When I wrote last week about Marylebone Information Service’s reserve stock, I promised to write separately about the third of our three subterranean rooms, which is filled with periodicals.
Just a short health warning here: librarians speak with forked tongues when they talk about ‘periodicals’. As well as magazines and learned journals, you will often find that annual publications are also classified as periodicals. As we shall see, that’s true at Marylebone.
I unlock the huge, thick metal door, just like the safe doors the baddies blow up to get at the cash. Here, other riches lie just inside: sets of rolling stacks – basically bookcases on wheels – containing bay after bay of bound volumes of periodicals. Every wall is lined with volumes too.
Let’s just mention a few: Autocar (1934 onwards); the British Medical Journal from 1884 and The Lancet from 1824; London Review of Books from Issue 1, 1979; Practical Wireless (a few from 1944 on, continuous from 1976); Punch from 1841 until its demise in 2002; and Whitaker’s Almanack (odds & ends from 1890, with most of them from 1928 onwards).
That’s just a random sample, but it gives you a flavour of the coverage. There is a snag though: rarely is every single page of every single issue on the shelves, so if in doubt give us a ring before you visit us. Having said all that, some of these runs are mighty impressive, none more so than the jewel I have saved until last, possibly the most important annual publication, Wisden (pauses for a moment of reverential silence).
Having Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack in Marylebone Library: it’s a no-brainer, with Lord’s just up the road – “headquarters” for cricket- players and lovers worldwide – and home of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).
Runs and wickets are recorded, records are noted, controversies are reported upon in measure tones. Our holdings, surprisingly, only date from 1879. Our sister library, Westminster Reference Library, can go back to 1864, although now I’ve noticed that they will need to guard their extra 15 year’s worth closely!
All the above and many, many more – right across the City of Westminster – are catalogued in the splendidly-named WULOP (Westminster Union List of Periodicals), searchable online via the Catalogues section of the website. Take a dip some time.