22 February 2013

Library in Red

This week has seen me dividing my time between interviewing new staff for the coming season and working on the new interpretation for Wray Castle. I've spent pretty much all week at the Castle, but you could be forgiven for not realising it was me as I was bundled into at least 5 layers, and was still frozen. I must've looked like a shivering clothes basket, but there you go.

The best thing about working from Wray this week has been watching the transformation of the Library.

Our plan is to recreate the spirit of the library using Beatrix Potter's painting of the room as our inspiration. Her painting was done in 1882 when she stayed there with her family on their annual break from London.
Beatrix Potter's painting of the library, courtesy of the V&A museum, London.

If you visited last year and are wondering what's happened to our popular bookshelf activity - we're keeping it going on the other side of the room. If you've no idea what I'm rambling about, this activitiy involved visitors writing the title of their favourite book straight on to the shelves painted on the walls - quote from one young boy last year 'Dad, you can even write on the walls!' (Dad's expression seemed to say that there was a bit of history behind that comment).

Most of the library work will be done after we've opened (23rd March), so when you visit you'll be able to see how we go about doing this sort of thing. But the walls needed preparing with the right base colour before we can move on - which is why we've done this bit of the work before we open. Our curators took paint scrapings from the room before we started and we've been able to match the colour exactly.

... you've missed a bit ...

It looks a bit orange on these photos, but I promise it looks exactly the right shade of deep red in the room itself.

 Even just this coat of paint has made such a difference to the room. It sets off the wood beautifully and feels like a cosy library should (in my imagination anyway). It really does feel like the spirit of the Dawson's library is being recreated after several other incarnations (as part of the Merchant Navy college, the Freshwater Biological Association, even as a Youth Hostel) . Can't wait to see it as it develops fully - if you can't come and see us, we'll keep you posted.

There's been loads of other developments at the Castle this week - fireplaces revealed, hidden trap doors located, parts of the original heating system found, not to mention the work outside on the road. Rose has been really excited about all the fab stuff happening so if you want to find out more, have a look at her blog at


It's definitely worth a look!

Until next time,