Open Day Triumph


On May 7 we held an Open Day, which we were required to do as a part of the response to the Heritage Lottery Grant.  The main focus was on the Library and the work going on there.  Our 150 visitors were given an introductory short talk on the origins of the Athenaeum and some were lucky enough to have Professor John Belchem tell of his research into the way in which Liverpool was at the centre of the emigrant trade in the Nineteenth Century.

After viewing the Newsroom the visitors went to  the Library, where the Archivist team had made an exciting display on the Nicholas Monsarrat collection and of some the material that they have discovered, which included Elizabethan Treasury receipts and the a sermon of Bishop Ridley, one of the Oxford Martyrs , a Nineteenth Century  a passport and many other fascinating  items.  Our NADFAS ladies staged a display of their conservation methods and techniques.  The onlookers were spellbound.

This was followed by a visit to the Committee Room where Joan and Vin wove their usual spells over the ‘Usual Suspects’.

The guests then had the option of ascending to the dining room for Coffee, tea and cakes which proved very popular.  On their way out of the building the visitors had the chance to buy some of our Athenaeum merchandise; the reproductions of the Map of Liverpool displayed on the table in the Newsroom were especially popular.

By 4pm the more than 30 Proprietors who had given up a Saturday for the benefit of the Institution were exhausted but   thought that the day had been well worthwhile.

Our thanks go to all Proprietors, Staff and Professionals who ensured the success of the day.


David Brazendale

Library Chairman

News from the Archive

We have been busy within the archives in the past couple of weeks culminating in the open day on Saturday. What a brilliant day!

In the lead up to the day we had many discussions on the amount and type of archives we should get out and how to display them. Luckily I had help from Steph and Jane. We settled on displaying the Nicholas Monsarrat Collection, including photographs and a film script from the film ‘The Cruel Sea’. We also displayed several items of memorabilia including his binoculars, typewriter, cigar case and manuscripts for several books.

Other archives on display included the passport from 1832, an early copy of Bishop Nicholas Ridley’s treatise, Miss Rich’s scrapbook of letters and autographs and our gruesome propaganda poster warning young women not to stray from the path of righteous and seemly behaviour.

One of our PEOs, John Corbett, spoke about the first Athenaeum minute book and those famous figures that were original members.

It seems the most popular item we had out for viewing was the little book entitled ‘A Topographical view of Liverpool’. This treasure was recently found and holds beautiful views of famous Liverpool Streets as they would have appeared in the early 1800s. We had it open to the page that showed the original Athenaeum building in Church Street along with St Peter’s Church and the Blue Coat school.

However, we were just a tiny part of the day’s activities. The ladies from NADFAS had a wonderful table demonstrating their techniques for the conservation of the Library’s books and explaining the tricks involved in producing natural adhesive. There were also tours around the building, talks in the Newsroom, the Librarians Joan and Vin in the committee room displaying the Library’s treasures, a Poet reciting his work, merchandise on sale and, of course, refreshments in the Dining room.

Thank you to Mr Brazendale and to the PEOs, John and Anna, for organising the event, and to everyone who helped and supported us on the day.