We have Mark Truman here with us again this week, so we decided to crack on with sprucing up the library, which will eventually (hopefully) be the room that we get licensed for weddings. Thirty years ago or so it was full to bursting with beautiful old leather bound books, but my great uncle William had a big house sale before he moved away from Court Lodge, and sadly all the books in the library were sold as a job lot in this sale. Even more sadly, they were sold for just 800 pounds!! Anyhow, when we moved to Court Lodge when I was 12, there were no books, so my parents took most of the shelves out and stored them in the strong room. They gradually acquired books to fill the shelves, but also hung pictures in the spaces which used to have shelves.
A couple of months ago a good friend (thanks Vicky!) donated all the books from her late father’s flat to us to help us begin to restore the contents of the library. Today we decided to make a start on putting the shelves back up and filling them with these books. Like many jobs at Court Lodge, it turned out to be more complicated than we had anticipated.
The shelves are beautifully made, with leather scallopped trim on the edges, but in most cases this had deteriorated quite badly with age. The fixings were made of brass, but far from being mass produced items, each identical to the next, they turned out to be individually hand-made. Beautiful craftsmanship, but an absolute nightmare to put together, as each fixing would only fit into one casing. Add to this the fact that all the shelves were slightly different sizes, so that each shelf would only fit in one bookcase, and you had the makings of a really complex jigsaw puzzle worthy of a mensa exam! It certainly kept Ian and Mark busy all day.
The end result though looks fantastic! We haven’t filled all the spaces for books, but thanks to Vicky’s donations of books from her parents (many of which are in Swedish!!), the libary is beginning to look more like a library again.
On the subject of restoring the library, Ian came across a bookplate on ebay a while ago that originated from a book in our library from the days of my great great grandfather William Courtenay Morland. It had his signature on it! We were happy to be able to tell the seller of this item that it was being restored to the library that it originally came from.
The next stage in the renovation is to paint the walls, and I picked up some test pots of heritage paints today, so we’ll see how they look tomorrow. One of them is called Swedish White, which I thought was apt given the swedish books that now adorn the library! Before long the library will be given the boost that it needs. Watch this space for more pictures.