Monday, January 09, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.9: Boreham Park Library

Boreham Park Library is a short walk from St. Ormstead's along Southcote Lane, and sits eithin the grounds of Boreham Park itself - whose landscaped gardens (sadly now in a state of disrepair) date back to the 18th Century.

Although the library is a rather uncouth mock-Tudor building, it used to have a rather extensive section on the occult and the paranormal, and it was here during the 1970s that I discovered the work of Lovecraft and Kenneth Grant. The library also held what appeared to be an almost complete collection of the more salacious titles published by Ultimate Press which, I'm rather ashamed to admit, I did occasionally borrow.

Horsingdon Council recently sought to close the library as a result of government cuts - unsuccessfully so, as local residents successfully campaigned to keep it running (although currently it is only open three days a week). This hasn't been the first time the library has been the subject of local controversy.

For a short period in 1973, Boreham Park Library was closed due to the unexplained disappearance of the branch's librarians, who was last seen heading into the extensive cellar system below the building (which apparently is used as a storage facility for various council archives, as well as for some of the Horsingdon Council Libraries' rarer acquisitions).

Roland Franklyn also took an interest in the library during his time in the Horsingden area, noting in his letters that the cellar system supposedly concealed a walled-up arch of Roman origin, as well as linking to a much older tunnel system, part of which connected to St. Ormund's Church. According to Franklyn's investigations, James Boreham - who built the house as his personal residence in the late 19th Century - was involved in a local witch cult which had links with similar groups in the Severn Valley.

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