The black Library

  • 12 Oct 2011
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Mrs. Sherwood, the writer of childrens books, who died at Britannia Square in 1851, was the daughter of the Rev. George Butt, Rector of Stanford and Vicar of Clifton-on-Teme from 1771 onwards. When she was only seven, an event occurred which left an abiding memeory with her. Many years later she described it :-

'About the same time an event to me of vast delight and importance, occurred. This was the sale of the old Library which belonged to Mr. Walsh of Abberley Lodge. Such was the illiterate turn of my age in my youth in that county, that few attended this sale, and none of the old books were bid for. To look at the externals of these ancient tomes, they were not by any means inviting, yet they had a charm for my father, notwithstanding the blackness of their binding; he therefore bid for them, and as many as filled a wagon were knocked down to him for one guinea.
He came home all exultation - only one guinea for a wagon-load of books! But my mother, who loved neatness, was by no means so well pleased. My father's study was already littered enough, and what an importation of moths, dust and black calf-skin was this.! She meditated however, and a low room of considerable size, over a pantry and storeroom, was appointed by her for this accession of literature; at the same time a wagon and team was sent off to bring the purchases home. This little room was henceforth called the 'Black Library'. and there my father received his treasures, and here I was permitted to go every day to help him rummage and sort his books.