Pictures of the old Bury library that Victoria Wood visited as a child are now on display – alongside her letter ‘admitting’ book theft!
Victoria was a regular visitor to the Junior Library when she was a Bury Grammar School pupil, and these images of the Junior Library and the Reference Library show how the buildings would have looked at the time she visited.
Next to the old photos is the original letter that Victoria sent to library staff in 1999, which says: “Dear Sir/Madam, I've just looked at the label inside this book, and I have a feeling I must have stolen this from your library! I was never a member of Bury Library, but did take a lot of books from the children's section as a young teenager - I'm very sorry - here's a small donation to help replace a few! Best Wishes, Victoria Wood." Enclosed was £100 in cash.
These images, now on display at Bury Library, are designed to complement the major year-long exhibition and celebration of Victoria Wood’s life and career, which is on show next door at Bury Art Museum: more details at https://buryartmuseum.co.uk/Museum-Feature-Exhibitions
There are four images at the library:
- The Junior Library (top left) – this image shows a view towards Textile Hall. The bookshelves are labelled “Boys and Girls School Stories” and “Historical and Humorous”.
- The Junior Library (top right) – this shows a view towards the front of the building. On the low level bookshelves on the left the sign reads “Adventure and Mystery”.
- The Junior Library (bottom left) – this shows the area where the teenage books were kept. The plaque on the wall reads – “This room was opened as a Junior Library in 1952 to mark fifty years of public library service in Bury.” The Junior Library remained in this area until 1972.
- The Reference Library (bottom right) – Between 1952 and 1972 the Reference Library was situated directly behind the Junior Library. Well-behaved school children were allowed to study in the Reference Library.
Gary Phillips, resources officer with Bury Library Service, said: “It was a real surprise to receive this letter from Victoria. The hundred pounds was quite generous for the time and gratefully received.
“The contents of the letter were kept secret for a long time, but the representatives of Victoria’s estate thought it was funny and that we should include it in the display.”