Sunday, 16 January 2011

Long Eaton Library and a Local Historian`s Legacy

From cowboys and detectives we naturally move on to consider the life of a librarian.

Actually, this is by the way of being a personal request for information.

There is a tradition in our family that an ancestor of my mother`s was instrumental in the setting up of the first ever library at Long Eaton, a small manufacturing town on the Notts / Derbyshire border, in 1906.

 As a youngster I recall being shown a booklet on the history of the library, possibly a booklet commemorating the opening,  including a picture of the person in question. Unfortunately, when the relatives who owned the booklet died, having lived to a very great age, it couldn`t be found.

I believe my exalted ancester may have been Arthur Hooper, librarian at Long Eaton until 1938 and author of a book, possibly called The History of Long Eaton and District, which was published in 1954. He is credited with the quote "there is no castle, great house, battlefield or even moorland to give colour to the story" of Long Eaton.  It is true that the area has a long history (it is mentioned in the Doomsday book as the village of Aitone), but not a colourful one, though it is interesting in terms of the development of industry in the region and the story of the  attendant canals and railways.

I will be making my own enquiries as best I can, but if anyone has any information about Arthur, I`d be very glad to hear from you.

I don`t know if it helps, but I recall that I had two great aunts, Jessie and Edie (Edith), who lived in Long Eaton all their lives, so I presume if Arthur was related to me he was possibly their father or grandfather. They lived to be very old and were possibly involved in the Methodist Church and with good causes generally. I recall them sharing a council flat in later years, and my recollection is that they were unassuming and approachable but with a certain resilience common to many of my female relatives. I well remember my mother pointedly asking Jessie why she gave money to Help the Aged when she had little enough money to spare on herself. "I like to help the old people" she declared airily. She was 88 at the time.

Lastly, if anyone`s interested in issues affecting libraries today, you might like to see my articles Voices for Libraries (29 Sep 2010) and Voices for Libraries # 2 (9 Dec 2010) , both at

1 comment:

  1. I also remember Edith and Jessie (always addressed as 'The Misses Hooper'), who lived at that time on the corner of St John St and Tamworth Road. One (or possibly both) of them ran a corset shop on High St in Nottingham. I also remember their unstinting generosity and kindness. They told me a similar history of their father Arthur, although I recall it that he was rather more than a cobbler, but a shoe and bootmaker who established a successful small business in the town before moving on to the library. I also seem to remember he had some connection with the Fire Station. However, I've never been able to confirm either recollection as fact. Please email me for more family recollections.