Kidlington Branch Library and Old Money

The lockdown has helped me focus on a number of home projects one of which is to replace my Shed which has stood in its present position for 25 years.

Within the old shed making up the work bench I found this sign which I remember my father taking down around 1960.

The Kidlington Branch Library was actually located within what is today my living room, the access being via our front door in School Road after which you turned left for the Library or right into the tailors shop. The tailor was of course Nat Posner, a real character, and probably the village’s best known Jew. Mr Posner ran a tight ship and I was always round there to feed our gas meter which only took shilling pieces. He wore large round spectacles and had the biggest nose I have ever seen. But he was a kindly person even if he didn’t exactly move with the times. He used to call me Nico and would give me three large old pennies from his desk draw every time I went in. ‘There you go Nico’ he would say ‘go buy yourself a choc-ice’. It used to do my head in ….. everybody knew a choc-ice was six pence!

I believe the library arrived in the early fifties. It was an off shoot of the Oxfordshire County Library and my grandmother Evelyn Duval was in fact the Librarian for a number of years. As a child I can remember my father, who was an avid reader, perusing the shelves of neatly stacked books, usually after it had closed for the evening. Hard backed books were expensive and the fines for failing to return a book within the two week loan period, were as I recall, 1d a day. That’s old pence, mind you. My Dad was very keen on cricket, and as you may expect a couple of the books complete with Oxfordshire County Council Library cards are still a part of my collection today. One in particular is ‘The Book of Cricket’, with a foreword by Sir Pelham Warner, dated April 1947. First published in 1911 it had been revised and reprinted on nine different occasions. Its value today is uncertain but if we went from the last date it was stamped in the Library I think my Dad has fines of upwards of £109 and 10 shillings.

Nick Duval