Thursday, February 24, 2011

Jonny Fox is in the house

The character created by Martin Wood and his many collaborators, Jonny Fox, made a star appearance at the Reading Room in 2010. Jonny and Martin were given the the red carpet treatment for the soft launch of a short film starring the fox.

The Gazette and Herald has run a spread about Jonny and his creator Martin to mark the launch of the Grand Scheme of Things web site. The site details all aspects of the concept with sound and visuals. Read the full article on the Gazette & Herald website.

For more information and contact details visit and make sure you turn the volume up!

Still from Hunters Moon graphic novel.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Who built the Reading Room?

Following the award of an Arts Council grant and subsequent  creation of The Dictionary of Scottish Architects 1840 - 1980 we now know more about the company that built the Reading Room.

The building was constructed by Speirs & Co., designers and erectors of iron & wood buildings. Based in Glasgow they ceased trading in the late 1930's having provided  partly prefabricated timber framed buildings, some clad in corrugated iron, notably for the Episcopal Church for around 50 years.

For more information visit a page about Speirs & Co. created by the Scottish Architects Association.

1911 Reading Room minutes found

Thanks to Mrs. Fox who recently found the original 1911 Reading Room minutes book. Along with opening costs we now have the exact date the building was opened.

On page 40 the minutes note the room was opened to the public on Tuesday November 21st 1911 by Miss Clara Odell. The initial costs cover coal, parafin, and various publications including the Yorkshire Herald and amounted to 1 pound 7 shillings and 9 pence.

The book will be held in the village archive for safe keeping along with notes and minutes from more recent times. Excerpts from the minutes will be published throughout the year.

Page 40 from the original Reading Room minutes

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Full house for a Japanese film

The Reading Room was packed for a Japanese movie called Departures directed by Yôjirô Takita. 

The film is about a musician who looses his job in a Tokyo orchestra, sells his cello and moves with his wife back to his home village in the countryside.

Here he answers an ad in the local paper for what he thinks is a travel agent and is talked into becoming an 'encoffiner'. There's no trade in the UK quite like an encoffiner. It's a job that involves ritually washing a deceased person's body, making up their face and arranging their hands and feet in a special position prior to placing them in a coffin. All of this is done in front of assembled relatives.

On the surface it sounds a very grim subject for a film but turned out, judging by comments people made when the movie ended, to be moving, amusing and memorable.