Wednesday, March 12, 2014

R.I.P. Tony Benn. x

Your Gentle (albeit ,Modest) Author was interviewed on English Telly on Saturday afternoon.......
trivia-junkies may wish to know that the opening sequence of this clip shows us  walking past Halifax Swimming Pool,where I had just come out  from a two hour sauna session.......... This is a Sepia Saturday post
"......They looked at a selection of material including letters and books belonging to John Dee, as well as the famous oval burn mark on the Audit Room table which is said to be the hoof print of the devil, conjured up one dark Manchester night by Dee's magic arts. ......." Chethams Library News
Outside The New Halifax  Central Library,1983
It's a sign of the times? They are knocking  down Halifax's main Library to build  a Primark
  Now given that over 200  UK libraries were closed down by The Tory government in 2012 alone   I suppose Halifax should be grateful for any replacement (albeit one the size of a broom cupboard).
I remember the current library being built.I took this infra-red photo of the fountains outside it sortly before its opening.
Why are all new buildings so antiseptic? {Like hospitals.....}.but at least this 1983 Halifax Library
 was much bigger the original one, which had been at Belle Vue (between Hanson Lane & Gibbet Street).itself a  rambling  old building with  grounds the size of several Rugby League pitches.
'like an old winter palace...
Such irony , that such opulence should be found   only a spit & a fart from The Gibbet Street Workhouse ...
.But that's another story......
After the original building burnt & was rebuilt in 1885 it was sold to the Halifax Corporation in 1892 and part of it was turned into the Library.
In 1892 a meteorological station was also incorperated .
In 1897 a Museum was  created in another part of the building.
In the Gardens, a tower and crenellated curtain wall was built.In 1953 (a year after I was born) an aviary was built in the gardens,
Personally,I remember the Belle Vue Library very well.IAs a child & young adult i visited often.It was there that both Enid Blyton & Jack Keroac talked to me.It was there I listened.
It had a certain smell.That musty/creaky smell that seems to be trapped in Posh old houses.I remember as a little child arriving at the front entrance and being greeted inside by Giant Stuffed Bears & other animals stood in glass cases.It was like they were stood guard at the bottom of an impressive Staircase (think : Scarlet O'Hara in a ballgown in 'Gone With The Wind'
 The (Halifax)staircase  would take you up to the library on the first floor.
I always got confused in my mind with this house & the one I saw on the Telly in "THE ADDAMS FAMILY".......anyway.........
After Halifax's Library moved away in 1983,the bulding & grounds were sold and used as a business HQ for local fat cat bissynessman.Currently,i understand there are plans to turn the former Ballroom into a venue for Muslim Weddings ( Gibbet Street is the center of our Muslim Community now).
Perhaps this is the reason I love all Libraries.Next to a good graveyard, there is no place better for conjured up Other Lives & different spirits....
Yes, Belle Vue had a rare Atmosphere.But a even rarer one  (And happily still with us) can be found at Chethams Library in Manchester A most magical place.It must be the oldest building in manchester?Right near Victoria Railway Station.Well worth a visit.No doubt the ghosts of Karl Marx and John Dee will entertain you!Just tell'em "Tony sent me"........
 

Good News ! Manchester Reference Library reopens on the 22nd of this month.Thanks to Andrew Simpson and his  Splendid Blog for the knowledge.
A photo I took of some books=in-chains  in Chethams Library.Here are some more I took in 2011

 

 
British Sea Power:Live at Westminster Reference Library ) [n.b.big march against the destruction of the NHS in Halifax on Saturday :I hope to add some image here on Saturday night:Stay Tuned!} Ironic.When I wrote the above post,I didnt know that today's March would end up outside the Library!The buildings you see here will all be knocked down in the next couple of years...

15 comments:

ScotSue said...

Thank you for giving us such a different perspective on this week's prompt. As a librarian (retired), I can identify with your sorrow at the loss of so many libraries. Your description made me think of the Central Library in Edinburgh with its imposing staircase up to the Reference Library, Arts & Music Depts. and downstairs to the Local Studies Edinburgh Room I used to love spending my Saturday mornings browsing there. Fortunately it is still in existence, but so many others are not so lucky.

Brett Payne said...

It's very sad that libraries will forever be the focus of dissent between those who read and those who don't see the need. Here it's a continual battle against councillors (presumably representing ratepayers) who vote to reduce expenditure on books, increase lending charges, cut staff, etc. etc. the list goes on .... and just makes me depressed to think about it.

Postcardy said...

They built a new library here about 10 years ago. I didn't think they needed a new one, but the new library is much nicer and is on the same site as the old one.

Wendy said...

OLD libraries are the best. I'm thinking about the one I used in college with its vaulted ceilings, huge tables and big heavy chairs. The smell of musty old paper back in the stacks where decades of periodicals were stored. The quiet. The echoes on marble floors. I understand how online subscriptions certainly level the research opportunities for students in smaller schools. The experience of being in an old library is unforgettable.

luvlinens said...

Great post and I enjoyed your photos.

Little Nell said...

Thanks Tony, I’ll leave the graveyards and take the libraries I think!

When will you join the ranks of those who have given up word verification? It’s almost eradicated amongst Sepians now.

Alex Daw said...

So of course I want to know why the books are in chains. Is it a metaphor or for real? So sorry to hear about your library. "It's all to cock" as someone said in a movie once.

Colleen G. Brown Pasquale said...

Libraries. I hope they never go away. Digital books are just not the same. I love finding old books & researching my ancestors in libraries.

genepenn said...

Interesting slant on today's theme, and I'm still a hard copy book reader, and use the local library a lot. But it is all automated now, I do miss the chit chat with the counter staff we used to have as you share views on what's good to read.

Jo Featherston said...

Sad how those libraries are closing down. I've visited the chained library in Hereford Cathedral once or twice, as we have relatives in that area.

Karen S. said...

I am so happy to report that they are building new or remodeling our libraries all around me. It's almost like each little community has to up the other with more things to excite people to come to their library! I just adore it!

Kristin said...

I hate to see the old buildings go ... schools, libraries.

Mike Brubaker said...

I suspect many of us blogger/writers value libraries more than others. Sadly the internet has replaced much of what a library does, but we still need to preserve the archives that are not available on the web. Thanks for the music too.

Rosie said...

We have a fairly new library too, but it doesn't keep good hours, usually closed when I have time off work.....

Tattered and Lost said...

I often think new buildings are lacking heart. Obviously they haven't been around long enough to take on the soul of the community, but they seem to start out as reflections of someones ego. They don't fit in with their surroundings and are constantly trying to scream "Look at me!! I'm as cold and heartless as the glass and steel you're looking at." I hope the new library does justice to what it holds.