We always look forward to the Christmas decorations going up here at Bury Libraries! And Library Staff have really made this year’s display look especially festive by creating strings of beautifully crafted snowflakes to drape across the Children’s library; lovely twinkly lights, a Christmas tree and Santa’s little helpers have transformed the space into something quite delightful. Why not come along to our Winter Wonderland where you can choose a book to read over the Christmas holidays?!
Chiming nicely with the festivities in the library, Archives have another treat in store for our customers! Right next to the Christmas tree in the Search Room we have our newly installed Christmas Display cabinet which contains … wait for it … the genuine signature of Mr Charles Dickens!! This is held within a Victorian autograph book which forms part of our Hutchinson collection. Dickens just loved performing and regularly journeyed throughout Britain and beyond on reading tours in which he would read sections of his writings to what must have been an enthralled audience. Presumably, it was from one of these Readings where the signature was obtained.
Published in 1843, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol became an instant bestseller and sold 6,000 copies on Christmas Day 1843. It would certainly have been a favourite amongst the many people who attended Dickens’ Reading Performances. Sadly (for me anyway who reads the novel every year!) the quote accompanying Dickens’ signature and photograph is not from A Christmas Carol but from The Old Curiosity Shop. Some may be moved by the lines quoted, others may think they are overly sentimental but we are absolutely thrilled to have on view the ‘death of little Nell’ written so beautifully by the hand of the great author himself!