Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Something About Bristol’s Old Library

We’re booked.

After mentioning Cotham Gardens and David Morris, I started to wonder what other things Johnny, Fergie, and Professor Childermass would have seen on their visit to Bristol. We know they saw the big three Cs: Cabot Tower, the Clifton Suspension Bridge, and the Christmas Steps. Do Bristol residents call these the 3-Cs?

The city's Old Library seems the sort of place they would have at least and seen and, in a longer and more detailed version of The Secret of the Underground Room (1990), for all we know the trio may have had a need to visit this spot. But of course, it's not a library. It's an old library.

The library is on King Street and had stood since 1740. Until 1906 it housed the main collections of Bristol's public library, which was one of the first in England when it was founded in 1613 on the same site. Private membership began in 1772 and it wasn't until 1856 when the library became free to the public. In 1906 the library moved to the newly built Bristol Central Library on College Green and this location eventually became - as I said – an old library.

At some point thereafter, it became a restaurant. But was it a restaurant when Johnny and the professor visited? Would they have eaten there?

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