around the corner and in the spirit of new life, we want to welcome to the building users who have never used us before, or who may have been away for a little while.



      Mother's Day at Gladstone's Library

      by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 31st January 2017

      Calling all women!

      Here at the Library we want to say thank you to mums everywhere on this special day for all of the love and the care invested in us. Even if sometimes we’re a little troublesome, you support us and we love you!