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The latest news and views from Gladstone's Library.

From the Archives...do you still send Christmas cards?

by Amy Sumner | Friday, 13th December 2019

Before the reign of Queen Victoria no one in Britain celebrated Christmas in the way we do today. There were no Christmas crackers, no one had heard of Santa Claus and no Christmas cards were sent. During the reign of Victoria, from 1837 onwards, the wealth of printing inventions and technologies of the industrial revolution meant that the face of Christmas changed forever.



Changes to bags in the Reading Rooms

by Amy Sumner | Friday, 29th November 2019

We have taken the decision that from January 2020, the size, type and number of bags which users can be bring into the Reading Rooms will be limited. Anyone working in the galleries will be limited to one laptop bag and one small rucksack or shoulderbag.


    Remembering John Moorman

    by Amy Sumner | Friday, 22nd November 2019

    John Moorman (1905 - 1989), Bishop of Ripon, was a leading authority on St Francis of Assisi and the history of the Franciscan Order. After his ordination in 1929, he was curate of Holbeck in Leeds before being appointed rector of Fallowfield in Manchester. During the Second World War, staying true to his pacifist beliefs, he worked as a farmhand in Wharfedale quite literally digging for victory. 


    Hearth 2020 tickets now onsale

    by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 20th November 2019

    We are delighted to announce the lineup for our 2020 Hearth festival which takes place on Saturday, 1st February in the cosy common room of our residential library. This intimate literary festival offers keen writers the opportunity to pick up hints and tips, and ask questions of published authors about their experiences. It also encourages anyone interested in the world of books to find out more about the writing and publishing process.


    My bleeding art by Suzannah Evans

    by Amy Sumner | Friday, 08th November 2019

    A couple of nights ago, at my Q&A event at the Library, an audience member asked a question along the lines of: If I cared about climate change, why wasn’t I writing political slogans instead of poems? A good question in these times of heightened worry for our world and our environment, and one that I answered briefly at the time, but which I think is very important to address more fully too. 


    How to read 22,000 books by Amber Massie-Blomfield

    by Amy Sumner | Friday, 08th November 2019

    William Gladstone (who lived until he was 88) read 22,000 books in his life. They like telling people this fact when they arrive at the Library, I suppose, because they like to see how their faces contort as they try to do the maths. Let me save you the trouble – it works out at around a book a day, for most of his adult life. 


    Invitation: Friends festive coffee morning

    by Amy Sumner | Friday, 08th November 2019

    As the year draws to a close here at Gladstone’s Library and we begin our Christmas celebrations, we’d like to take the opportunity to welcome our Friends to a festive coffee morning on Thursday, 5th December from 10.30am. Your support has been invaluable this year so why not take the opportunity to escape your Christmas errands and enjoy a morning retreat at the Library with tea, coffee and festive treats.


    Give the gift of Friendship this Christmas

    by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 22nd October 2019

    Introduce a Friend to the Gladstone’s Library family this Christmas and know that you are giving a gift which will make a difference and which will not sit, unused, on the shelf.




    Learning from failure by Emily Morris

    by Amy Sumner | Sunday, 20th October 2019

    Back on a sweltering day in August, I was cycling along the Welsh Road when I heard a thud and a dull skid. I stopped, turned around and saw that one of my overstuffed panniers had fallen off the back of my bike and bounced into the gutter. I wondered if I could hail a black cab, but I wasn't in Manchester anymore.


    Self care for writers by Suzannah Evans

    by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 17th October 2019

    It is undeniably brilliant to be a Poet in Residence here. Every day I get up and eat breakfast that someone else has cooked, leave the dishes and scuttle off to write in one of the most beautiful, wooden beamed, book-scented libraries I have ever been in. After lunch I take a walk around the village in one direction or another, and then come back to write more or read until dinner time.


    My bleeding art by Suzannah Evans

    by Amy Sumner | Friday, 11th October 2019

    A couple of nights ago, at my Q&A event at the Library, an audience member asked a question along the lines of: If I cared about climate change, why wasn’t I writing political slogans instead of poems? A good question in these times of heightened worry for our world and our environment, and one that I answered briefly at the time, but which I think is very important to address more fully too. 


    Digital relationships

    by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 08th October 2019

    Every few years, there is a gathering of a unique set of clans. In the UK, they are called ‘independent libraries’, while in the US they are ‘member libraries’; in Australia, they are ‘mechanics institutes’. All are libraries that make their own way in the world, with small budgets and even smaller staff numbers.


    Celebrating Libraries Week 7th - 12th October

    by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 08th October 2019

    Happy Libraries Week!

    From 7th to 11th October, libraries of all kinds across the country will be celebrating the valuable work we do and the valuable spaces and collections (and readers!) we look after.


      Get involved: Taste North East Wales

      by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 18th September 2019

      At Gladstone’s Library, we know Virginia Woolf’s quote, ‘one cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well’ to be true. 




        How to read 22,000 books by Amber Massie-Blomfield

        by Amy Sumner | Sunday, 01st September 2019

        William Gladstone (who lived until he was 88) read 22,000 books in his life. They like telling people this fact when they arrive at the Library, I suppose, because they like to see how their faces contort as they try to do the maths. Let me save you the trouble – it works out at around a book a day, for most of his adult life. 


        The great book exchange

        by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 28th August 2019

        Perhaps you have encountered ‘lending libraries’ in the far corners of the Hebrides or on the bays of Cornwall. These could take the guise of a box perched on somebody’s wall, a wheelbarrow sprouting copies of childhood classics or those big red boxes with well-worn coin inlets, repurposed for reading and the exchange of ideas.


          The importance of collecting

          by Amy Sumner | Monday, 29th July 2019

          In an age of single use and throw-away products, we can often find ourselves yearning for something with a sense of permanence. No sooner have we bought the newest, shiniest iPhone than Apple releases the newer, shinier version, rendering our new phone a technologically competent, but intrinsically second-best space-filler. The same is true of cars, of clothes, of practically everything manufactured these days. The only thing that seems not to fit this mould? Books.


          A summer reading list

          by Amy Sumner | Friday, 26th July 2019

          C.S. Lewis once said ‘You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.’ This is a maxim which suits our Library team very well indeed; there never seems to be enough tea, and in spite of working in a library with over 150,000 books and printed items, we seem to race through good books all too quickly!


          Fragmentary manuscripts

          by Amy Sumner | Friday, 19th July 2019

          We are very lucky here at Gladstone’s Library to have access to around 130,000 printed items in total, including around 6,500 books printed before 1800 and some as early as the 15th Century. The majority of these older books come from a very small proportion of our collections: either our pre-18th Century collection, the Bishop Moorman Franciscan collection, or the Glynne-Gladstone collection. Many of these older books are kept in our Closed Access rooms in order to keep them in the best condition possible – but as a result, regular visitors to the library might not be aware of what treasures lie behind closed doors!


          De-accessioning in Stephen Gladstone Hall

          by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 09th July 2019

          Gladstone’s Library is embarking on a 24-month deaccessioning project on a section of its collections. This is the first review of the Library’s collections since 2008-10. Collection use and user demographic has changed rapidly in the past five years and the Library now has collection use data which can help it make decisions.


          Muriel Maufroy: Community book stall

          by Amy Sumner | Friday, 05th July 2019

          As many of you will know a dear friend of Gladstone's Library, Muriel Maufroy, passed away in 2017. Muriel's family kindly deposited much of Muriel's personal library to us, and many of the volumes have now been added to our collections for the benefit of all.


          Gladstone’s Library as a flexible space

          by Amy Sumner | Friday, 28th June 2019

          We can be quite traditional here at Gladstone’s Library: the Reading Rooms are silent study areas; we don’t allow food near the books; and ‘No, we won’t let you take that rare and precious Gladstone Foundation Collection book home with you tonight, Sir - we are not a lending library!’ In other ways though, we like to think of ourselves as quite innovative.



            Accessing our online library catalogue – service update (w/c 24th June)

            by Amy Sumner | Monday, 24th June 2019

            Gladstone’s Library is currently undergoing an upgrade of its online catalogue, MainCAT, as well as the database of Gladstone’s books and annotations, GladCAT. Both catalogues may be unavailable at unscheduled times during the coming week while these upgrades take place. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused by this. 


              300 years of Welsh history: 1719, 1819 & 1919

              by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 19th June 2019

              Wales is a small country with a big presence. Integral to the history of the British Isles and attracting tourists from all around the world, it should be hard to overlook the history of Cymru, however it is often wholly conflated with that of neighbouring England to its disservice. Gladstone’s Library is an international institution, but we are very proud of our Welsh location that was decided by our founder, the former Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone, who was English but spent around 50 years with the Hawarden Estate as his family home.



                A day in the life of a Graduate Work Experience student

                by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 06th June 2019

                While it's totally cliché to say this, no two days are the same when it comes to being a Graduate Work Experience student (GWE) at Gladstone’s Library. However, the motions we go through are pretty similar, and always full of valuable experience!



                  Food for Thought closure - 30th June & 1st July

                  by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 29th May 2019

                  Please note that Food for Thought will be closed from the evening of Sunday, 30th June until 2pm on Monday, 1st July. No meals will be available during these times.


                    New for 1819! Books published 200 years ago…

                    by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 15th May 2019

                    At Gladstone’s Library we rotate our History Room display every month to focus on a different aspect of our collection. This month we’ve dug out some of our best examples of works published in 1819, exactly 200 years ago, to give you a taste of what people were reading during the Georgian Regency period of British history. 



                    The British Crime Writing Archive

                    by Amy Sumner | Friday, 03rd May 2019

                    Gladstone’s Library has, for three years, been home to the British Crime Writing Archive, made up of materials from the Crime Writers’ Association and The Detection Club. Martin Edwards, the Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association and the President of The Detection Club has worked closely with the Gladstone’s Library team to make the collections publically viewable here at the library.



                      Notice: May Bank Holidays

                      by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 30th April 2019

                      Please be advised that on the May Bank Holidays (Monday, 6th & Monday, 27th May) the Reading Rooms will be closed to all but residents and no Glimpses will be running.


                        On Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day

                        by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 23rd April 2019

                        On Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day our thoughts and prayers are with the Armenian people, both the diaspora and those living in Armenia today.

                          Gladstone and the Romantics: our new April display

                          by Amy Sumner | Friday, 05th April 2019

                          Today when we consider the word ‘romantic’ we think of love and sentimentality, but the term ‘Romanticism’ had a much broader meaning, historically. Romanticism was a period which spanned the late 18th and early 19th centuries, emerging as a response to the disillusionment with the Enlightenment values of reason and order in the aftermath of the French Revolution of 1789. It covered a range of developments in art, literature, music and philosophy and William Gladstone himself would have been witness to its peak during his lifetime.





                          Play time by Oliver Emanuel

                          by Amy Sumner | Monday, 18th March 2019

                          My two year old daughter has been with me at Gladstone’s for the past few days. Like any parent of a toddler will tell you, her desire for play is tireless. Tell me a story. Let’s go outside. Shall we dance? I’m a monster. Rrrr. There is seemingly no end to her enthusiasm and joy for making things up and mucking around.


                          Susanna Forrest on walking

                          by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 12th March 2019

                          After a certain age your body lets you know that sitting for hours at a desk requires a degree of physical fitness. Via carpal tunnel, twanging hamstrings or a classic 'bad back', you discover that you are not, in fact, capable of eight hours on what the Germans call your 'sitzfleisch' or 'seat meat'. 


                          Dragons at Gladstone’s Library!

                          by Amy Sumner | Monday, 11th March 2019

                          Here at Gladstone's Library we are preparing for dragons...

                          On Tuesday, 12th March Gladstone’s Library will play host to an evening with playwright and March Writer in Residence, Oliver Emanuel. Oliver will deliver a talk on the art of writing without words, something he achieved with his play Dragon, where a young boy grieving over the death of his mother struggles to find the words to express himself and instead finds solace in a 10-foot dragon.


                            W.E. Gladstone and nineteenth-century international law

                            by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 06th March 2019

                            This month’s display in our History Room focuses around William Gladstone and nineteenth-century international law. This is a large topic and this blog aims to add some extra details that unfortunately wouldn’t fit into the cabinet! 


                              Sophie Mackintosh on finding a routine

                              by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 06th March 2019

                              One of the most beneficial parts about coming to Gladstone’s is the opportunity to be far away from your usual daily routine. It’s amazing how much energy and brain-space is freed up when you take away so many parts of every day life - cooking, cleaning, commuting, and even having a television.



                              Sophie Mackintosh on making time to read

                              by Amy Sumner | Monday, 25th February 2019

                              Having never been a Writer in Residence before, I was extremely excited about the idea of getting an enormous amount of work done before having to head back to inconvenient ‘real life’. Write one book? The library is open from 9am to 10pm every day, after all - the problem will be writing too many books, if anything!


                              Tales of the supernatural: the library’s hidden creature features!

                              by Amy Sumner | Monday, 04th February 2019

                              At Gladstone’s Library we rotate our History Room display every month to focus on an aspect of Gladstone the man, or our extensive library catalogue. This February I decided to give some of our lesser-known collections a little TLC by presenting a display on 'Tales of the Supernatural: The Library’s Hidden Creature Features!' Additionally, to give you all some extra background on this exciting topic, I’m writing this blog for our website.



                              Mothering Sunday at Gladstone’s Library

                              by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 30th January 2019

                              Are you looking for that perfect spot for Sunday Lunch, or something a little lighter over the Mothering Sunday weekend? Look no further - Food for Thought has a whole weekend of dining planned for the occasion for families to enjoy tasty food in a relaxing setting.




                              Hearth 2019 lineup announced and tickets go onsale!

                              by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 08th January 2019

                              We are delighted to announce the names of the four writers appearing at Hearth festival on Saturday, 2nd February. 

                              The intimate writing festival hosted our cosy common room offers keen writers the opportunity to pick up hints and tips, and ask questions of published authors about their experiences. It also encourages any with an interest in the world of books to find out more about the writing and publishing process.