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.