The Chelsea Blog – April 2013

Chelsea Library
Chelsea Library

Hello from us all at Chelsea Library! Chelsea Children’s Library has been very busy as we ran a number of successful children’s events over the school holidays. This month we’re starting a new mini series on The Chelsea Blog – some interesting  facts about Chelsea Reference Library.

Children’s events

Our events this month tied in with the London wide Cityread London campaign. This year’s book is ‘A Week In December’ by Sebastian Faulks. We tailored our craft events to themes in the novel.

Chelsea Children's Library City Reads
A London Underground bookmark

For our first event we prepared materials with a London Underground and football theme. Boys and girls relished making their very own designed bookmarks.

A football bookmark
A football bookmark
Another football bookmark!
Another football bookmark

And as you can see the results were impressive! The children then gathered around for a Thomas the Tank engine story.

Easter crafts
Easter crafts

Our next event was on the lines of an Easter egg hunt only this time we used miniature chocolate footballs. First of all the children cut out a card template and then assembled with glue a little Easter basket . This was then filled with shredded paper to resemble straw.

An Easter bunny mask
An Easter bunny mask

We hid clues for the hunt  throughout the children’s library  and   excitedly the boys and girls went off in search of the chocolate balls. We then read ‘Football crazy’ by Colin  McNaughton.

Baby rhyme time was exciting this month as it had a London theme  too – we all sang:

  • London Bridge is falling down
  • Oranges and lemons
  • Pussy cat, pussy cat where have you been?
  • Do you know the muffin man?

Everyone joined in and promised to come to storytime the next day where we continued the London theme – we adapted ‘Puss in Boots’ and  to a London setting and the Marquis of Carabas became the Marquis of Sloane Square  and the river in the story changed to the Thames.

Details of when our children’s events are can be found on the ‘What’s on page’ on our website.

Rob Symmons

Lending Librarian

Great facts about Chelsea Reference Library

#1.The Fashion Collection

 Chelsea Reference Library has an extensive collection of fashion books as well as a large archive of fashion magazines dating back to 1924.

Traditional costume
Traditional costume

The book collection covers a wide range of subjects such as costume and fashion history, regional and national costumes, occupational attire, military uniforms and different types of accessories including jewellery, shoes, hats etcetera. Our fashion books are beautifully illustrated and have great content. The fashion and costume collection is widely used by students from Chelsea College of Art and Design based in Chelsea as well as other library users with a particular interest in fashion.

Vogue Magazine - January 2013
Vogue Magazine – January 2013

Our magazine archives include Vogue Magazine (1923 till present) Harper’s Bazaar (1950 till present, albeit with a small gap in the sequence) and L’Officiel (1947-2001). We also have a small collection of Manufacturing Clothier (1973-1988) and Vogue USA.

More information can be found on our costume collection web page.

The Chelsea Reference Library Staff

Easter – as reported in the Illustrated London News

In a previous blog post, one of our Triborough Reference Librarians, Debby Wale,  looked at how Valentine’s Day had been reported in The Illustrated London News. This time Debby looks at how Easter was reported in the same publication.

From 1842, The Illustrated London News became the world’s first fully illustrated weekly newspaper. It is a fascinating social record, providing a vivid picture of British and world events. We take it for granted now seeing news as it happens, with images beamed across the globe to our living rooms.

Below is the “Festival of Corpus Christi in Madrid.” Illustrated London News 3 April 1847

Festival of Corpus Christi in Madrid, 3 April 1847
Festival of Corpus Christi in Madrid, 3 April 1847

The Paso strictly speaking means the figure of the Saviour during his passion.

“These Pasos” says Mr Ford “are only brought out on grand occasions, principally during the Holy Week. The rest of the year they are stowed away in regular store-houses. The expense is very great, both in the construction and costume of the machinert, and in the number of persons employed in managing and attending the ceremonial. The French invasion. The progress of poverty, and the advance of intellect, have tended to reduce the number of Pasos, which amounted to more than fifty in Seville alone. Every parish has it’s own figure or group, which were paraded in the Holy Week; particular incidents of Our Saviour’s passion were represented by Companies, Brotherhoods, or guilds, and these took their name from the image or mystery which they upheld.”

However great the distress, Mr ford tells us that money is seldom wanting, for these ceremonies gratify many national peculiarities. First the show delights old and young, then it is an excuse for an holiday, for making most days in the week a Sunday, and for an exhibition of dress hallowed with a character of doing a religious duty. The members thus gratifying their personal vanity and love of parade, costume, and titles; and their tinsel, moreover, passes for a meritoroius act.

The name Corpus Christi is Latin for ‘the body of Christ’ and this festival is still enacted to the current time.

The language in The Illustrated London News is very much of it’s time – demonstrated perfectly in the piece below from the issue dated 19 April 1851:

Easter and the Great Exhibition

The Easter holidays will be this year supplied with an additional lion, in the mighty building in Hyde-Park; not, indeed, that the mass of holiday-makers can hope to penetrate the portals, to all but a favoured few as impregnable as the guarded gates of the citadel of Badajoz, or that they will have the wildest chance of even passing a glance into that interior in which the ingenuity and the skill of the world is now rearing the great industrial trophy of the age.

Sounds rather like trying to get a ticket for London 2012.…

The Great Exhibition Building, known as Crystal Palace.

The Great Exhibition Building in Hyde Park, sketched from Kensington Gardens Bridge
The Great Exhibition Building in Hyde Park, sketched from Kensington Gardens Bridge
The Great Exhibition - the last day of receiving goods
The Great Exhibition – the last day of receiving goods
The Great Exhibition Building - cutting down trees in the north transept
The Great Exhibition Building – cutting down trees in the north transept

If you want to find out more about The Great Exhibition and have a Kensington and Chelsea library card, log in to Britannica online and search for Crystal Palace.

The Crystal Palace, designed by Sir Joseph Paxton, was a remarkable construction of prefabricated parts. It consisted of an intricate network of slender iron rods sustaining walls of clear glass. The main body of the building was 1,848 feet (563 metres) long and 408 feet (124 metres) wide; the height of the central transept was 108 feet (33 metres). The construction occupied some 18 acres (7 hectares) on the ground, while its total floor area was about 990,000 square feet (92,000 square metres, or about 23 acres [9 hectares]). On the ground floor and galleries there were more than 8 miles (13 km) of display tables.

‘Crystal Palace’ Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Library Edition.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2013

The Great Exhibition Building no longer exists but you can visit another of their Easter suggestions. As described in the April 22 1848 issue:

 There is not a more rational mode of passing an Easter holiday in the metropolis than a visit to this famous prison-palace.

They were referring to the Tower of London….

The Tower of London, 22 April 1848
The Tower of London, 22 April 1848
Debby Wale
Debby Wale

Debby Wale, Triborough Reference Librarian

Chelsea Reference Library

Further information

  • Kensington Central Reference Library has almost the complete holdings of The Illustrated London News in their store.
  • The Encyclopedia Britannica can be accessed via our reference and information web page. You’ll need a Kensington and Chelsea library card to access this.
  • Westminster City Libraries has electronic access to The Illustrated London News via Westminster City Libraries website. You’ll need at Westminster Libraries card to access this.

Blog post from the North – March 2013

North Kensington Library
North Kensington Library

Welcome to our blog post from the north! This month we thought we’d tell you about the exciting things that have been happening at all three of the libraries in the north – Kensal, Notting Hill Gate and North Kensington, libraries.

What’s been happening at North Kensington’s Children’s Library?

This past two months we have had a very busy time in North Kensington Children’s library and it continues to be so.

Ishwari Prince
Ishwari Prince

Saturday 9 February was National Libraries Day.  To celebrate this Senior Customer Services Assistant Ishwari Prince led a children’s craft and story session with ‘create your own book’.  This involved some origami type folding and cutting to make simple books, which the children filled with their own ideas, pictures and stories.  We were all very impressed with the creative and original ideas the children came up with, and everyone enjoyed themselves. Please visit the National Libraries Day website for more information about this day.

Valentine's Day crafts on display
Valentine’s Day crafts on display

Senior Customer Services Assistant, Zvezdana Popovic launched our new after school children’s story and craft Sessions (second Thursday of every month, 4pm to 5pm) on  Valentine’s Day  with appropriately themed crafts and romantic verse.

Spring books on display
Spring books on display

We are celebrating Spring Time with a display of books including fact books about animals, urban nature trails and nature guides, festivals such as Easter and Holi and stories for children of all ages.  We have lots of picture books and board books about spring animals.  For toddlers and babies we have I love rabbits, an interactive touch and feel book full of adorable fluffy rabbits.

My favourite fact books are Wild Town: Wildlife on your doorstep by Mike Dilger  and Usborne Spotter’s Guides: Urban Wildlife. You don’t have to visit the countryside or have a garden to enjoy nature. Both of these beautifully illustrated books introduce you to the secret world of wildlife in our cities and towns. They give useful tips on where to spot birds, animals, plants and creepy-crawlies in your local park, alongside rivers and canals and even on your doorstop or under your roof!

Gaynor Lynch
Gaynor Lynch

Gaynor Lynch

Lending Librarian, North Kensington Library

North Kensington Library’s Chatterbooks club


North Kensington Library’s Chatterbooks club is a reading group for children aged 8 to 12 years.   The club members meet on the last Thursday of the month at 4pm in North Kensington Children’s Library.  The club gives opportunity for children to share their reading experiences, discuss books, do fun activities including writing stories and poetry, quizzes and word search.  New members are welcome, so come and join us! Check out our Chatterbooks page for more information.

Adisa Behmen-Kreso

Senior Customer Services Assistant, North Kensington Library

New story and craft sessions at Notting Hill Gate Library

Story and craft sessions
Story and craft sessions

Notting Hill Gate Library will be holding monthly story and craft sessions on the last Saturday of every month. Come have fun with your children, give them a chance to explore their creativity, meet new friends and better yet it’s free!

The first session will be on Saturday 27 April, 11.30 am to 12.30pm. Hope to see you and your children there!

Ihssan Dhimi
Ihssan Dhimi

Ihssan Dhimi

Senior Customer Services Assistant, Notting Hill Gate Library

What’s been happening at Kensal Library?

Kensal Library
Kensal Library

Come along to hear wonderful stories read by engaging friendly staff at Kensal Library at our storytime sessions every Friday from 11am to 11.30am.   One Mum commented that her son and herself thought the staff were ‘amazing’.

We have a new collection of Portuguese and Arabic titles in stock which reflect the needs of our community here in the north of the borough. There’s more information about our this collection on our books in other languages page on our website.

Our first story and craft event was well attended and the children enjoyed the theme.  We read a fictional story about sharks and then looked at some non-fiction books and talked about sharks and why people are scared of them and how we can protect endangered species before making some spectacular shark jaws! The next session will be on Saturday 13 April from 3 to 4pm and will be tied in to our Cityread London events.

Natasha Chaoui

Senior Customer Services Assistant,  Kensal Library