Unusual workspaces 3: Sudbury

Temporary workspace at SudburyAs mentioned a few weeks ago, I started a project to catalogue children’s books at Sudbury’s Museum of Childhood. It’s been great fun so far and I’ll be showing some of the lovely books I found over the coming months. If you can’t wait, I’ve already uploaded some pictures on Facebook. The view from what was my workspace initially wasn’t brilliant, but I’ve since moved to a better (and more comfortable) location. 😉

Workspaces: Book cases with children's books at Sudbury Hall in DerbyshireThe first stage in the process was to reorganise these shelves on the right. Although there are some books on display in the museum itself, the majority of the collection is actually stored behind the scenes. These books have been moved around a little bit and the shelves needed some tidying up.

The book collection was brought together by the former Derbyshire Museum Service as part of the museum of childhood. I can’t help but wonder if Edgar Osborne (1890-1978), county librarian until 1954, had anything to do with it. He was a prolific collector of children’s books and donated his collection to Toronto Public Library in 1949.

In the 1990s, the National Trust took over the whole collection, including the books. Donations from private individuals have since been added. This means that many books show signs of heavy use, which makes the collection such fun to catalogue.

What surprised me about these books is the number of items from the mid to late nineteenth century it contains, including some picture books. Walter Crane, Kate Greenway and Randolph Caldecott appear in first editions. Having said that, there are also some obvious gaps. I’ve not found any Roald Dahl or Rosemary Sutcliff titles, for example.

Then again, I’m only at the beginning of the story. Who knows what may turn up yet?

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