Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Treasures from the Worcester Room: Books of Appreciation from England

One of the great things about Worcester is what a welcoming city it is. You can see this today in how Worcester has embraced the refugee community.  One of the best examples of Worcester's welcoming attitude is the case of the schoolchildren from England who lived in Worcester during the Second World War in order to be safe from the Nazi bombing campaign against England.  While not widely known today, this act of kindness by the people of Worcester inspired a generous donation that still benefits our library.

Recently, when going through books in our Closed Stacks collection in the basement, we came across a book with a bookplate saying "Presented to the Worcester Free Public Library by parents of children from Sherrardswood School, Welwyn Garden City in the County of Hertford, England, in token of their gratitude to those in Worcester who cared for their children during the War of 1939-1945." Obviously we were intrigued by this and decided to further investigate the story.

Looking through our records and papers in the Worcester Room, I found a binder with a number of papers documenting both the children's stay in Worcester, and the donation of books by grateful families in the aftermath of the war.  I was able to find newspaper clippings, correspondence between the Library Director during that time and the parents of the children, and a list of all of the books that were donated.  Over one hundred books were donated in 1948 to our library, most having to do with British history or culture.  Many of these books are still in our collection, available for library users to borrow, and, according to their website, the Sherrardswood School is still in existence today. Just one more example of a connection that the city has made with communities across the globe.


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