When I recently saw an old book for sale online, named “David Livingstone” by Thomas Hughes, I knew it was a book not particularly of great value. It was mass produced in the 1880s and again in subsequent print runs. However, what was different about this one, was that Thomas Hughes himself had written a message inside it in 1889, and as a bookmark, there was a “Visit Blantyre” brochure inside. Suddenly, the book had my interest!
I managed to buy the book for £9 plus £3.50 postage and packing. For just £12.50 I had the signed book (which i had always wanted to read), PLUS the brochure, which I would have happily paid £12.50 for alone for it is a more rare booklet, one I hadn’t seen before! A bargain, in my opinion.
Thomas Hughes was born on 20th October 1822 in England and is best remembered for writing “Tom Brown’s School Days” in 1857. His book on Livingstone’s life was written in 1889, some 7 years before Hughes died.
My only gripe about the whole book is the opening header in the original book which says, “English Men of Action”!!
I’ll be posting in coming weeks about the little brochure, its stories, adverts and photos and will aim to transcribe a few extracts relating to Blantyre from the book.
Meantime this hardback book now sits proudly on the spare room mantlepiece beside my history hand written journals and notes. In a Blantyre house 285 years old, I think it compliments my deliberate, slow descent of household decor falling back into the 19th Century!
I’m a sucker for old bargain books!