Spotlight on: Bromley House Library
Tucked away amongst the more modern buildings on Long Row in Nottingham City Centre is Bromley House Library. It is not until you enter the front doors of the 250 year old building that you can fully appreciate and be amazed by many of its original Georgian features.
The library itself has been in operation since 1816 and moved to the Bromley House premises in 1822. The building was formerly built and owned by the Smith banking family in 1752 and many of its internal unique historical features can still be seen today.
Bromley House is in fact a subscription library, one of only 30 such libraries in the UK, but still opens to the public for various events and tours throughout the year. With 40,000 volumes on everything from fiction to theology to natural history to French literature, the earliest book in the collection is dated from the 16th century. Even though the library is privileged enough to own such rare, historical books, it is not a museum so everything is available for reading and looking at, but members are asked to handle with care.
The double height reading room features a decorative winding staircase and extended windows to help let in natural light. Further historic features, such as The Meridian Line which runs precisely North-East, tell an interesting story of how members used to witness a spot light of sunshine through the window onto the Meridian Line at solar noon in Nottingham, in order to work out the specific time of day.
It was thrilling to climb to the attics and be shown the site of the first photographic studio in the East Midlands, which was there in the 1840s. The room still holds nails and dolly pegs from the beams on the low ceiling that the photographers would have used to hang up their work to dry. Another special experience was walking through the back doors into the secret garden that is a paradise of flowers and a green grass area which members can take advantage of on a warm and sunny day.
It is in fact a very popular venue for group visits, and they welcome group sizes of between 10 and 20 people on regular set days. Bromley House plan to host a series of talks and events to commemorate the centenary of the Great War next year.