I recently satisfied a long-nursed curiosity by visiting Long Eaton. I don’t know about you, but I find that, if I hear an announcement about where a stopping train is going to stop often enough, I develop a growing urge to visit that place : I hear about Long Eaton several times a day – “Passengers for Langley Mill, Alfreton, Long Eaton and Derby change at Beeston …”.
I wasn’t there for very long (I managed to combine this trip with a visit to that other faraway place with a strange-sounding name East Midlands Parkway) but long enough to get the gist of the place, as it were.
The main thing to note about Long Eaton is that it is very long. One very long road running alongside a canal with houses strung out alongside it. The walk from the station to the centre of town took about half an hour, but, by happy chance, it took me past what I think it’s safe to assume is the town’s Jewel in the Crown.
I’m pleased to say that it’s the Library. Just look at this –
Pax and Lux – not, as you might think, advertisements for stuffing and beauty soap, but Peace and Light – and I think that all of us, in these oafishly disagreeable times, and not just the good folk of Long Eaton, could do with a stiff dose of both.
The interior lives up to the promise of the entrance with this stained glass window, apparently the work of one Andrew Stoddart of Nottingham (not the cricketer of the same name), depicting four muses of literature, poetry, music and painting –
and I was particularly taken with this, which is almost a quotation from Sir Francis Bacon (“Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.”)
I think, if I were in charge of the internet, I would make it compulsory to display this at the top of every blog, forum and website in the land (or perhaps only the Guardian’s Comment is Free).
The Library is a Grade II listed building, and a more technical description (“The pediment has small dentillations and a mosaiced tympanum“, apparently) may be found here.
16 thoughts on “Peace And Light In Long Eaton”
Thanks for bringing this remarkable library to wider attention.
I regularly visit the Midlands but Long Eaton just never seemed like the sort of place that would have much about it.
How wrong I was.
I often find that if you turn up in one of these places on spec you come across something like this. Beeston next, perhaps.
Oh that is really lovely. Especially the mosaiced tympanum (I knew that word before I read your blog, of course).
Must say I thought it was some kind of musical instrument. Delighted to hear from you, by the way. I don’t know Clarendon Park at all well (apart from going through it on the bus from Harborough) but clearly must make the effort to explore.
What a fantastic find.
I thought so. It’s always particularly good to come across something like this unexpectedly. Hope you’re feeling better, by the way. Sounds like you’ve been having a rough time of it lately.
Thanks, old chap. Have just come back from a restorative trip to London where the medicinal effects of Sloe Gin & Champagne have worked their magic. Old country remedies eh? Can’t beat’em.
Stunning – thank you for posting this. The combination of Art Nouveau imagery and uplifting words reminds me of the design of the early books in the Everyman’s Library series, which must have been coming out at around the same time that this place was built.
I see what you mean – “A good book is the precious life-blood of a master-spirit” and so on. I do rather mourn the loss of that spirit in our libraries and elsewhere. Very pleased to hear from you, by the way, though I’m afraid my writing about buildings is a lot less well-informed than yours.
Shocking long is Long Eaton; once had a job interview and arrived in the station thinking a small town can’t take more than 40 mins to cross. But it certainly can, arrived sweating (it was December), out of breath (having ran the last half mile or so) 30secs late. Got the job and have never been back. If I had known I would have visited the library on way back to station. Oh well, next time
I suppose the clue is, as they say, in the name. I usually used to go to the other extreme with job interviews and arrive far too early, but then I didn’t often get the job. Perhaps I should have tried your approach.
Hello. Thank you so much for such a wonderful blog on your brief but seemingly pleasing visit to our town.
The library certainly is one of our crown jewels!
We do hope that you return to see some of our other crowning jewels!
Thanks very much, Marie. The library was wonderful, but I’m sure there’s much more to see if you know where to look and I look forward to returning one day to explore further.
Reblogged this on Deep Waters, Long Shadows and commented:
From December 2011.
Lovely to see an appreciation of this building. My better half does voluntary work here!
Thanks, Rob. It seems a very long time since I wrote this – glad to hear it’s still open!