Shady Goings on in the Library
On the 25th of February more than ninety Proprietors and guests crowded the Athenaeum for the annual Library dinner, a black tie event that that attracts more and more people each year. After assembling in the Newsroom the guests moved upstairs to the luxurious dining room for a meal of butternut soup, roast lamb, broad beans, parsnips and roast potatoes followed by treacle tart and custard, coffee and mints.
The party returned to the Newsroom where in a talk by David Brazendale, Chairman of the Library, they learned of the difficulties in setting up the library in 1797 and of the problem of finding suitable people for a profession that was in its infancy. Their first appointment ran into problems when Mr. Gearing was found to be seeking consolation in the brandy bottle, his assistant stole from the Library and was put on trial, though the details of his offence and punishment cannot be traced, John Jones started the Athenaeum’s collection of pictures of the old Liverpool which provide a marvellous record of the 18th Century town while later in the Victorian period a man whose first experience was in the Athenaeum Library went on to create the famous library of the British Museum and its Circular Reading Room.
Development and innovation in our library continues especially after the receipt of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The catalogue and the new archive catalogue will soon be on-line for the interested researcher.