Bromley House Library is in a gorgeous Georgian townhouse on Angel Row in Nottingham that was built in 1752 for George Smith, grandson of the founders of Smiths Bank. I’ve passed the front door a countless amount of times and never noticed it was there. I first heard about it a couple of years ago but it was only this year, when the library is celebrating 200 years of continuous operation that I finally got around to going on one of their free tours.
The tour was really excellent and informative. We started off in the attic where Alfred Barber, a local businessman, set up a photographic studio in 1841, not long after Louis Daguerre had invented the daguerreotype, making it the site of one of the first photographic studios in Nottingham.
As well as camera equipment on display there was also this neck holder, used to make sure that the subject didn’t move while their photograph was being taken!
The tour included information about the somewhat unusual book classification at the library – only separated into 6 distinct groups, the books are ordered by the way they come into the library – which makes it unique in the country.
Other highlights include the gorgeous spiral staircase,
and the fact that the library is the site of a Meridian line. Dating from 1836 this meridian line is one of only a few surviving examples.
It would have been used in conjunction with the small hole in the window as seen below. Pointing due North, when the sun passed through the hole and hit the line it would indicate it was noon.
The Neville Hoskins Room is the best preserved part of the building and has a quite an impressive ceiling and lighting fixture.
The library is also notable for possessing one of the few remaining wall gardens in the City Centre, and luckily when we visited it was a pleasant enough day to wander outside.
Overall, a delightful place that is clearly well loved by its staff and subscribers; one of Nottingham’s real hidden gems.
You can see more photos here but I would say if you can it is definitely worth going along to have a look for yourself – tours do need to be booked in advance, but they are free.