It is on the corner of Manchester and Allen Street – close to Moorhouse Avenue. It may also be the only library in New Zealand with a view of a Harley-Davidson shop.
There will be a bit of a collection shuffle as part of this move. Ngā Pounamu Māori and Ngāi Tahu collections at Central Library Peterborough will be unavailable from Monday 13 January to Sunday 19 January 2014 inclusive. Family History, microfilm and microfiche collections at Central Library Peterborough will be unavailable from Thursday 16 January to Sunday 19 January 2014 inclusive. These collections will be available at Central Library Manchester when it opens.
Central Library Manchester will be the place to go for researchers, especially those needing our Māori and Family History resources.
The other one you will have heard of is Lake Taupo, which is what remains of a supervolcano that exploded 65,000 years ago thereby helping to form the central plateau of the North Island.
The thing about supervolcanoes, of which there are a number on earth (estimates vary) and others known on Mars and Jupiter’s moon Io, is that they are also super spectacular. When magma from a chamber 55 miles across explodes it is world changing. When Taupo went up, evidence was noted by the Romans on the other side of the world in the form of unusual sunsets. It is thought that one in Siberia was responsible for what is known as “the great dying” the greatest extinction event on earth of all time.
Fortunately they only blow very occasionally, even in terms of geological timescales so you don’t need to lose any sleep over them. You don’t need to worry about our own Banks Peninisula volcano either by the way. It was pretty big but its magma chamber is empty.
I was gripped from the first image, a colour double page spread of a greatcoat worn by Kaiser Wilhelm II in Russia before the war, when he was a colonel-in-chief in the Russian army. “Its provenance is confirmed by the imperial ‘W’ on the inside lining beneath the collar and by the fact that one sleeve was shorter than the other. Photographers and tailors were required to disguise the Kaiser’s withered left arm, the result of an accident at birth”. There is nothing like an historical item of clothing – elsewhere in this volume there is a photograph of the jacket Archduke Franz Ferdinand was wearing when he was assassinated. Complete with bloodstains. You have to go to Vienna to see that though.
On the opposite page is a photograph of the Kings of Norway, Portugal, England, Greece, Belgium, Spain, Denmark and Bulgaria in 1910. All related by birth or marriage and all about to witness the end of the world as they knew it.
The book is as impeccably organised as might be expected, coming as it does from the Imperial War Museums. It follows an orderly and horrifying progression from the declarations of war to the Armistice and it is the incidental details that are the most affecting: a line of dogs, each pair drawing a machine gun on a small cart; men of the medical corps searching packs belonging to the dead looking for letters and personal effects that could be sent to relatives; women crying at the funeral of a munitionette. The very word munitionette upset me. A minor concern, I know.
It was a sad and sobering experience looking at these photographs from 100 years ago, but rewarding too. We’ll all be hearing a lot about The Great War in the next four years – the images in this book probably give more of an idea of the suffering borne by those who experienced it than words ever will.
The real faces looking out down the years also reminded me of all the great literature that came out of the First World War, and after it. Unfortunately it involves yet another list, of things I might revisit if I ever finish the things on my 2014 resolutions list.