Sunday, July 17, 2016

LIS 580 British Studies
The National Library of Scotland, The Edinburgh Central Library, and the University of Edinburgh
July 1, 2016

The National Library of Scotland
Before our tour of the Edinburgh Central Library we hung out at the National Library of Scotland. Here we toured the interactive state-of-the-art John Murray Exhibition. Some of us also got our Reader Card (thanks Cherie!).

The Edinburgh Central Library
Then we crossed the street to the Edinburgh Central Library. Our hostess and guide was Fiona Myles, Library Development Officer. 
The Central Library opened in 1890 as the first public library in the city. Funded by a Carnegie grant, Carnegie actually laid the founding stone of the French Renaissance style building. 

We began our tour in the B3 Level. This used to be the newspaper room. It is now the Edinburgh and Scottish History Collection.

The B1 level holds the Music Library and meeting rooms. It has an exhibition space that, at the time of our visit, contained an exhibition on WW1.

The University of Edinburgh New College Library

In the afternoon we went to the University of Edinburgh New College Library. Our guide was Sheila Dunn, Site & Services Supervisor.
This beautiful library was once a church. In the 1840's the Church of Scotland split. Those members of the new Free Church of Scotland had to start their own library. They built their library from membership donations, which meant that the collection holds a variety of books, not only theological works. New College merged with the Faculty of Divinity in 1935. This was after the reunification of the Church of Scotland. Joining the libraries meant that they had to to expand. They took this Free High Kirk Church building and designated it the new library.


LIS 580 British Studies
Durham Libraries
June 30, 2016

Bill Bryson Library
We began the morning at the Bill Bryson library talking Librarianship. Our host was the ever-engaging John Purcell and his colleague Richard Parish, Academic Librarian Liason.
The Bill Bryson Library is part of the Durham University Library System. Durham University has its roots in the monastic scholars that were centered at the Cathedral. Three Oxford Colleges were founded from this monastic tradition: University, Balliol, and Durham which later became Trinity. Henry VIII and Oliver Cromwell both tried to get an official charter for Durham University, but the Oxford/Cambridge monopoly prevailed. It was not until 1832 that Durham was granted the ability to form an official University by the king. It consistently ranks in the top five Universities of the UK. It follows the collegiate university model like its predecessors Oxford and Cambridge. The Bill Bryson Library is the main University library of Durham. Individual colleges have libraries, but they are not under Mr Purcell's supervision.

Richard Parish shows us the layout of the library.

Library as "third space" is an ideal that they are working towards in this academic facility. Study areas and meeting spaces are part of the development plans for Bill Bryson Library.

Study areas with plenty of electrical outlets are prime real estate. This wall of windows makes this an inviting place to come with a laptop.

Palace Green Library

Next we were taken to the Palace Green Library. It is here that there are classrooms and exhibition spaces that enable the university to partner with the community. We were shown a 17th century carriage house that has been re-purposed as classroom for instruction of the national curriculum. Because these are historic buildings, every inch is used. There is an exhibition area dedicated to Battle of the Somme that has been carved out of what used to be a breezeway. 
The library was originally founded by Bishop Cosin in the 17th century. It is the first public lending library in England. Bishop Cosin was an Anglican Chaplain and courtier of Charles I. He traveled with Queen Henrietta Maria when she was in France during the Interregnum. It was here that he began to amass his collection. Because of this, there are French materials in the collection whose copies were destroyed during the French Revolution.

Ushaw College Library
We had a delicious lunch at Ushaw College, our final stop in Durham.

Ushaw College holds its roots in France. During the reign of Elizabeth I, who outlawed Catholicism in England, a college (Douai) was started in France to train priests to minister to English Catholics. The college thrived until the French Revolution when the lands and property of the school were confiscated. The repatriated school returned to the Durham area in 1794. In 1804 building began on Ushaw. The greater building project that is still in evidence today was began by Bishop Newsham c. 1837. It is a great example of Gothic architecture designed by the Pugins.

We were shown the beautiful ancient library by Johnathan Bush, Archivist.

LIS 580 British Studies
Durham Cathedral
June 29, 2016

Durham Cathedral
Today we traveled to Durham.
After we arrived and got settled into our dorms at Grey College, we went to Durham Cathedral and participated in Evensong. Durham Cathedral is the shrine to St. Cuthbert and a pilgrimage site. It is also classified as a World Heritage Site. Our Host was John Purcell and we had an incredible dinner at Durham Court Inn.

This is an amazing project that really made me smile.

LIS 580 British Studies
Oxford, Christ Church Library
June 28, 2016

Christ Church Library
Today we visited the Christ Church Library Special Collections. Our hostess was Dr. Cristina Neagu, Keeper of Special Collections.

Visually this Library is a Jewel-box. This building was built to house the library that was moved in in 1763. The wall bookcases are an early example.

This was Lewis Carroll's Office. He was an Assistant Librarian at Christ Church Library. 

This is the view from the office window. From here, he is said to have watched Alice Liddell the inspiration of the Alice of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

 This is the stairwell used in the first two Harry Potter films.

LIS580 British Studies
Bletchley Park
June 27, 2016

Bletchley Park
Today we toured Bletchley Park.

During WWII Bletchley Park was the epicenter of the codebreaking effort of the British and later Allied Forces. Housing the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), the job of Bletchley was to crack the Nazi codes and ciphers. 

Replica of the Enigma Machine

The Secret History of MI6 by Keith Jeffery

British Studies
The Globe Theater, The Millennium Bridge, Cleopatra's Needle, Westminster Abbey, and Harrods
June 26, 2016

The Globe Theatre

A funny thing happened on the way to the Globe. Veronica could not find the bus stop that Google maps said was right in our neighborhood and that would take us almost directly there (after a short walk from St. Paul's across the Millennium bridge). So we took the tube to London Bridge. It was cold and because of my faux pas we had already gotten our morning walk in so... wiser heads prevailed (Kim) and we took a cab from the station. Taken a London cab: CHECK!

The theater known as Shakespeare's Globe is actually a reproduction of the historic Globe. We visited the exhibition featuring Shakespeare's life as a playwright and performer. We took a guided tour and our guide gave us a historic and performer's perspective of the space. He also pointed out that the development of Shakespeare's writing was a function of the spaces were used for his performances. 

The Millennium Bridge
After the Globe, in a comedic reversal of the intended morning route, we walked the Millennium Bridge towards St. Paul's to the Blackfriar's Pub for lunch.

The Millennium Bridge has been featured in Guardians of the Galaxy and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. 
Cleopatra's Needle
After lunch, we took the tube to Cleopatra's Needle. Originally an obelisk build for Egyptian Pharaoh Thotmes III in 1460 BC and was transported to England from Alexandria (the city of Cleopatra). It was commissioned to commemorate the victory over Napoleon. Six men lost their lives in the transport of the monument and their names are inscribed on the base.

Westminster Abbey
Our next stop was Westminster Abbey. Sadly it was closed for Sunday services. The beautiful architecture was still amazing from the outside.

This ONLINE TOUR has done much to assuage my sadness that I was unable to tour it live. 

In order to squeeze the most out of the day, we went to Harrods

While most of their items were too rich for my blood, the souvenirs and foods were reasonable enough that I could get some.


British Studies
Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London
June 25, 2016

Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace

Kim and I went to the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. As we were approaching the Victoria Memorial a wonderful older gentleman stopped us. First he asked if we spoke English (fun!) and then he proceeded to tell us where the best vantage point was, and that we should go watch the band practice and go through inspection. So we did!

On our way to the Tower we had lunch at the Liberty Bounds

The Tower of London
After lunch we met up with Ariel and toured the Tower of London.

Our Beef-eater Tour was amazing and our Yeoman Warder Mark was very entertaining. Behind him is the Chapel, which we were unable to tour because there was a wedding that afternoon.

This is where they house the Royal Jewels. The exhibition was beautiful.

Two of the six tower ravens. Later on we saw another on the lawn.