The Gledhow Hall scrapbook

One fascinating item in our collections is a scrapbook put together by the matron at Gledhow Hall hospital during the First World War. Officially entitled ‘The Great European War’ the scrapbook consists of photographs, newscuttings, letters and ephemera relating to life in the hospital between 1915 and 1919.

VAD nurses and patients, July 17th 1915

VAD nurses and patients, July 17th 1915

Gledhow Hall at the time of the outbreak of the First World War was the home of Lord Airedale, Albert Ernest Kitson. In April 1915 he offered Gledhow Hall as a Voluntary Aid Detachment  (VAD) hospital. Edith Cliff, a cousin of Lord Airedale became the Commandant. The hospital opened on 22nd May 1915 managed by the Headingley Company of the St John Ambulance (Voluntary Aid Detachment) transferred from Cookridge Hospital. On this day the first 50 patients were transferred there from the 2nd Northern General Hospital, Becketts Park from which it was affiliated.

Edith Cliff with patients

Edith Cliff with patients

In addition to Miss Cliff the staff comprised Mrs Florence Kitson, Honorary Secretary, Miss K. Sykes , Quartermaster; and Dr Eustace Carter, Medical Officer. There were a further 12 VAD nurses who did the work of ward and surgery sisters, parlour maids and house maids, two trained sisters and 3 servants.

Needlecraft work produced by the patients

Needlecraft work produced by the patients

The rehabilitation of the soldiers and their welfare was paramount at Gledhow.  7 huts were established in the grounds for the worst cases with two beds in each hut and a radiator between. In making this provision it was noted in William Herbert Scott’s ‘Leeds in the great War’ Gledhow was ‘one of the first if not actually the pioneer, among VAD hospitals’ for this treatment.

Particular attention was paid to amusements and entertainments with the garage converted into a billiard room, silver cups were awarded for competitions by ward teams, there was also a cinematograph on site and a canteen furnished like a dainty café.  Sporting activities were encouraged with cricket, bowling and croquet available.  There was also considerable involvement in drama and concert performances both for the soldiers to enjoy and to be involved in as well as creative writing and poetry being encouraged..  A key feature was also the craft and needlework activities with belts covered with cross stitches with flags and regimental badges as well as elaborate pictures of animals and figures.

Soldiers posed in front of huts

An Arts Council funded project has been working on the scrapbook with different groups to get their reaction to it and to create a digital record.  The Leeds project is one of 10 national projects working to create a Digital War Memorial to commemorate the First World War on Historypin, this will be launched on 4th August.

On the staircase at Gledhow, Edith Cliff centre

On the staircase at Gledhow, Edith Cliff centre

The Gledhow scrapbook forms a central part of a new exhibition ‘Aspects and Images of Leeds in the Great War’ which runs from 28th July – 28th September 2014 in the Central Library, Arts Space, 1st Floor. You can also see images of the scrapbook on our Flickr  site.

Read More: Finding Hemingway

  • by Antony Ramm, Information and Research, Central Library

This is an entry in our Read More series. These are ‘long-form’ articles, where staff offer a curated and detailed look at areas of our book collections, usually based around a specific theme or subject. These posts aim to guide the interested reader through to those books that offer a more in-depth look at a topic, or which are classics in their field.

The 115th anniversary of American writer Ernest Hemingway falls on July the 21st. Born in 1899, Hemingway is remembered as one of the 20th-centuries most celebrated authors – as well as, perhaps, the author of his own celebrity. Most of Hemingway’s best known novels – The Sun Also Rises; A Farewell to Arms; For Whom the Bell Tolls – are available from various locations around our library service and can be reserved via our catalogue. However, anyone wanting to delve deeper into the life, times and work of the author should pay a visit to our Information and Research library, where a number of other fascinating texts can be found.

While Hemingway lived a rich and varied life – experiencing, as a combatant or as an observer, both World Wars – it is for his highly influential writing that he remains justifiably famous. His minimalist style – all staccato descriptive phrases and dry, slangy, dialogue – was rooted in his experience as a journalist. Readers can sample some of that work in the volume By-Line, a collection of newspaper articles spanning the 1920 to the 1950s. Hemingway’s technique was further refined through his voluminous short-story writing. Several collections of those short-stories are available in the Information and Research library, among them the best-known anthology, The 49 Stories – a volume which contains several stories later adapted by Hollywood, including the “The Killers” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”.

While his work was compared to an iceberg (because nine-tenths of what was important remained below the surface), his life was anything but. A larger-than-life figure, given to frequent bouts of drunkenness and loutish behaviour, Hemingway made an idol from a certain American masculinity, venerating action – usually in pursuit of sport, war, women or alcohol – as a mark of character. Titles that explore that life in more detail include biographies by Carlos Baker and Jeffrey Meyers, as well as an analytical study by Scott Donaldson. A familial perspective on the author’s life can be ascertained through My Brother, Ernest Hemingway (Leicester Hemingway) and How It Was by Mary Welsh Hemingway, his fourth and final wife. A selection of his letters – from 1917 to 1961 – can also be borrowed from the department. The excerpt below shows a letter written to the parents of his then-wife Pauline, one week after his birthday in 1939 (and making timely reference to the Tour De France!).

Excerpt from 'A Selection of his Letters'

Excerpt from ‘A Selection of his Letters’

Few other writers in the last century have so inextricably threaded their life through their fiction. For that reason – as well as its own intrinsic literary qualities – an exploration of Hemingway’s non-fiction is essential. To that end, the department holds an attractively-jacketed 1950s edition of Green Hills of Africa, his study of big game hunting (see image below); and The Dangerous Summer, a late-period collection of observations about Spain, as well as musings on the philosophy of bullfighting – which was really Hemingway’s philosophy of life.

1950s edition of 'Green Hills of Africa'

1950s edition of ‘Green Hills of Africa’

Several critical studies held by Information and Research explore the nature of the non-fiction in more detail, including Hemingway’s Art of Non-Fiction (Ronald Weber). The relationship between the non-fiction and the fiction is explicated in Hemingway’s First War: The Making of ‘A Farewell to Arms’, while Hemingway: The Critical Heritage is an indispensable anthology containing contemporary criticism from the earliest work to the posthumous publications.

An interesting article found during the course of researching this blog was a review of Hemingway’s two early short story collections – Three Stories and Ten Poems and In Our Time. This 1924 review was found in our archival holdings of The Dial – an influential literary magazine of the 1920s. The image below shows an excerpt from that review:

Review in 'The Dial'

Review in ‘The Dial’

This was written by Edmund Wilson, a hugely significant figure in 20th-century American letters. Wilson’s diaries contain numerous references to the literary circles he travelled in at the time, a grouping that included F.Scott Fitzgerald – and Hemingway himself. The infamously combustible relationship between Fitzgerald and Hemingway is entertainingly rattled through in Fitzgerald and Hemingway: A Dangerous Friendship (Matthew Bruccoli). The image below, taken from the fascinating book Hemingway’s Reading, 1910-1940: An Inventory, shows the notes Hemingway attached to his catalogue of Fitzgerald’s books; notes which show the complex mixture of admiration and competition that went someway to defining the friendship between these two seminal writers.

Note from Hemingway's Reading 1910-1940 : an Inventory

Note from Hemingway’s Reading 1910-1940 : an Inventory

Hemingway died in 1961, following a period of failing health brought on by two plane crashes in the 1950s. Among our journal archives we found several obituaries and tributes, with the image below showing part of the obituary from The Times (accessed using The Times Digital Archive, one of many online resources available through the library service).

Hemingway's Obituary from the Times

Hemingway’s Obituary from the Times

The titles listed here are all available to loan from the Information and Research library (with the exception of The Dial, which can be viewed by asking staff). Remember: you can also reserve any of these titles to be collected at your local library.

Read More: The First Historical Novel?

  • by Antony Ramm, Information and Research, Central Library

This is an entry in our Read More series. These are ‘long-form’ articles, where staff offer a curated and detailed look at areas of our book collections, usually based around a specific theme or subject. These posts aim to guide the interested reader through to those books that offer a more in-depth look at a topic, or which are classics in their field.

July the 7th marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Walter’s Scott’s novel Waverley. Set during the Jacobite uprising of 1745, the book soon became a popular favourite among European audiences and is often thought to be the first example of historical novel in Western literature. Initially publishing anonymously – not acknowledging authorship until 1827 – Scott went on to write a number of other novels on similar themes, all of which have been grouped together and named for that first in the series: the “Waverley novels”. This anniversary has sent us into the archives, stacks and holdings of our Information and Research department to search for other Walter Scott-related materials. Some of our most interesting finds are described below.

Of most immediate relevance, we can tell you that we hold a complete set of those “Waverley novels” in a handsomely-bound series from 1894 that is available for reference purposes (simply ask staff for access). Notable examples of Scott’s fiction that are available to loan include his Supernatural Short Stories, while a five-volume set of his poetry is also available for reference use.

Although primarily known for his fiction, Scott was also a prolific writer of non-fiction. One especially interesting volume held by the library is an 1826 first edition of Provincial Antiquities and Picturesque Scenery of Scotland, a folio-sized guide to locations of historic interest. Scott provided the written descriptions and artists – including J.M.W. Turner – illuminated those words with richly textured engravings.

Engraving by Turner of Edinburgh city centre, as seen from Calton Hill

Engraving by Turner of Edinburgh city centre, as seen from Calton Hill

The department also holds first-editions of his Tales from a Grandfather: Being Stories from The History of France [1831; in three volumes] and the intriguingly-titled Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft [also 1831].

Illustration from Scott’s Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft

Illustration from Scott’s Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft

All five-volumes of Scott’s biography of Napoleon Bonaparte can also to be found in our holdings, along with Napoleon the First: A Reply from the Count of St.Leu to ‘The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte’ by Sir Walter Scott. Continuing the Napoleon theme, the department also holds an 1816 first-edition of Scott’s Paul’s Letter to His Kinsfolk – a collection of the author’s impressions on his visit to Europe following the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Again, these volumes are available for reference use and can be requested from staff in the Information and Research library.

The spine of Scott’s Paul’s Letters to His Kinsfolk

The spine of Scott’s Paul’s Letters to His Kinsfolk

In a similar vein to his observations from the European continent, library users can also read Scott’s celebrated journals and his early letters. The letters are especially interesting as several volumes cover the very beginnings of his literary career, allowing the reader to trace the composition and publication of Waverley in the author’s own words.

Letter from Scott to his friend John B.S. Morritt, in which Scott explains some of his motivation for writing Waverley

Letter from Scott to his friend John B.S. Morritt, in which Scott explains some of his motivation for writing Waverley

Those wishing to further explore the life of this seminal figure would be well advised to search out one of the several biographies available to loan in the Information and Research library. Sir Walter Scott: The Great Unknown (Edgar Johnson) is a monumental two-volume work covering the author’s life in forensic detail. Arthur Melville Clark’s Sir Walter Scott: The Formative Years shows the importance of the first twenty years of Scott’s life on his writings, while Walter Scott and His World (David Daiches) sets Scott’s achievements into the wider context of the Enlightenment. A.N. Wilson’s The Laird of Abbotsford: A View of Walter Scott is a sympathetic analysis of the author’s work and life by a fellow novelist and biographer.

Once the novels have been read and the life explored, budding Scott aficionados can delve into a wide range of scholarship, criticism and analysis. Of particular note are Under Which King?: A Study of the Scottish Waverley Novels (Robert C.Gordon), The Author of Waverley: A Critical Study (D.D. Devlin) and The Language of Walter Scott: A Study of His Scottish and Period Language (Graham Tulloch). These titles are also available to loan, but for a full list of all the books related to Walter Scott that are available to loan from the Information and Research library, please see our catalogue. Remember: you can reserve any of these titles to be collected at your local library.

Mad about cycling!

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As Saturday 5th July 2014 sees the City of Leeds host Le Grand Départ, the start of the world famous Tour de France, we would like to highlight one of the many displays we have here at the Central Library to mark the occasion. Our collections in the Information and Research department include numerous items relating to cycling some from our special collections and some loanable.

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‘Personal best : the autobiography of Beryl Burton’ celebrates a Leeds lass unknown to many who is hailed as the greatest British female cyclist of all time. She won more than ninety domestic championships and seven world titles. She set numerous National records and in 1967 she pedalled 277.25 miles in 12 hours, famously overtaking Mike McNamara, her male rival, and giving him a liquorice allsort as she passed. She set a woman’s record for the twelve hour time trial which was not surpassed by a male rider until 1969.

Beryl was so highly thought of on the continent that it prompted a Frenchman to write that, ‘If Beryl Burton had been French, Joan of Arc would have to take second place!’

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John Ogilby’s survey

The first road maps to have been created in Britain are generally accepted to be those drawn by John Ogilby in the 1670s. These took the form of strip maps and were first published in his book, The Britannia Atlas in 1675 which set the standard for the road maps that followed. In the Leeds Central Library special collections we have a number of John Ogilby’s publications. The picture above is from ‘The Roads Through England Delineated, Or, Ogilby’s Survey’ which was printed at ‘The Black Horse in Cornhill London in 1759 Price 7 shillings and sixpence.’ It is the page that displays the strip map for, ‘The Road from York to Chester’ passing through Tadcaster, Thorner and Leeds. Other books of his that are displayed in the cabinet are ‘Britannia Depicta or Ogilby Improv’d’, a ‘Survey of the Roads’ printed in 1720, and two copies of his ‘Pocket Book of the Roads’, one printed in 1736, the other in 1745.

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Photo of Front Cover of Bicycling, 1874

First published in 1874 and reprinted in 1970, ‘Bicycling, 1874 : a Textbook for Early Riders’ contains the ‘Golden Rules for Bicycle Riders.’ Some of the more amusing rules include:

  • Never travel the long journey without having your drawers lined smoothly and carefully with chamois leather or buckskin.
  • Never ride in the early morning fasting; a little rum and milk with an egg beaten up is an excellent sustenance.
  • Never fail if you were in a strange country to ascertain the character of the roads from natives of the district before starting.
  • Never fail to give a wide berth to patchy places in a road.
  • Knickerbockers are the best nether garments to ride in, and modestly thick boots are better than thin ones.
  • Never fail, when resting on a journey, to place your machine beyond the reach of meddlesome hands.

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The book ‘Patents for Inventions, Abridgments of Specifications. Class 136, Velocipedes, 1855-1888’ is one of many books on patents and inventions held in the Leeds Central library. Although some of these books may not be borrowed they are all available for public consultation.

Patent office publications can often contain some highly amusing ideas that were, no doubt, taken by the inventor to be very serious indeed. The application submitted by Mr E. G. Bruton in 1879 for the patent for ‘Propelling Velocipedes’ as shown in the diagram above, had it been taken up, would have created a spectacle indeed as they all formed up on the Headrow for the Grand Départ. The idea of them struggling up the hills of the Yorkshire Dales National Park leaves one with the distinct impression that the green and yellow jerseys’ would have remained unclaimed on that day!

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Modern bicycle

There are fantastic illustrations of various bicycles including this ‘Modern bicycle’.More examples of cycling patents can be seen in the Art Space at the Leeds Central Library. This forms part of the Cycling Roots display. An exhibition displaying, amongst other things, photographs and information regarding ‘Cycling in the 50s from the Kirkgate Cycling Club’ and also the ‘West Riding Track League in Roundhay Park.’ The exhibition runs until 27th July.

All items in the display case are available either for loan or for viewing by calling into the Information and Research department on the second floor of the Leeds Central Library.