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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.


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. 




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.



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.



NOT researching in Gladstone’s Library...

by Amy Sumner | Monday, 26th November 2018

You know that moment, when you really should be hard at work. When you really should be reading your way through a particularly dense chapter that is connected to the subject of your next book, with loads of footnotes and references which you have to laboriously work your way through, holding down the page number, consulting the back of the (heavy) book, with the name of the author, the publisher, the date of publication, and let’s face it, all the boring information you need. And your neck begins to ache, and you think you really must stretch your legs, at least stand up and take a turn along the shelves where the grass suddenly seems greener, and the books seem far more glamorous and fascinating. And so you do...


Tales of Wonder and timeless tales of horror...

by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 18th October 2018

The month of Halloween is in full flow; the nights draw closer, the mornings mistier, and that black cat at the end of the street grows ever more ominous each time you pass. So, as every fancy dress lover’s favourite day of the year looms over us like a pumpkin-shaped apparition, there has never been a more appropriate time to look into the spookier side of our collections here at Gladstone’s Library…


Edrychiad i fewn yr gasgliad Cymraeg / Looking into our Welsh collection

by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 25th September 2018

Although not Welsh himself, in 1894 William Ewart Gladstone decided to found his library across the Welsh border for good reason. The beautiful, remote countryside of Hawarden village, as well as nearby historic areas such as Ruthin and Mold, are steeped in culture and Welsh heritage. With an abundance of hills, forests and, of course, castles, as well as the mountain range of Snowdonia, Gladstone envisaged that rather than the congested streets of London, Liverpool or Manchester, North Wales would serve as the perfectly serene backdrop for his incredible legacy as well as provide the necessary air of tranquillity for study and contemplation.


Could you be our next Writer in Residence?

by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 04th January 2018

Gladstone’s Library is now open for submissions for its 2019 Writers in Residence programme, from which a selection of the best contemporary writers will be chosen to reside at the Library to focus on their current projects. 


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! 



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.




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.


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.




Reading Virginia Woolf’s Night and Day

by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 13th September 2016

Ask someone to name a Virginia Woolf novel and they may well mention To The Lighthouse or Mrs Dalloway. Night and Day, Woolf’s second novel published in 1919 – a copy of which can be found in the Annex – probably won’t come up in conversation unless you are talking to someone who is a dedicated Woolf reader. Night and Day isn’t what you might expect of her. Think of Woolf and the word experimental comes to mind. It’s also somewhat longer than some of her later novels. This is early Woolf, on the way to breaking with convention and doing things differently, but not there yet.


A book list with a difference

by Amy Sumner | Sunday, 17th July 2016

‘Books are a delightful society. If you go into a room filled with books, even without taking them down from their shelves they seem to speak to you, to welcome you.’

With the wisdom of William Gladstone ringing in our ears, we asked the ‘delightful society’ of Gladstone's Library staff to tell us about a book that they love.

A book-list with a difference.



Reading List: Politics of the Mid-Tudor Crisis

by Amy Sumner | Friday, 01st July 2016

A Reading List for Gladstone’s Library.

Bloody Mary, The Life of Mary Tudor - Carolly Erickson (1996)

This biography contains information not only on the early life and the short but ruthless reign of Mary I, but the political manoeuvring which took place after the death of Edward V on 16th July 1553, when, on his deathbed, he named Lady Jane Grey as his successor, despite his father’s Third Act of Succession. This left both of Henry VIII’s daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, without a legal claim.

The book details how Mary then raised an army to take the throne for herself and the turning of the Council of Lords on Jane and John Dudley.

*Available in Gladstone's Library at shelfmark M 27 M1 / 12


Reading List: European dictators of the 20th century

by Amy Sumner | Friday, 01st July 2016

A ‘dictator’ is defined as ‘a person exercising absolute power, especially a ruler who has absolute, unrestricted control in a government without hereditary succession’ (www.dictionary.com).

During the 20th century, Europe experienced some of the most manipulative and cunning dictators in history, including Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin. Below are a series of reading lists relating to this topic, to some of the most brutal dictators Europe has known.


A translation of Gladstone’s German annotations

by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 16th June 2016

William Ewart Gladstone, the founder of Gladstone's Library, was a diligent and intelligent man. Apart from being Britain’s longest serving Prime Minister to this day, he also managed to read 22,000 books and even found the time to annotate 11,000 of them. And not just in his native language, English; he also annotated his books in at least five other languages: Latin, Italian, Greek, French and German.




Friends priority booking for Gladfest 2016 open now!

by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 28th April 2016

The UK’s friendliest literary festival returns 2nd – 4th September 2016 and to all of our valued Friends, we’re offering first dibs on festival tickets and exclusive accommodation for our most popular event of the year, Gladfest, as a thank you for your generous support.


Turn to books for the perfect present this Christmas!

by Amy Sumner | Friday, 13th November 2015

Halloween is well and truly over, the embers of Bonfire Night have dwindled away and now that November is in full swing it’s time to start thinking about what you might like to buy your loved ones for Christmas. Unless you simply ask someone what they’d like, it can be very difficult to decide on the perfect gift. Of course, at Gladstone’s Library we suggest you can rarely go wrong with a good book!





Shortlist for our 2016 Writers in Residence programme announced

by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 09th July 2015

Gladstone’s Library has revealed the 10 books shortlisted for its successful Writers in Residence programme.

Now into its fifth year, the prize was established by Gladstone’s Library in association with Damian Barr (saloniere and author of Maggie and Me) to explore and define liberal values in the twenty-first century.

The shortlist is made up of novels, poetry and creative non-fiction that, in the eyes of the shortlisters, best represent some of the most creative writing in the world today.















Faithful Citizenship

by Amy Sumner | Friday, 13th April 2012

Todays post is courtesy of regular visitor to Gladstones Library, author Greg Garrett. His latest book on religion and politics, Faithful Citizenship, is out this week. It is dedicated to Gladstones L



Books and Food

by Amy Sumner | Monday, 30th January 2012

We have a number of new events starting at the Library in February that we hope you will all come and take part in.Starting on February 12th, we are introducing a traditional Sunday Carvery t

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