Buxton’s New Library and Museum (1928)

Yesterday (16.9.1928) was another “red letter” day in the history of Buxton, when Sir William Boyd Dawkins M.A. D.Sc F.S.A. Hon. Professor of Geology and Paleontology in Victoria University, Manchester, who is 90 years of age, visited the town and officially opened the spacious and up-to-date new Municipal Library and Museum in the Peak Buildings on Terrace Road, in the presence of a large and distinguished company of scientists and literary men from the principal museums and libraries of the country.

The library contains reference, lending and juvenile departments, and the number of volumes totals approximately 12,000. All the departments are arranged on the “open access” system, which means that the borrowers are allowed direct access to the shelves, and the books are classified on the Dewey Decimal System, considered by the Library world to be the most satisfactory method of systematic book classification. The new general Reading-Room contains a good selection of London and provincial magazines and newspapers. A new reading-room for ladies has been provided. The ladies reading room, when open, will contain a selection of ladies’ periodicals and magazines.

The Buxton Public Library and Reading Room by Robert McLellan Sim, 1934. Collection of Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

The Buxton Public Library and Reading Room by Robert McLellan Sim, 1934. Collection of Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

There are altogether six rooms in the new buildings allocated to the Museum, three of which are entirely devoted to the remains of prehistoric men and animals discovered in the caves of Buxton and Peakland area, including the recent find at High Wheeldon, Earl Sterndale, which has now been definitely classified by the Manchester University as the remains of prehistoric animals.

Bear bone from Fox Hole Cave, High Wheeldon, Earl Sterndale, Derbyshire

Bear bone from Fox Hole Cave, High Wheeldon, Earl Sterndale, Derbyshire

Sir William Boyd Dawkins, in opening the Museum and Free Library, made a remarkable speech for a man of over 90 years of age. He spoke extempore for forty minutes or more, and his address was most interesting and instructive. He said he felt it a great honour to be called upon to mark this most important step towards the general progress and advancement to the general good of Buxton. He was very pleased to see among the friends who greeted him so many of the old corps who were working with him in days gone by in Buxton and the county, with the pick, axe and shovel, in trying to find out what they could of ancient man and beast in that part of the world. He particularly referred to the important cave discoveries of the late Mr. Micah Salt, and said in Buxton they had the seeds of a first-class museum which would grow into a most important institution.

This an abridged version of a newspaper article from the Buxton Herald 27.9.28. Thanks to CITL volunteer Dr. Brian Goodwin for finding it and supplying me with content for another blog. Brian is a fascinating man to share a desk with on Mondays. He digs out a lot of interesting oddities from the J.W. Jackson archive; everything from letters from Charles Darwin to old catalogues for incontinence pants.
Old museum advert

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