The Brassey Institute, a library lives on… #Brassey #library #Victorians #history #books #culture #Hastings #art

This fine, extensively and carefully restored Victorian building, The Brassey Institute (see photo) is the Hastings local library and has just newly re-opened. It stands in the Bohemian quarter of Hastings, in the so-called area, America Ground, 5 minutes from the award-winning new Hastings Pier, beside record and music stores – Hastings loves its music scene too.

It was designed as a multi-purpose building (built 1878-81) for Thomas Brassey, a hugely wealthy railways man. As well as accommodation and private suites for himself, there was a Lecture Hall, Library, Museum and a School Of Art and Science.

In 1888 Mr Brassey presented the building to the town of Hastings.

Today, in 2018, 130 extraordinary years later, the Brassey Institute is a 21st century clean, interactive Library and has just accepted my first book,

‘The Case Of Aleister Stratton’ by K.G.V. Barnwell onto its beaming shelves.

Once again Hastings has battled to preserve its heritage and I am proud to be a part of its literature section and to entertain and enthral the next keen readers who come through its doors.

The mosaics above the entrance hall depict The Battle Of Hastings and the iron gates at the front are purportedly from St Paul’s Cathedral. There is history and culture all around. This library, from the history books, now lives on…

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Grappling for grapes#poetry #life #autumn #travel

“On this day, one like no other normal day, there appeared out of the sea-blue sky, as if hung by puppet-strings from a god’s great height, swathes of sweet, bulbous grapes; soured green, swollen and plentiful. If I were but 2 feet taller, I might reach up and pluck the wholesome pipped and bulging berries, and squeeze their juices into a rich, fruity, intoxicating wine to warm the senses, the soul and all its sensibilities.

At first, a jovial disposition of happiness, gaiety and bacchanalian revels and then a stupor of quiet drowsiness.  

Alas, it is only their flayed leaves and tight plump bunches, dotting and dappling the stone in shady softness, that soothe and comfort my rest; whilst the heady heat of sun catches the quench of thirst upon my tongue, to leave me only contemplating such ripe gifts of fancy.

So near yet so far, for a mortal such as I!”



Unreachable Earthly Things for which we require wings,

Grappling for grapes, while the gods gaze and sing.

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‘Earth has not anything to show more fair’ #London #poetry #quotes #art

On the 3rd September 1802 William Wordsworth, aged 32 years, completed his sonnet ‘Composed upon Westminster Bridge.’

The double meaning of composed is particularly poignant.
Composed as a verb means to make up, to put together, to form and to construct…
Wordsworth has ‘fashioned’ this poem upon Westminster Bridge.
Composed the adjective means serene, relaxed, poised, tranquil and sedate…
Wordsworth is ‘calm’ upon Westminster Bridge.

It’s an incredibly evocative poem, deep, beautiful, fulfilling, tender and expansive…capturing emotion, sensation, imagery and creative description.

‘Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty…’ WW

Let us also not forget Dorothy, the diary-keeping sister of Wordsworth, who wrote a very vivid journal (The Grasmere Journal) and from which he would have found an extra source of stimulation. She scribbled these notes as the Dover coach pulled out at Charing Cross…

“The houses were not overhung by their cloud of smoke and they were spread out endlessly, yet the sun shone so brightly with such pure light that there was even something like the purity of one of nature’s own good spectacles.” DW

The last three lines of the sonnet read:

‘The river glideth at its own sweet will:
Dear God! The very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!’

Picture: The Thames below Westminster, 1871 by Claude Monet