Gladstone’s Library, Hawarden, Wales

Inside Gladstone’s Library at Hawarden in Wales is very similar in feel to Sir Walter Scott’s library at his home in Abbotsford. Although that one is quite a bit older than Gladstone’s they both have a Gothic atmosphere.

The lower part is the Reading Room and that is where most of the non-theology books are shelved.

reading room lower floor

As you can imagine, with so many old books there’s that lovely scent that comes with them. Apparently the glue and leather of old bindings gives off a smell similar to vanilla as it ages, whatever it is it’s a pity they can’t bottle it.

Gladstone's cabinet and Reading Room windows

To get upstairs you have to go up a teeny weeny spiral staircase.
reading room lower stairs

The roof bones or trees if you prefer must have got damp at some point as in parts they are white with water damage. Not surprising given the building is over 100 years old. It costs £2,500 a week to keep the place standing so it’s no wonder that the costs are fairly steep for the accommodation.

Gladstone's Library, reading room ceiling supports

areading room book shelves
I’m well used to handling old books and being in amongst a lot of them, but it’s always a treat to be in their company.

And I was surprised to see a wee Mauchline (wood) covered book on the shelves, I think nowadays people usually put them in display cases, it was decorated with a fern design, very Victorian.
Gladstone's Library reading room Katrina

So there you have it – Gladstone’s Library, just over the Border into Wales, not far from Chester, and they seem to have a lot of events going on, although I suspect they’re mainly of the religious variety.

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