For those with a love of antique bookcases and a flair for writing, the Gladstone Library is requesting applications for its 2013 writers-in-residence course, in which four writers will be hand-picked to spend a month at Britain’s only residential and Prime Ministerial library.
The Gladstone Library was founded by William Ewart Gladstone in 1889. A true Victorian polymath, Gladstone amassed over 30,000 volumes at his home of Hawarden Castle, the 18th Century family seat where his descendants still live today. On selected days, the caste is open to the public, so they can view the famous study – his “Temple of Peace” – and see his Victorian oak pedestal desk and open bookcases for themselves.
As he got older, Gladstone decided to make his personal library available to others and, in 1889, set about constructing the “Tin Tabernacle”, a temporary structure which he filled with 32,000 books. When Gladstone died in 1898, a fund was launched to realise his dream of a permanent residential library. The result was an imposing Gothic Revival structure designed by John Douglas, which was officially opened in 1902. Lined with tall open bookcases and ecclesiastical fretwork, and furnished with plush Victorian library chairs and oak tables, the magnificent building now houses over 200,000 volumes, plus Gladstone’s own annotated books, manuscripts and correspondence.
While non-residents are welcome to visit at any time, you need to be a published author to earn a place on the writers-in-residence course. However, antique dealers in Preston have antique bookcases and Victorian oak pedestal desks for those inspired to create their own Temple of Peace.
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