CILIP's Library & Information History Group and the Historic Libraries Forum are delighted to announce a joint visit to Spalding Gentlemen's Society.
The Spalding Gentlemen’s Society (SGS) was founded in 1710 by Maurice Johnson II ‘The Antiquary’ (1688-1755) as a provincial counterpart to the Royal Society and Society of Antiquaries of London, and as a sociable meeting place for scholars of all disciplines. The members’ first project was to take charge of the Spalding parish library and the library of the grammar school, and to establish a library and archive of their own. On joining, members – who included William Stukeley, Sir Richard Ellys, Edward Harley, Alexander Pope and John Gay, as well as dozens of local doctors, lawyers, merchants and gentry – donated books to these libraries, and paid weekly subscriptions into a book fund. Their activities are recorded in meticulously detailed, heavily illustrated minute books and in thousands of letters and essays, all of which survive in the SGS’s archive. The current SGS museum was designed in 1911 as a series of readings rooms set in a cabinet of curiosities, an arrangement it retains to this day.
Members of HLF and LIHG are welcome to arrive any time after 2pm for a 2.30 start. Meet at the entrance to the SGS museum in Broad Street, PE11 1TB.
Regular trains serve Spalding from Peterborough and Lincoln. Parking is available 100m from the museum in the Herring Lane car park.
Booking is essential as spaces are limited
Dr Sophie Defrance
Publicity Officer - LIHG