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Friday, 11 May 2012

Exquisite Library; the mac in the chair is mine

Wonderful library; the mac on the chair is mine...
Yesterday I went by train with my  friend Gillian to the exquisite Carnegie reference library in Middlebrough, which on May 2nd celebrated the centenary of its original building in 1912.

There is a good deal to celebrate: this building is the epitome of respect for the world of books and learning.. With it's fine architectuer, its wonderful wooodwork,  and its sweeping marble staircase it is a work of art in itself, open to all.

Part of the celebrations will be a Literary Festival taking place in June and July. I will be giving a one day workshop on the 16th June which will develop creative writing inspired by  the area's history.

Of course Middlesbrough has a lot of history - it was at the core of the 19th Century Industrial Revolution with its steelworking and ship building  and its emergence as a modern city full of the energetic  and inventive working and middle classes  with its view outwards to the wide world as an international  port.

So here we can find a glut of inspiration for the creative writer who will be encouraged to take an entriely personal interpretation of all  this .information.

Wonderful radiators
The object of our visit yesterday was to research materials which might inspire the writers in my workshop, It was only a start but we went away with:
  • An 18th Century Map of Middlebrough
  • River Tees 1938, River Tees 1906
  • Architectural plan of the transporter bridge,
  • History of passenger transport and othe aspects of Middlebrough
  • Extracts from two women's diaries from 1944 and 1886
  • Views of streets and markets between1870 and 1960)
  • 19th century streets and the people who live, loved and died there: - ironworker, mariner, blacksmith, joiner, driller, draper, craneman upholsterer, painter, drayman, rivetter, cartman, inkeeper, solicitor, beer retailer galvaniser soliciter, architent, timekeeper, ship steward, boilersmith, tea, merchant, tailor....
Next I will look for portraits and images of Middlebrough people of all types, classes, and modes of life.

So much story there for all of us

I am looking forward to the workshop which will focus on catching stories and narratives which will emerge when the writers add their contemporary life -experience to the history of this place.
It should be fun.

If you're in travelling distance of Middlebrough on 16th June you could join me in this advemture. Email  to check details.

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