Megalithic Software, and other curious tales

The Bishopsgate Institute’s library is the more surprising the further you delve. I spent a good few hours there yesterday, reading and writing. Well, scribbling is probably a more accurate word. The library spans two large rooms – gorgeous, proper bookcases and lots of wood everywhere. A frosted glass partition separates a staff area in the second room. A funky spiral staircase leads to a gallery, which is off-limits to the public. This is where the Institute’s substantial London collection is to be found. Some very esoteric items, and some beautiful ones too. I spotted a copy of the famous-ish Liber Albus (not original) and several important City documents such as The Ordnance of the Stationer’s Company (16something). Also lots of books on pubs.

The library was very busy at lunchtime, with a diverse (age/race/dress) crowd. During the afternoon it was a bit clearer but always in use for various purposes, including computer access as well as the more traditional reading, researching etc.

In the morning I met up with Anna Salaman, Director of Public Programmes. Her office is high up in the oldest part of the Institute. What strikes me when talking to staff here is that everyone finds the Bishopsgate inspiring. Anna ran through the plans and policies of the Institute – particularly important in the run-up to a major refurbishment/development project – but she was also personally passionate about the building, the organisation, its history, current and future role, and so on.

Here’s a poem, or poetic notes, unfinished, temporary, or what you will.


Megalithic Software

Yes, he keeps his jacket on
keeps his hat on, holds
A Concise Dictionary of Theology
to the light, rustles The Bible
flicks through New Scientist



The network flickers
in and out of connectivity
fixtures and results
flash up. scroll, scroll, click

no use for Burke’s Peerage
(sponsored by Schweppes)
Megalithic Software
three volumes of Stowe’s Survey
Bygone Kent

Cockney Ancestor

The day’s ephemera
collects right here

If you could only catch
our words between the
thick leather covers of
Punch, 1888. But she

types with furious speed
then stops, surfs away
to check her emails

smiles, puffs out her cheeks
then giggles, at her side
an antiqued Filofax
the same weft and weight
of Mr Bradlaw’s fishing tackle

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