By Dave Edwards
On the 3rd December 2016, The Oldbury Writing Group plunged with protective white-gloved hands into the jaw-droppingly magnificent Smethwick Library Archives.
We spent an utterly absorbing, cerebrally stimulating morning time-travelling (minus a Tardis) through The Black Country’s glorious industrial past.
We scoured, scanned, and inwardly digested page after page of information relating to obsolete companies of long ago. We looked through magazine after magazine of technical innovations and eureka moments. Black and white photographs of employers and employees attired in the working garb of yesteryear, bee-hived women, and short-back and sided men, with thick-rimmed spectacles aplenty, and the occasional pipe thrown in for good measure.
We then descended below ground level, via several concreted flights of stairs to the library’s archival bowels, where we strode through corridor after corridor, perusing shelf after shelf of print, including numerous parish and newspaper records, not to mention some extremely rare archaic tomes.
We then perused the pièce de résistance, in the shape of a stupendous subterranean library.
This collection houses similar book categories to its upstairs counterpart (non-fiction, fiction, and poetry), but the quality, quantity, and range is far superior.
It was here, during our cat that finds the cream quest that we discovered long lost titles by (for example) the Godfather of science fiction H.G.Wells and the urbane horror master Dennis Wheatley, (two literary giants amongst many).
In the non-fiction section, global history covering every conceivable subject is represented.
This was another example of the bibliophile’s dream come true.
Many thanks to all involved for organising our paper trail expedition.