My Favourite History Place: Gladstone’s Library at Hawarden

Historian feature

Mary Feerick, last updated: 2nd January 2020

When I first visited Gladstone’s residential library in 1977 for a pre-university History degree reading week, I barely knew who Gladstone was. I had just come back from a holiday in Italy and the contrast between Florence and Hawarden, a Welsh border town, was startling. I came from the sunny remains of the Renaissance into this draughty but charming Gothic Revival library and fell in love with it. My first sight was of fellow students playing croquet on the lawn and of someone in monastic dress mending a dry stone wall. I felt I had stepped back in time. I spent a week going to lectures and tackling books on the reading list, sitting in the most amazing library I had ever seen...

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