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June 2024 – Bromley House Library

Walk up Angel Row in Nottingham, past the Bell Inn from the Market Place. You probably won’t notice it, but between the Barnardo’s Charity Shop and Nandos there is a doorway, a door into the past.

The Society’s trip this year was a visit to the Bromley House Library, one of a handful of surviving subscription libraries, created long before council-run facilities came along.

The building was erected as a town house by George Smith, grandson of the man who set up Smith’s Bank, now part of the Nat West, in 1752. The Nottingham Subscription Library was established in 1816 and moved to the current premises in 1820. It is absolutely fascinating to have a look round, and contains a wealth of historic books. But it really is a “living” library; you can find this year’s bestsellers on its shelves, as well as a small children’s section.

Our group of 22 members and supporters were split into two groups, as space is at a premium inside. But perhaps the most surprising thing, bearing in mind that we were in the middle of the city, is that behind the house is a large open garden.

Our tour is finished, but Bromley House do offer public tours several times during the year, and a visit is strongly recommended.

If you would like to read more about the history of Bromley House there is an interesting on-line booklet published by them – click here to view this.