Recently I answered a phone call from a lady in Manchester whose first words were “This is a very strange phone call…”
Whilst packing up her house prior to moving she discovered a Pendlebury library book in the bookcase which she believed must have been borrowed by her first husband. “I wasn’t married to him for long, but I know he read music at Cambridge over 50 years ago!”
Having established from her that she was willing to return it if we still wanted it, the book duly arrived a few days later with a handwritten note. It turned out to be one of Richard Pendlebury’s original donations to the library, complete with his own binding, and his crest on the cover of his intertwined initials RP.The book in question, “Mémoires ou essai sur la musique” by M. Grétry, was published in Paris in 1789, and will now be catalogued for our Rare Books collection.
Although we don’t know the name of the man who borrowed it all those years ago, the lady who returned it said in her letter, “My dear first husband died very young and always intended to return it in person. This book must have been on our shelves for over 50 years and I’m afraid I forgot it was there until now”.
Needless to say, we will not be charging her the overdue fines…