A director of the Mark Twain House and Museum in Connecticut has written to Brent Council in London, begging councillors to reconsider the decision to close Kensal Rise Library, which was opened by the famous American author 112 years ago.
The Mark Twain House is a Victorian Gothic mansion designed for the author by Edward Tuckerman Potter, where Twain lived with his wife and family between 1874 and 1891. Containing many original family furnishings, including Victorian dining chairs and pieces by Louis Comfort Tiffany, this is where Twain wrote famous books like Huckleberry Finn and The Prince and the Pauper. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962.
Twain made several visits to England. In 1900 he was present at the opening of Kensal Rise Library, which he described as “mental food” for the community in his dedication. However, the blue plaque celebrating this has now been removed, along with the books – the library having been closed due to lack of funding.
The decision has caused outrage in the local community, with literary celebrities like Philip Pullman and Zadie Smith campaigning to keep the library open. Now, they’ve been joined by Jacques Lamarre, director of communications for the Mark Twain Museum. He has written to the culture minister, culture secretary and the leader of Brent Council – so far without success.
Despite the library closures, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a healthy helping of Twain’s mental food at home. You can find good quality antique bookcases in Lancashire by visiting a local antique dealer, who may also point you in the direction of some classic first editions.
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