Nibbles, Tat and Myths – An Evening with the Library Patrons

Last month, the Patrons of Chetham’s Library were invited to attend a special evening with our artists- in-residence, iOrganic. iOrganic are a Manchester-based performing arts company who took up residence in the Library for a six week period in February, exploring the myths and legends that we have acquired over the years. The group sought to collect stories about the building – whether true or not – through delving into the collection, interviewing visitors and through social media interactions.

On the evening, after drinks and nibbles, Librarian Michael Powell gave a talk to the Patrons about various objects within our collection – objects that he so affectionately referred to as ‘tat.’ This was indeed a collection of the weird and the wonderful: from the diary of a family car (including the date of every time the petrol tank was filled up) to a calendar for illiterates. These may not be our most historically significant items in our collection but they are an example of just some of the peculiar objects we have picked up along the way and the stories behind them are often equally as fascinating.

iOrganic then took centre stage to give Patrons an ‘unofficial’ tour of the Library. With just torches to guide them, guests were able to see the Library in a new light and, using closed-off passageways, presses and audio material, a truly immersive experience was created. The tour was designed to light-heartedly question our faith in official histories of heritage sites, and the quick-pace mix of the ridiculous and the sublime did indeed make us question what could be true and what was not.

Despite the unexpected snow we experienced on the day, we would like to thank the Patrons for joining us for what we hope was an enjoyable evening.

The Patrons of Chetham’s Library are integral to helping us stay open, free of charge, to the public. Each week, it costs £4,000 to open the Library and money raised from Patronage directly funds some of these necessary costs, so we really do appreciate their support. If you would like to learn more about becoming a Patron, please visit our website here.


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