Category: history

John Douglas – the man behind Gladstone’s Library

by Gladstones Library | Friday, 26th October 2018

Do you know the man behind the building of Gladstone’s Library? Possibly not. His name is John Douglas and he designed, during his life, more than 500 buildings. One of them was St Deiniol's Library, today known as Gladstone’s Library.

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

by Gladstones Library | 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.

A Gladstone’s mystery: solved

by Gladstones Library | Friday, 06th July 2018

Have you ever wondered what the above symbol is? We use it everywhere - on our website, on our social media, our merchandise, even our business cards – it has, in time, become the symbol for Gladstone’s Library. But what exactly is it a symbol for? Where does it come from and what does it mean?

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

by Gladstones Library | 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.

William Ewart Gladstone: From birth to death

by Gladstones Library | Friday, 18th May 2018

19th May 2018, marks the 120th anniversary of William Ewart Gladstone’s death. The use of the word ‘anniversary’ may seem too jolly for such a sombre event; William Gladstone’s life was extraordinary and in this post we shall celebrate it and the man behind the podium.

The Irish answer

by Gladstones Library | Tuesday, 01st May 2018

The items on show in our Display Cabinet this month have been curated by intern Alex Locke. Entitled ‘The Irish Answer’, the display concentrates on William Gladstone and Irish Home Rule, and shows not only the complexity of the issue, but the many different types of printed matter the subject generated. In this blog, Alex gives us more on one of the major political problems of the 19th Century… 

Your heritage our story: The History of North East Wales in 100 Objects

by Gladstones Library | Thursday, 26th April 2018

Gladstone’s Library is proud to have loaned items from its collections to the North East Wales Heritage Forum to contribute to their exhibition at Wrexham Museum. From the Mold cape to the Gop cairn, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Welsh bible translations, castles, collieries and six of the ‘Seven Wonders of Wales’, North East Wales has an incredibly rich history which deserves to be celebrated, conserved and promoted.

24th April: Genocide Day, Armenia

by Gladstones Library | Tuesday, 24th April 2018

1.5 million Armenians were killed (1915 – 1923) by the Ottoman Turks in what was the first genocide of the 20th Century. This followed the Armenian massacres of 1894 - 1896 and the Armenian Holocaust at Adana in 1909.

World Curlew Day: Books, birds, and St. Beuno

by Gladstones Library | Friday, 20th April 2018

21st April is World Curlew Day, the first annual international event with the aim of raising awareness of the Curlew, one of the most recognisable of wading birds (numenius arquata). According to the RSPB, there are 66,000 breeding pairs in the UK, with 140,000 individual curlews wintering on our shores and estuaries each year.

It’s bloomin’ spring!

by Gladstones Library | Wednesday, 11th April 2018

I've recently put together a display of books from our collection to illustrate the arrival of the new season - spring! This got me thinking about the meanings of the spring season itself.

Sir William Gladstone, 1925 - 2018

by Gladstones Library | Thursday, 05th April 2018

Here at the Library we mourn the death of Sir William Gladstone Bt, great-grandson of our founder, William Ewart Gladstone, and formerly our Chairman of Trustees. We also celebrate the long and fulfilled life of a person who contributed so much to the Library, as well as to his country and his county.

From the Archives…William Gladstone, patron of the arts

by Gladstones Library | Friday, 16th March 2018

William Ewart Gladstone, a lifelong student and scholar, is well known as a voracious reader and collector of books: Gladstone built up a remarkable personal library, reflecting the wide range of interests of a true Victorian polymath.

However, Gladstone is perhaps less well known for collecting paintings, sculpture, fine porcelain and ivories.

Writing the Revolution

by Gladstones Library | Friday, 23rd February 2018

In this blog, intern Alex Locke writes about our latest History Room display for the month of March. The display focuses on how our collections at Gladstone's Library – some on display for the first time – can help illustrate one of the most tumultuous events in Western history – the French Revolution. Read on to find out more about how the printed word played a part in this extraordinary event, and how its influence impacted Gladstone's time as much as our own... 

From the Archives…Dossie Drew

by Gladstones Library | Wednesday, 07th February 2018

Gladstone’s Library is delighted to introduce a new blog series entitled ‘From the Archives…’; a regular spotlight on some of the remarkable items we hold within our collections. The series will showcase a selection of our most weird, wonderful, and always fascinating holdings, so be sure to check back regularly for updates!

Inspirational books by inspirational women

by Administrator | Tuesday, 06th February 2018

On 6th February 1918 the Representation of the People Act was passed which allowed women over the age of 30 who met a property qualification to vote. This gave 8.5 million women the vote (though it is important to note that this only represented 40% of the total population of women in the UK and it wasn’t until ten years later that women achieved full equality in voting rights).

Wales' very own St. Valentine!

by Gladstones Library | Tuesday, 23rd January 2018

St. Dwynwen is Wales’ patron saint of love and Dydd Santes Dwynwen is the Welsh equivalent of St. Valentine’s Day. Dwynwen (meaning ‘she who lives a blessed life’) was a 4th / 5th-century princess and one of King Brychan Brycheiniog’s 24 daughters. 

The Great Rivalry, as told by Punch

by Gladstones Library | 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. 

Musical Mary Drew

by Gladstones Library | 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.

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

by Gladstones Library | 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).

Voting: A blog by Warden Peter Francis

by Gladstones Library | 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.

The Grand Old Man and his legacy

by Gladstones Library | Thursday, 17th December 2015

One of the most popular questions we're asked on our Glimpses is ‘did Gladstone live here?’ The answer is no, he didn’t. Sadly, although Gladstone worked so hard to leave his scholarly legacy behind, building his collection from the ground up and helping to design the very shelves within, Gladstone himself never walked through the Hogwarts-like library admiring the wood carving and the silence. That isn’t to say you can't sense his legacy though…

Hawarden: a history

by Gladstones Library | Wednesday, 16th December 2015

Have you ever wondered about the history of the little village that we’re nestled in? Well, we’ve been digging around to bring you some of the facts!

Founder's Day 2015 - watch the video

by Gladstones Library | Friday, 24th July 2015

Loyd Grossman takes the chair for our Annual Gladstone Lecture as our multi-talented panel discuss whether the Library currently demonstrates the same enthusiasm for spirituality, literary culture and political discourse as the Grand Old Man himself.

Our panellists answer the question 'Does the Library remain truly ‘Gladstonian’ today?

The Great War, Literature, and Us

by Gladstones Library | Tuesday, 05th August 2014

Greg Garrett, one of America's outstanding professors is one of our current guests at Gladstone's Library. Here he shares his thoughts on The Great War...

Founder's Day 2014

by Gladstones Library | Friday, 25th July 2014

Founder’s Day is one of the most prestigious dates in the Gladstone’s Library calendar.On July 7 members of the Gladstone family, Trustees, Fellows of the Library and their special gue

Who is Rumi by Muriel Maufroy

by Gladstones Library | Tuesday, 20th May 2014

Muriel Maufroy introduces you to Jalaluddin Rumi and explains why a thirteenth-century poet has been the bestselling american poet for two decades.

Understanding Gladstone by Kate Atkinson

by Gladstones Library | Thursday, 06th March 2014

Kate Atkinson, a work experience student at Gladstone's Library, writes about her time with us and about what she learned of the Grand Old Man during her time with us.

History Revisited by Muriel Maufroy

by Gladstones Library | Friday, 21st June 2013

To accept that our views on historical matters need examination and possibly re-evaluation is certainly a challenge, but a rewarding one. This is exactly what Fergus Nicolls book, Gladstone, Gordon an

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