Does research need to be a lonely affair?

Posted on by theyarehere


Does research always need to be a lonely affair? We don’t think so.


On 1st May 2011 we hid five hundred golden tickets in Brixton Tate Library, between the pages of select books that reference themes from sugar to Victoriana, labour, art, Black history, Charles Dickens, employment and architecture. Golden posters were dotted around the library, to catch visitors’ eyes and let them know to look out for the tickets.


It was an invitation; a means of opening up a collective investigation into the philanthropic legacy of of Sir Henry Tate. The tickets were intended for any member of the public using Brixton Library who might be compelled by curiosity after finding one to join us on Henry’s Trail.





These were some of the books that the first twelve people to respond found their golden tickets inside…




“It was amazing – went to work on my manuscript in the reference library and noticed your poster on the way up. Checking references, I opened The Victorians by John Gardiner and out it came. I had also brought 2 volumes of The Oxford History of England (19th century) to my table – another golden ticket!”  –  Eva O’Cathoir




“It was like Christmas. I like visiting good libraries. It helps me to concentrate on my research and writing, seeing others working away. Anyway, I saw the poster for the golden tickets coming in, settled down in the quiet study room – very attractive, modern style in a traditional building and the first book I opened, the golden ticket fell out.


With hindsight, it was no wonder more golden tickets appeared – I was reading up late 19th century English history, a period of enormous change, when Henry Tate made his fortune.”




“When I found my ticket I somehow felt I owed it to the book to borrow it. Time flew and I ended up paying a £3 fine for returning it late, but that works out at only £1 an outing so it was really worth it.” – Caroline Hendrie