Two Marlboroughs take a leaf out of each other’s book

Written by Peter Davison.

Mayor Noel Barrett Morton library manager Carol Moylan and councillor Cynthia BrooksMayor Noel Barrett Morton library manager Carol Moylan and councillor Cynthia BrooksBook lovers who want to find out more about Marlborough in New Zealand will soon be able to – thanks to a new tome-filled shelf in the town’s public library.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Kiwis will be able to pop into the public libraries in Blenheim and Picton to find out more about us.

An exchange of books too place on Friday (July 15) to strengthen the bond between, and foster a greater understanding of, the two communities.

Marlborough UK’s mayor, Cllr Noel Barrett-Morton, presented his Antipodean counterpart with a range of books written in, about, or by writers who lived in the town.

The collection included Trains and Buttered Toast, a selection from John Betjeman’s 300 radio talks, and Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man, a novel by Siegfried Sassoon.

There were historical books packed with pictures of old Marlborough – Marlborough & Around Through Time by Stanley C. Jenkins, and The Western Kennet Valley in the Great War by Roger Day, and books for children including The Savernake Big Belly Oak by Barbara Townsend.

Councillor Cynthia Brooks presents Autumn Twilight in Marlborough to mayor and mayoress Noel and Susan Barrett MortonCouncillor Cynthia Brooks presents Autumn Twilight in Marlborough to mayor and mayoress Noel and Susan Barrett MortonIn return, Marlborough NZ councillor Cynthia Brooks presented Marlborough UK with a selection of works tracing the gold rush that originally brought settlers to the region, and the wine on which its fortunes rest today.

Among the collection was Marlborough: Celebrating 150 years. Produced in 2009 to mark the century and a half since the first settlers’ boats reached the Marlborough Sounds, the book was described by Cllr Brooks as “150 years condensed into 508 pages” and she should know: she edited the work, while photographer husband Graham provided many of the photographs.

During a ceremony at Marlborough Town Hall, Cllr Barrett-Morton said “the two Marlboroughs are separated by thousands of miles, but the bond is very strong."

There was an extra gift for Marlborough UK from its Kiwi cousins: a painting in the pointillism style by the renowned artist Clarry Neame.

The landscape, Autumn Twilight in Marlborough, shows vineyards in their autumnal colours, after the crop has been harvested. Eighty percent of the wine produced in New Zealand comes from Marlborough. The painting will be hung in the Town Hall. 

The New Zealand book collection is now in the hands of Marlborough’s library manager Carol Moylan, who will catalogue the books before they are given their own special shelf.

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