July 2011 The Bideford Free Public Library and the librarian

(I came across this the other day in the North Devon Journal for 20th August 1891. We all know the present librarian is nothing like the one
described here – but when are we going to get real fires back into the building – I would love to be able to relax in front of one with a book
in hand! )

Peter Christie

Sir Would you kindly allow me to make a few remarks respecting the librarian? The library certainly is a great blessing to the town and neighbourhood of Bideford generally and to the working classes especially a great benefit

in that it has kept many of  our young men from those public houses and beer shops where a great deal of their time and money would be worse than thrown away. It certainly must be

very accommodating for  anyone, when time will

admit to go in and get the daily, current passing events of the political, literary or commercial world. And as a ratepayer I must cheerfully subscribe my proportionate share towards its support. But sir, while I am so taken up with the library, I  am sorry to say it is not so with the Librarian, for there are some things of which I have had reason to complain. If I am rightly informed, when anyone comes into the library and asks for a book or paper(if there) it is the place of the librarian to supply them with it;

also in the winter to get the rooms comfortably heated by fire. But Sir the way in which he discharges his duties amounts almost  to his being disagreeable. Some other persons having made similar complaints, I just mention one of the few of my own. Last winter I went into the

book-room just after lighting up, which I sometimes do, to get  a little historical,

scientific, geographical and other information. While sitting there with a book in my hand, (by the fire) the librarian in a most deliberate manner, poked out the fire. After that he went and pushed up the window to give free admission to the cold air. There was a very cold easterly wind blowing across the river at the time. A gentleman came in just after,  and feeling the wind so piercing went and pulled the sash down again. If the librarian is not removed, or an improvement made in this respect towards visitors to the library, I for one, shall protest against anything more being done towards the support of the Bideford Free Public Library

Yours respectfully

H Holloway

One Hundred years ago from the Bideford Gazette

King of Lundy

The venerable white bearded cleric, the Reverend HG Heaven in deciding to quit Lundy island for the mainland for health reasons, is leaving a cliff bound home where he has spent seventy three years of his life. His father, a West Indian planter,  purchased the island. With the exception of a disused lighthouse and the old keep the only building on the island was a straggling farm house. The long rule of this uncrowned king has been a wise one and has justified the old joke that  his people live in the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’


On Saturday evening three members of Bideford Swimming Club -Messrs Waldron,Yarnold and Babb attempted to swim from West Appledore to Bideford Bridge – a distance of 4 miles. Two completed the swim,  and the other, about three-quarters the distance.

Bideford Children’s Court

At this Court at Bideford a fourteen year old youth was fined one shilling (5p) costs for using obscene language in New Rd.

Gas Lighting

At Bideford Council Meeting the Mayor said he thought  the fixing of the gas lights in the town was going on satisfactorily. They were a great improvement and all would be in position by the


Mike Davy – Bideford Archives

This entry was posted in History and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.