Library goals: Wimpole Hall


Last weekend was a depressing pit of Brexit misery (the least said the better as the wounds are still sore) but I have nice friends who handled the horror much better than I did (and still am). Seeing that I was at risk of spending the entire time glued to rolling news they suggested a day out at Wimpole Hall, an enormous stately home in the middle of the Cambridgeshire countryside. I have an Art Fund Pass – a gift from my former colleagues – so the promise of free entry to a National Trust property was guaranteed to raise me temporarily out of my despair (and we agreed not to talk about Farage for a whole day, which was just what I needed).

We had a long wander around the farm and the beautiful gardens before making our way across the park towards the house. It has vague literary connections because Elsie Bambridge, Rudyard Kipling’s daughter, lived here from the 1930s onwards and carried out enormous renovations. Of particular interest to me was the library, or libraries I should say, as there are two in connected rooms. I’m a sucker for cosy and well stocked library so this absolutely floated my boat:


You can blame the poor photograph on my having been jostled by tourists if you like…

I can only dream of one day having a library big enough to justify two (TWO!) sets of rolling ladders. Those things always remind me of the library/ballroom in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, which, I’m embarrassed to say, I still consider the pinnacle of both my romantic and my library ambitions. *Sigh*. I have to climb over the sofa to get to my books (or visit my parents-in-law who are storing several boxes full in their spare room) so all this makes me want to weep with envy.

Like most stately libraries, this one is stocked almost entirely with dusty leather bound tomes with long Latin titles. I wonder where the former owners used to keep their Jane Austens and their Ann Radcliffes? Did they have another library for non-academic works?



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