October 1990

Visit by Dr Keith Manley of University of London Institute of Historical Research. Jim Walton met Dr Manley off the 7.12pm train and Alan Cassley wanted to know if Jim was late for the last meeting or early for this meeting, (reference to Jim’s frequent lateness to meetings). Dr Manley has for 5 years been investigating Book Clubs. He discovered our Club still functioning from the 18th Century. He was appreciative of the opportunity to see the archives and especially the minute book. Most clubs died off or became dining clubs who met at mid-day for lunch possibly. This was due to lack of lighting in streets at night. W.H.Smith tended to kill off book clubs when they made books available to a wider reading public. Leadhills had a club which started in 1740 and operated very much as we do, most books were kept , not sold as we do. He hoped we would carry on. The President thanked Dr Manley, Mr Macgregor asked if most clubs had started and functioned like ours?. The reply was. The clergy were greatly interested e.g. in Sedburgh in 1770. Clubs started chiefly because of the high cost of books. Mr Phillipson asked what would be the result of Dr Manley’s research. Reply, result would be a pamphlet, perhaps we will be able to acquire one. Another 2 years will see the finish of the research.

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