Locked out Carnegie Library celebrates Shakespeare – outside

Posted on: 23rd April, 2016 in Brixton Stories, Friends of the Tate Library


The Friends of Carnegie Library organised an afternoon Shakespeare celebration on the steps of the library. Chair of the Friends, Jeff Doorn gave an impassioned and appropriately adapted rendition of Henry V’s Agincourt speech.

One could almost say “Now is the winter of our discontent!” with the cold north wind blowing up Herne Hill Road, but turnout was impressive and passing motorists of all sorts tooted their horns in support.

Well known local barnstormer Robert Holden encouraged the crowd to “never give up” with his illustrated lecture on the campaign to preserve the newly discovered remains of Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre 1989 despite philistine indifference from the Thatcher government. Some parallels with the current Lambeth library situation clearly hit home.

Cllr Rachel Heywood read a sonnet, and other local people took part in a dramatisation of part of The Midsummers Dream. It was interesting to observe how warmly Cllr Heywood was received by many Friends of the Carnegie Library supporters. Clearly these people felt that Cllr Heywood understood and sympathised with their concerns, unlike their absent ward councillors.

A stalwart Friends of Carnegie lady provided a poingant and apocalyptic finale:

“Dirge from Cymbeline

Fear no more the heat o’ the sun,
Nor the furious winter’s rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone and ta’en thy wages;
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney sweepers, come to dust.

Fear no more the frown o’ th’ great;
Thou art past the tyrant’s stroke:
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The sceptre, learning, physic, must
all follow this, and come to dust.

Fear no more the lightning flash,
The all dreaded thunder stone;
Fear no slander, censure rash;
Thou has finished joy and moan.
All lovers young, all lovers must
consign to thee, and come to dust.

No exorcisor harm thee,
Nor no witchcraft charm thee!
Ghost unlaid forbear thee,
Nothing ill come near thee.
Quiet consummation have,
And renowned be thy grave!”
Carnegie 23.4.16