Monday 31 October 2011

A bewitching sight

A Happy Halloween to all our readers! May you ward off all the ghoulies and ghosties who beat a path to your door and enjoy a trouble-free time in the months ahead.

These young ladies certainly present a frightening sight, although their clean white aprons and neatly brushed hair give a suggestion that things may not be quite as ghoulishly repulsive as they would have us believe. The six friends are taking part in the Worsley Pageant of 1914, held in the grounds of Worsley Hall.

Friday 28 October 2011

Alain Chartier

An exquisite manuscript of the poetry of Alain Chartier is this week's offering in our 101 Treasures series. For a closer look at the extraordinarily beautiful and imaginative decorative motifs, follow the link to read more.

Wednesday 26 October 2011

The Glamour of Manchester

Can there be any more unlikely title?

This little book published by the National Labour Press in 1920 makes a sterling effort to romanticise the history of the city, with gloriously cryptic chapter headings ranging from 'Dickens is inspired on oysters and champagne' and 'Ralph Waldo Emerson gives a party at Lower Broughton', to 'At Rochdale Lord Byron is very bored' and 'Charlotte Bronte has days of misery by Oxford Road'.

The book pulls no punches in the foreword, informing us brightly that 'In the winter mostly it will be raining ... [and] in summer the sun will shine with a frightful irony'. Warming to the theme, it asserts that 'with its Hulme and Ancoats and the clotted horror of Salford it will hold one as a dead man's eye...'

Not much of a start. But the author's obvious love for the city coupled with his dry wit proves surprisingly diverting, and as he sums up on the final page: 'I have written down my Manchester as I saw it. And seeing is often worse than believing'.

Friday 21 October 2011

Online exhibition now live!

We're very excited about our new online exhibition which goes live today! Don't worry if you couldn't make it to the Library to see our popular exhibition 'Who do you think they were: The story of a Manchester family' last year, because it's now on the website in its entirety and is well worth a look.

The Leech family of Manchester and Ashton wrote diaries and collected material about themselves and their family lives for nearly two hundred years. The extraordinary archive resulting from this activity is now held at the Library, and the exhibition introduces the main characters and offers a look at some of the highlights of the collection. Check it out here.

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Now you see it... you don't. Discover the hidden secret of this apparently unassuming little book on our 101 Treasures page this week.

Wednesday 12 October 2011

What on earth was he on about?

A close-up of the writing of Richard Kuerden (1623-90?) from his manuscript notes for A History of Lancashire, surely a strong contender for the worst handwriting ever... Read more about the manuscript on the 101 Treasures pages here.

Thursday 6 October 2011

Karl Marx at Chetham's

Visitors to the Library frequently ask to see the famous desk in the Reading Room where Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels studied together, and you can find out more about this hallowed spot on this week's 101 Treasures page.

Monday 3 October 2011

Little Lamb who ate thee?

If you have any interest at all in the teachings of Emmanuel Swedenborg, vegetarianism, the history of the Salford Bible Christians, or amusing hymns about roast lamb, then make your way immediately to the newly created Carcanet Blog, where Librarian Michael Powell has guest-written a post about this very subject...