Gaskell House Blogs

Book Cleaning

24th August 2017
in blog

Some of you may have noticed the images we’ve been sharing on social media during our recent annual book clean of the books in William Gaskell’s Study following a training session we held for volunteers earlier in the summer. Chris Bamber, one of our amazing volunteers, has been part of this fascinating process and he has shared some of his thoughts below.

Thoughts whilst book cleaning

For many of us volunteers Mr. Gaskell’s study is a favourite.  It’s tantalising of course to compare the volumes collected so painstakingly with the original library that was lost; but still a great pleasure to handle, admire and clean such an interesting collection.

What makes the task even more pleasant is the opportunity to get to know fellow volunteers who one doesn’t ordinarily get to see, as we gently wield our shaving brushes and talk – mainly about books of course.  And I have to mention the indefatigable Liz, who as well as getting together the paraphernalia we use, then has to edit the gnomic utterances we make on the condition of each volume.  This is necessary to monitor the continuing health of the collection as it is maintained in the future – but it must be quite a job to make consistent the differing styles of so many people.

It’s great fun, if a bit grubby sometimes, and I’m grateful for the training we had which now means I can name several parts of a book that I didn’t previously know had names – so, educational as well!

Chris Bamber

A Large Cheerful, airy house, quite out of Manchester smoke.

Charlotte Brontë on visiting the House, 1851