I finished a few small jobs today, such as collating some of the information I'm required to send to the centre for the people who will take over our jobs in April. I finished doing my monthly scan of some information resources to see if there's anything of interest to people interested in eye health. I discovered that one charity had, on the tenth of the month, declared that January will be National Disease-Name-Redacted Month. Since I only found this out today, there was little I could do to help them.
I found myself thinking about the buildings in which I've worked, and their environs. Bridget Cherry, who brought Pevsner¹ up to date, tells me that my current workplace was built in 1897-9; the King George V extension was added in 1933-5 and boasts a small sculpture by Eric Gill showing Christ healing the blind, once above the main entrance; the entrance has been moved so the scupture is now less obvious. Cherry also mentions some nursery rhyme tile pictures made for the Eye Hospital in High Holborn, which were moved to Moorfields when High Holborn closed in 1988, but I cannot trace where they are. My colleagues in the Joint Library will be able to tell me, I'm sure.
These things matter. I started my library career in the suburbs, in places which had no meaning except that one had to travel through them in order to leave London. I have been happiest working in beautiful locations. At the British Council from my office high in the Spring Gardens block, I looked over St James's Park and saw the IRA mortar attack on 10 Downing Street; at the RCVS I walked through the royal parks on the way to work and could wander over the river to the Museum of Garden History or Lambeth Palace or stay on the north bank of the Thames and visit the Tate of a lunchtime. Sussex University too, in a natural bowl in the downs, and with its stunning Basil Spence buildings, was beautiful.
So my final lesson for the young would-be librarian is simply this, work somewhere beautiful.
¹Cherry, Bridget and Pevsner, Nikolaus
The Buildings of England: London 4: North
London: Yale UP, 2002;