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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.


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.


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.



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.



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.



Gray’s Anatomy: the alien world of the human body

by Amy Sumner | Friday, 08th June 2018

Upon hearing the phrase Gray’s Anatomy, images may come to mind of the popular American TV series set in a Seattle hospital; however a much different medium bears the origin of this name. Within William Gladstone's own collection there exists a 3rd edition copy of Gray’s Anatomy. Not as some might suspect, a novelised version of the TV series, but rather a complete 'descriptive and surgical' look at anatomy.



Gladstone's library of forking paths

by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 18th January 2018

In this blog, library intern Carla Manfredino considers the library used by one of her favourite writers, Argentine author and librarian Jorge Luis Borges, and asks how many of those books could be found on the shelves here in Hawarden... 



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.


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…


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.







Our New Additions

by Amy Sumner | Friday, 17th August 2012

The Library has added several books to its collection and is also now subscribing to four new periodicals: 'New Statesman', 'Spectator', 'Economist', and 'Prospect'.


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