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Gladstone’s (formerly St Deiniol’s) residential Library is located in the centre of Hawarden, the North Wales village which four-times UK Prime Minister, William Ewart Gladstone, called home. The Institution dedicated to his memory was founded in 1894. It has subsequently achieved International acclaim for its advocacy of accessible "divine" learning, promotion of the written word -and as a centre of excellence for the study of World Faiths, Victorian History and Politics.

Victorian-era Prime Minister Gladstone was an inveterate reader and collector of books. When in residence at Hawarden, he was eager to share his personal collection with others -especially any who might be otherwise constrained by finance. He would allow bright children and young adults of the village to freely borrow and read his books. His desire, according to his daughter Mary Gladstone, was to "bring together books who had no readers -with readers who had no books".

This clip was filmed in 2015. In that year, like in many counties across Wales and on grounds claimed of economic necessity, the role and future of Flintshire's Public Library Service was called into question by the Local Authority. The prospect of proposed closures of some Council-run libraries -including that in Hawarden village, became the subject of considerable interest and concern.

As a product of a Hawarden's , one-time, "grammar" school, enthusiastic life-long learner and volunteer community film-maker, John Butler was curious to know what Mr Gladstone might have thought about any diminution of local reading resources. With this in mind, he arranged to call at Gladstone’s Library to seek an authoritative view. There he chatted with warden, Peter Francis, a person closely connected with Mr Gladstone's aspirations and passion for books and reading. During his tenure at Gladstone's Library since 1997, Peter had been a respected and frequent commentator on the, “Gladstonian Perspective” and its relevance in contemporary society.

Hawarden (Penarlâg) village public library was one of three closed by Flintshire County Council during early 2016.

DOP: Fred Snowden
Aerial photography: Mark Wynee
Incidental Piano: Joseph Butler
Library Students: Joe & Daisy Butler

Production devised and compiled by John Butler (c) 2015

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