Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Stowe School Library

Today we went to Stowe House, which is now a boarding school. It was gorgeous! I wish I could go back in time and go to school here!
This is a picture of Stowe House from the front. 

Carol Miller, the librarian, gave us a tour of the school and told us about the history of the house, as well as her duties and tasks as a school librarian. They also provided tea and cookies for us, which was so nice! 

Stowe House sits on 1000 acres and has 400 rooms. It was owned by the Temple-Grenville family until the 1920s, at which point the family could not afford to maintain the house. They sold the house and all of the possessions inside. The new owners wanted to open a school. In 1923, the first class of 99 boys started school at Stowe. The school is now coed. 

The school's current library started as a ballroom in the 1730s. In 1797 it was turned into a one room library. The library serves about 780 students ranging in age from 13-18. It is open from 8:30am until 9:30 pm during the school year. The library is most heavily used by students in their last year of school. It is also very busy during exams. 

Unfortunately, the library does not have any books that were original to the house. However, this spring, they were able to obtain some books that were at Stowe in the 1800s. The bookcases and fireplaces in the library are original to the house. 
Stowe School Library

Stowe School is trying to restore the house to look like it did in the 1700s. The ceiling in the library is plaster, and was beginning to crumble. They had it restored, and had 23.5 karat gold leaf installed. It was interesting to hear about the variety of tasks the librarians perform. Not only do they help the students with research, but they were also very involved in the restoration of the library. They are also in charge of acquisitions.
The restored ceiling in Stowe School library.

After the tour of the house, we were allowed to tour the gardens. The gardens are maintained by the National Trust and are still undergoing restoration. The gardens were stunning! There were huge monuments and temples everywhere. Most of the monuments looked Greek or Roman in style. My favorite monument had busts of historic British figures, such as Elizabeth I and William Shakespeare. 
A view of the gardens from the back of Stowe House.

I expected the gardens to be manicured and plotted out, but they were very wild and natural looking. Overall, Stowe was beautiful, and one of my favorite visits. 
Some of the vegetation in the garden.

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