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History Of Wick Library

Chapter 3

1891 - 1900


1st October

Special meeting of the Library Committee was called to hear a statement from Rev. George Renny.

Rev. Renny had a conversation with Mr. Carnegie, while staying with a friend down south. Mr. Carnegie expressed an interest in Wick Free Library. Rev. Renny told Mr. Carnegie about the Library Committee’s idea to build a new library. Mr. Carnegie wanted the Building Committee to not forget to overlook him when applying for help; he is willing to deal handsomely with the committee with regard to the Library.

A committee was appointed to make inquiries on a suitable site, the cost of the building and obtaining the necessary funds.

2nd October

Letter sent to Mr. Carnegie from George Bain, Librarian and Clerk, with a complete copy of the minutes of the special meeting of the Library Committee held on the 1st of October.

7th October

The Committee agrees the ground adjoining next to the Town & County Buildings once used formerly as prisons; meantime it deferred the cost of the building as well as the raising of necessary funds.

8th October

Six members of the Committee appointed to wait as a deputation on the County Council next meeting as well as the Town Council next meeting, regarding suitable grounds for building the new library premises.

12th November

Deputation's Report received. The County Council & the Town Council were in favour of the proposal by the Library Committee. Both councils express a desire to have a plan prepared. Mr. Brims, chairman of the Library Committee had a plan prepared some years ago.

7th December

The chairman failed to obtain the plan referred to in the last meeting and submitted one prepared in 1884. An area of one hundred & fifty feet would be acquired. The deputation will go to the next meeting of the Town Council & the County Council and submit a tracing of plan.


14th January

Letters from the County Council & Town Council were received. The Town Council was checking into the rights the council had to the ground contained in the plan. The committee appointed by the County Council had not yet met.

11th February

The County Council were to meet but the plans on loan to a gentleman had not been returned, so they were unable to meet without the plan.

10th March

The County Council had still not yet met.

14th April

The County Council Committee agrees to meet with the Library Sub-Committee.

12th May

Meeting between the Library Committee and the Committee appointed by the County Council on the 22nd April.

Ground wanted by the Library Committee is 32 feet in width and 145 feet in length. Servitude of passage from Bridge Street through the garden ground belonging jointly to the County Council & the Town Council of eight feet in width, as long as the garden ground may not be required for building purposes.

The Library Committee to be bound to relieve the County Council of their proportion of Feu Duty and accepts the terms given.

14th June

Tracing of Ground Plan with photographs of the adjacent buildings, copies to be sent to Mr. Carnegie along with a letter referring to the meeting of the 1st of October 1891.

27th June

Reply from Mr. Carnegie, agreeing to give one half of the estimated cost of £2500 if the Library Committee manages to reach the other half.

Library Committee sets up Finance Committee.

1st July

List of Gentlemen’s names to be asked for as well as Subscriptions in aid of the proposed Library Buildings.


11th October

The Committee decides to organise a Bazaar to raise money towards the building of the library.

27th November

Mr. Carnegie’s letter about funding the Bazaar. He would like the movement supported by the people of the town. He also promised a contribution whenever the first part of the necessary fund is secured.

13th December

The Bazaar Committee set up for inaugurating the Bazaar.


22nd January

Entertainments were laid on behalf of the Building Fund consisting of a Lecture and a Concert. The lecture was held on the 14th November 1893 and the concert on the 8th of January.

21st February

A list of ladies was submitted to the Committee in making arrangements for holding the Bazaar.

27th February

A list of ladies residing in locality will be submitted at the next meeting.

23rd March

Meeting held in the Town Hall on the 22ndof March. List of ladies made up to meet on the 4th of April.

11th April

The Ladies Committee meets on the 4th April.

24th April

List of Patrons and Patronesses for the Bazaar was made up.

8th October

The Building Committee to take steps obtaining competitive plans for new Library premises.

19th October

The Building Committee’s meeting to be held on the plot of the proposed new Library premises.

30th October

After visiting the site, the Building Committee expressed doubts on the site. The County Council had also expressed some reservations. They proposed to look at other plots of land available.

12th November

The Building Committee suggests the Library Committee look for other plots. The Library Committee agrees to this.

24th December

Site available in Market Place to be looked at.


14th January

Mr. Hew Morrison, Chief Librarian, Edinburgh sets sail to America to meet with Mr. Carnegie. He was asked by the Library Committee from Wick to approach Mr. Carnegie on their behalf with a view to speeding up the Library Buildings, in the event the guarantors of the forthcoming Bazaar manage to raise the amount required.

17th January

Letters were received from the Town Clerk & the County Clerk on behalf of their Councils. These state that the interview with the deputation on the 18th December 1894 with the County Council has not resulted in any changes to the conditions formerly indicated in connection with the proposed site for the library. Deputation to the Town Council on the 24th December 1894 resulted in the matter being submitted to the Dean of Guild’s Committee for consideration and report.

Other sites going to be looked at. Mr. Renny & Mr. Reiach on behalf of the Library Committee to wait and see Mr. Leith, Procurator Fiscal (and Agent to Mr. Usher) to learn on what terms the plot of ground situated at the west end of Sinclair Terrace, and behind the John O’Groat Journal Office, could be obtained as a site.

Mr. Brims & Mr. Robertson also on behalf of the Library Committee to approach Mr. Sutherland, Merchant, and the terms on which the corner site facing Macleay Street and Sinclair Terrace might be acquired.

28th January

Correspondent arrives in connection with the Feu in Market Place. On behalf of the Dean of Guild’s Committee, the Town Clerk to meet with the Library Committee for acquiring a Feu in Market Place. In reply, the Building Committee agreed Monday the 21st of January. A report of the joint meeting of the Town Council, the Dean’s of Guild Committee & Building Committee of the Library was recieved.

The Library Committee desired a centre Feu in Market Place at the front of High Street. Both committees exchanged their views.

Mr. Leith, Agent to Mr. Usher sends a letter to the Library Committee. After receiving communication from Mr. Usher, he thinks that the position of the ground is suitable for a building such as a library; also he resolved that he would grant the site to be made free, subject to his satisfaction with the plans. Should this offer of the site be accepted, he recommends that an Edinburgh architect should be instructed to make plans, and suggests the name of Mr. Leadbetter.

Mr. Usher also suggests that the value of the site should form part of the half of the cost to be contributed locally by the people of the Town. The Committee appreciated the generous offer by Mr. Usher; this will be put forward to the General Committee.

30th January

Letter to Mr. Leith, Agent to Mr. Usher was read out to the General Committee, Mr. Reiach instructs the librarian to write a letter to the Town Clerk on behalf the Library Committee, stating the withdrawal of their application of the feu in the Market Place, as they had a suitable site through the generosity of Mr. Usher.

11th February

It was remitted to the Building Committee to confer with Mr. Leadbetter, on his arrival in Wick to fix a value to the site donated by Mr. Usher

Bazaar Committee agrees to arrange a Jumble Sale to be held after the May term.

18th February

Committee considers that the size of each room of the library building, Lending Library & Reading Room be about forty feet by twenty feet, Recreation & Reference Rooms about twenty feet square and a good lavatory accommodation to be provided. The Librarian’s house to consist of four rooms, with coal cellar & c., also to consult with Mr. Leadbetter as to determine the money value.

22nd March

Accommodation required for Jumble Sale.

25th March

Mr. Leith on behalf of Mr. Usher, received a letter from Mr. Leadbetter who intends to arrive in Wick on the evening of the 26th and will be glad to meet the Committee next morning. It was recommended by the Committee to ask the architect to include in his plans accommodation for a museum or provision for adding a museum.

27th March

Letter from Mr. Leadbetter, stating that he had a severe case of influenza and was unable to come, but he will send his principal architect assistant Mr. Fairley.

17th June.

Plans sent by Mr. Leadbetter and the description of the sizes of the rooms. A firm of surveyors calculated the cost of the building, based on everything shown on the plans. The cost of the building could be built for £2500, the boundary walls enclosing the site £170, and additional cost of the Museum to be built at the same time, £250 taking the total cost to £2820.

The Committee agrees that the plans should be displayed for eight days along with a report from the Committee members with their views, and then forwarded to Mr. Carnegie for inspection.

8th July

Letter from Mr. Carnegie stating that he disagrees about having a Librarian’s house, in order to keep costs down. Carnegie also asks for the figures showing estimated receipts & expenditures. Finally, he wanted to know how the Committee expected to raise and spend the money. The Committee agrees to send a deputation to meet with Mr. Carnegie.

15th July

Letter received from Mr. Carnegie. He agrees to meet with the deputation from the Library Committee, any day next week at his home in Cluny Castle, Kingussie.

29th July

Report recieved from the delegation that was sent on behalf of the Library Committee to meet with Mr. Carnegie. They brought a letter from Mr. Carnegie, offering the double amount of £1250. Letter from Mr. Hew Morrison stating his meeting with Mr. Fairley and his he reported his views to Mr. Carnegie as well. Mr. Hew Morrison’s opinion is that the Library Committee should ask Mr. Leadbetter for a new plan.

7th August

The Bazaar Committee requests that the Bazaar to be open by Lord Roberts, and waits for his reply.

12th August.

Reply from Lord Roberts stating that he will not be able to perform the opening of the Bazaar. Letter sent from Committee to His Grace Duke of Portland with regard to opening the Bazaar. A letter from Mr. Garrow, Superintendent of the Highland Railway, offering special train fares, would be supplied to passengers from Thurso and intermediate stations on the opening day of the Bazaar at a single fare and a third. The Library Committee instructed the Librarian to give thanks to Mr. Garrow.

2nd September

Lady Roberts to open Bazaar, second day by Sheriff Thoms and the third day by Sheriff Mackenzie.

10th – 12th September

Bazaar held over three days.

30th September

Letter from Mr. Carnegie, who likes the revised plans. He notices the cost of £3000 is an increase of £500, which he agrees to pay. Drafts payments received by Mr. Carnegie. Letter received from Mr. Usher containing his approval of the plans.


11th January

Thirteen tenders to execute work in connection with the new proposed library building. The tenders list to be submitted to the Architects.

10th February

Letter sent to Mr. Carnegie concerning the present position of the Committee regarding new premises. They inform him that they have received offers for the execution of the work connected with the building and furnishing of the library.

They have taken the lowest bids and still regret that the total exceeds the estimate of the architect.

After consultation with Mr. Hew Morrison, the Library Committee receives a letter from the architect suggesting that several alterations could reduce the cost.

Mr. Hew Morrison thinks some of the alterations would mar the building. The Committee therefore could not take any steps without consulting Mr. Carnegie. They also wish to send a copy of the letter, to be sent to Mr. Hew Morrison for his approval.

9th May

Letters submitted by Alexander Begg, Emigration Agent, about a clock place in the Library in memorial to the late Alexander Bain. One letter sent to Mr. Carnegie and the other letter to the Library Committee. The Committee favourably entertained the scheme, as were those interested in raising the cost of the clock.

Letter sent to Mr. Carnegie asking for instructions, and to advise the go ahead of building of library, subjected by Mr. Hew Morrison’s approval.

26th May

Letter from Mr. Carnegie giving his go ahead.

1st June

Communication from the Architects, stating that they would be glad to send up an architect to Wick to set off the groundwork, and make arrangements for the work on the Library.

Letters sent to the contractors asking them to renew their offers, due to the time lapse. Letters received from the contractors either accepting or not accepting.

13th June

Tenders for work on the new building and estimates examined. Tenders being accepted and forward to the architects.

1st July

Mr. Fairley submits plans for alteration to the roughcast walls. The Building Committee approves the changes and submits it to the General Committee. Dates at which various stages of the work are to be completed also submitted by the Architects.

2nd July

The Committee accepts and authorises the Architects. Contracts to be drawn up for the contractors. List of Contractors for the library work as follows:

Masons Messrs Tait & Reid Wick
Plumber W. Johnston & Son Wick
Joiner and Glazier J. & W. Miller Wick
Plasterer James Smith Wick
Iron work D. H. Wares & Co. Wick
Tile-roofing R. Graham Edinburgh
Heating Meikie & Philp Edinburgh
Painting Mr George Dower Wick

11th July

The Building Committee to employ Mr. Leith, solicitor, to prepare the contracts.

25th July

Applications received for the position of Clerks of Works for the building of the Library.

10th October

The Library Committee agrees to contact Mr. Carnegie for first instalment of £1000.

Sheriff Thoms to be asked to lay the foundation stone.

Mr. Leith asked to prepare the deeds in the name of the Parish Council.

14th November

First draft of £1000 received from Mr. Carnegie. Sheriff Thoms appreciates the honour of laying the foundation stone, but cannot undertake the matter until June.

18th December

Draft Feu for library site. The Committee approves of the draft Feu contract. Alterations to be made to Feu contract. Instead of Wick and Pulteneytown Free Library, the name should be changed to Wick Parish Carnegie Library.


9th January

Letter from Sheriff Thoms, dated 21st December 1896, stating he would not be available for laying the foundation stone. The Committee agrees to ask Mr. Hew Morrison, Chief Librarian, Edinburgh, to lay the foundation stone.

Mr. Usher had agreed to all the alterations in the Feu Charter, suggested by the Library Committee and the Parish Council, and had signed the deed.

20th January

The Committee asks for the Daneills Prints to be ordered for the library.

13th February

Reply by letter from Mr. Hew Morrison unable to perform the laying of the foundation stone in February, but will be available from the 22nd of March to 27th of March.

25th February

The Committee agrees the date for the laying of the foundation stone on Saturday 27th of March by Mr. Hew Morrison.

13th March

Ceremony programme made up for the laying of the foundation stone.

25th March

Letter sent to the Assistant Registrar of Friendly Societies from the Librarian for application of certificate.

26th March

As part of the celebrations towards the laying of the foundation stone, Mr. Hew Morrison held a lecture in the town hall on the theme “Novels and Novel Reading.”

27th March

Laying of the Foundation Stone.

Excerpts from the John O’Groat Journal

On the afternoon of Saturday last the ceremony of laying of the foundation stone of the Carnegie Public Parish Library, Wick, was performed by Mr Hew Morrison, F.E.I.S., F.S.A. Scot, chief librarian of the Public Library, Edinburgh.

The total cost of the buildings when complete is estimated at £4500, not inclusive of the site, which was valuated at £500, and which Mr Usher, the proprietor of Pulteneytown, has given free. As is well known the building has been made possible by the munificence of Mr Andrew Carnegie, of Pittsburgh, a free burgess of the Royal Burgh of Wick, and whose name is more prominently associated with the free library movement both in this country and America than that of any other man.

The ceremony took place at 4 o’clock p.m. Apart from a slight shower which fell towards the conclusion of the proceedings the weather was favourable.

The Rev. Mr. Renny having offered up the prayer, Mr John Robertson, chairman of the Library Committee, introduced Mr Morrison, and in doing so presented him with a silver trowel bearing an inscription as follows: - Presented to Hew Morrison, Esq., chief librarian, Edinburgh Public Library, on the occasion of his laying the foundation stone of Wick Parish Carnegie Public Library. March 27, 1897.”

A glass bottle with the usual kind of documents and coins was then placed in the cavity, which had been prepared for it in stone, by Mr Reid, of Messrs Tait & Reid, builders, who also spread the mortar in preparation for the stone. Mr Morrison then used his silver trowel the stone having been lowered, he declared that it was well and truly laid.

10th April

The Library Committee agrees to send Mr. Carnegie an enlarged picture of the laying of the foundation stone.

12th June

The Committee orders from Mr. Johnston, Market Place, an enlarged photograph taken by him when the foundation stone was laid.

Second instalment of £1000 received from Mr. Carnegie.

30th September

Third instalment of £1000 received from Mr. Carnegie.


11th June

Librarian to be paid £67 per annum.

9th July

Notice to Mr. Brims, Clerk of Works, that his services would no longer be required after the completion of the painting of the library. Letter from Mr. Carnegie, suggesting that the Committee should ask Mr. John Morley to open the library and a deputation should wait on the right honourable gentleman on his expected arrival at Skibo Castle.

30th July

Private letter arrives from Mr. Carnegie to the Chairman of the Library Committee informing him that Mr. Morley was unable to perform the duty of opening the library because his wife was ill. Carnegie suggested Professor Masson, who was due to arrive shortly at Skibo Castle, as a suitable party for opening the library.

Letter from chairman of the Library Committee gives their thanks to Mr. Carnegie for suggesting Emeritus Professor Masson and asks if Professor Masson would kindly come to Wick to perform the opening of library.

18th August

Opening day of the library was set for Tuesday the 6th of September. The chairman would communicate this date to Mr. Carnegie so that Professor Masson could be available.

29th August

Mr. Randal of the Station Hotel would purvey the teas, cakes and wines for the reception at the cost of one shilling per head. The freedom of the Royal Burgh to Professor Masson will take part at noon and then the official opening ceremony of the library about 1.30pm on the 6th of September. The reception will take place after the opening of the library, admission by ticket, costing one shilling.

6th September

Opening of the Wick Parish Carnegie Library by Professor Masson.

Excerpts from the Northern Ensign

The ceremony of opening of the Library took place at half-past one o’clock. The building was profusely decorated with flags under the superintendence of Mr Teeling R.N., who had assistance of Coastguardsmen Kelly and Gearing, and William Macdonald and Hector Nicolson, fishermen. Conspicuous above the others was a combination of flags displaying the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes.

The weather was fine.

Professor Masson was received at the the entrance by the members of the Library Committee and Mr Bain, librarian, then was cordially cheered as he passed through the room. He was accompanied to the platform by Mr Robertson, chairman of the Committee, Sheriff Mackenzie, Provost Nicolson, Provost Wilson, Rev. Mr Robertson and other gentlemen.

Mr Robertson (Chairman of the Library Committee) presided, and at his request Mr Robertson (Reverend) opened the proceedings with prayer.

(Mr Robertson, Chairman of the Library Committee)

This is the earnest desire of our kind friend, Mr Carnegie, who has done so much for the spread of literature in his native Scotland and also in the United States, the country of his adoption. “Let there be light” is his motto, which we have got carved above the entrance door of the library,

We are highly honoured today in getting Emeritus Professor Masson to open the library.

3rd December

Accounts received from the contractors. For work done on the new library. Adjusted by the Architects.

Estimated Cost Actual Cost

Mason Work

£1595 £1625 16s 3d

Iron Work

£155 16s 6d £1111 13s 9d

Joiner & Glazier

£1245 15s £232 16s 3d


£315 £261 8s 11d
Slater £168 6s £168 6s
Plaster £236 £239 14s 11 1/2d
Painting £64 1s £71 10d
Heating £170 £177 17s 4d
Blinds £19 16s £20 4s
  £3969 14s 6d £3908 18s 3 1/2d
Furniture   £128 6s 3d
Gas fittings   £53 14s 3d
Mosaic   £39
    £4129 18s 9 1/2d
    £3969 14s 6d

Excess over estimated cost

£160 4s 3 1/2d


9th May

Additional donation received by the Library Committee from Mr. Carnegie for the sum of £422 10d.

Copied from the minute book of 9th of May.

Letter sent from Mr. Carnegie to Mr. John Robertson, Chairman of the Library Committee.

5 West 51st Street, New York,

3rd April 1899.

John Robertson, Esq.,

Chairman Wick Carnegie Free Public Library.

Dear Mr. Robertson,

Enclosed please find cheque for the amount of deficiency, which I give you with great pleasure so that the Library can have a fair start.

Of its future success I have no doubt, since its past has been so creditable. The people of Wick are the right kind of people for one to assist.

Always very truly yours,

(signed) Andrew Carnegie

Letter sent from John Robertson, Chairman of the Library Committee to Mr. Carnegie.

Wick, 15th April 1899.

Dear Mr. Carnegie,

I have the honour to acknowledge receipt of your letter of 3rd inst, enclosing the cheque for the sum of £423 .0. 10d. in payment of the deficiency in the Library funds.

The Committee desire me to tender you their warmest thanks for this additional mark of your generosity.

As the building is now clear of debt through your goodness, the Committee will be still further encouraged to continue to do all in their power to make the Library both useful and popular in the community during the past winter. Lectures on popular subjects have been delivered in the large room set aside for the Museum, Ambulance classes and a young men‘s Debating Society have also been conducted in the same place.

The Recreation Room has likewise been largely taken advantage of by young men for the purpose of engaging in the games of Draughts and Chess, which we glad to think prevent them from frequenting Bars and such-like places.

Yours respectfully,

(signed) John Robertson

14th June.

The Library Committee instructs the librarian to contact Mr John Usher, giving their kind best wishes to him in becoming Sir John Usher, and sending an excerpt from the minute book, with this noted.

June 16th

Letter from Sir John Usher sent to George Bain, conveying his thanks to the Library Committee.

June 16, 1899

George Bain, Esq.,


I am favoured with yours of the 14t inst., forming me of the kind action of the Library Committee in placing upon the minutes their congratulations on the honour done me by her Majesty. Will you convey to the Committee my sincere thanks and appreciation of their action.

I am,


Yours truly,

(signed) John Usher

Chapter 4

1900 – 1930

24th March

Sir John Usher dies.

12th April

The Library Committee instructs the librarian to send their sincere condolences to Sir Robert Usher of his father’s death and an excerpt of the minute with death of Sir John Usher recorded.

10th May

Letter received from Sir Robert Usher dated 18th April to thank the Library Committee for the sincere condolences.


1st June

Special meeting of the Library Committee held. The Committee informed by the Librarian that the bust and pedestal of the late Sir John Usher had arrived from Sir Robert Usher the son of the late Sir John Usher. The Committee instructed the Librarian to correspond with Sir Robert Usher, to thank him for his generous gift of the bust and pedestal of his late father, also to inform Sir Robert of a formal unveiling of the bust. It was agreed that the bust and the pedestal would be unveiled in the Reading Room and placed there in the meantime.

14th June

Letter from Sir Robert Usher was read out to the Committee.


Ratho Station,


7th June 1906.

Dear Sir – I am obliged by your letter of the 5th inst., and am glad indeed to hear that the Committee of the Wick Free Library are pleased with the bust of my late father, as well as the pedestal and inscription. I do not think it necessary, or, indeed advisable, to have a formal unveiling, but would prefer that the bust should be set up at once in the place prepared for it.

I am,

Sincerely yours,


Robert Usher.

The grateful thanks of the Committee were voted to Sir Robert Usher, for his generous gift. The librarian instructed by the Committee to send an excerpt of the foregoing minute to Sir Robert Usher.

Bust and pedestal placed in the Reading Room with the approval of the Committee presented.

The pedestal bears the following inscription: -

Sir John Usher, of Norton and Wells, Baronet, Supervisor of Pulteneytown. The donor of the site on which this library is erected. Presented by his son, Sir Robert

Usher, Baronet 1906.


25th January

Telegram from the railway station sent to George Bain, to pick up parcel from the railway station.

George Bain goes to the railway station to pick up parcel, waiting there was a stuffed crocodile. Its takes eight people to transport it to the library.

Committee informed crocodile received from Mr. Bignold arrived on the 25th of January.


8th July

The crocodile was removed from the museum and placed on the landing.


14th August

Librarian instructed by the Committee to express their sincere condolences to Mrs. Carnegie in her bereavement of the loss of her husband Mr Andrew Carnegie.

Excerpt from the report put in the Northern Ensign on the 20th August 1919, by the Wick Library Committee.

Mr Carnegie Interest in Wick Library.

“The Committee desire to note in their minutes the passing away of Mr Andrew Carnegie, of Skibo, who, from his princely donations to libraries in the English-speaking world, occupied a place in the literary world that was altogether unique. Mr Carnegie, since the time the freedom of burgh was bestowed on him the 5th of August 1890, showed a warm regard for the Wick Public Library, and it through his large handsome gifts that Wick has such splendid building in which the books are housed. Only yesterday the latest token of his interest in our institution was received. It is a quarto volume, printed on hand made paper, and is entitled ‘Final Act of Second Pan-American Congress.’ The fame of his name as a munificent giver is world-wide, and his magnificent gifts to the Scottish Universities has made the stuff of knowledge easier than it would otherwise have been for many humble Scottish students.”

9th October

The Committee receives a letter from Mrs. Louise Carnegie thanking them for their sincere condolences.


25th March

Appointment of Librarian delayed until the 30th March, list of applicants received.

Sinclair Gray


D. M. Calder

County Rates Office, Wick

John Dunnet

6 Grant Street, Wick

D. G. Henderson

Elize Manse, Wick

George A. Sutherland

Brough, Dunnet

John M. Glass

2 Maclean Terrace, Wick

Daniel Sutherland

8 Albert Street, Wick

30th March

George Bain becomes Consulting Librarian after his faithful and loyal services to the library and the Committee, and a new Librarian is appointed to Wick Library, Mr. Daniel Sutherland. His position will be acting librarian.

8th April

Rules of Contract of Acting Librarian

1. That you shall be Acting Librarian & Mr George Bain Consulting Librarian.

2. That your whole time shall be devoted to the work of the Library and you shall not absent yourself without leave of the Committee and that you shall perform all duties which may be required of you by the Committee and carry out all instructions which may be given to you.

3. That the Library shall be open and personally supervised by you daily (except Sunday) from ten o’clock a.m. to ten o’clock p.m., excepting the weekly half holiday and other days prescribed by the Committee, and you shall be responsible for seeing that order is maintained in the building and that no noise or disturbance of any kind is permitted.

4. That you shall attend all meetings of the Committee or Sub Committee, take & record the minutes of such meetings and conduct all correspondence with the Library.

5. That you shall keep correct books & accounts in connection with the Library and all sums received by you on account of the Library.

6. That you shall be paid a salary of £2 per week – commenced on 31st Ult., the salary to be paid monthly.

7. That your engagement shall be held to have commenced on 31st Ult., and shall be terminable by one months notice on either side.


11th August

The Committee offers to Mr. John Glass the position Assistant Librarian.


14th January

Mr George Bain, consulting librarian and former librarian of Wick Library dies at his home.

13th February

Letter from Committee sent to Mr. Miller, the nearest relative of George Bain, Librarian, of their condolences on the death of Mr. George Bain.

19th June

Daniel Sutherland, Librarian dismissed by the Library Committee and the post of librarian to be advertised in the local papers and the Scotsman, open to men or women applicants.

31st July

The Library Committee receives the list of applicants and after consideration they sent the applications to the Sub-Committee to draw up a short leet by next full meeting of the Committee.

George Nicolson Partick
George Ballantyne Edinburgh
David Sutherland Wick
John McKenzie Wick
Alexr. A. Taylor Edinburgh
Wm. M. Laing Portobella
R. H. Chapell Edinburgh
Alexr. Finlayson Wick
Wm. J. N. Douglas Glasgow
Wm. M. Dickie M. A., Huntly
Edward G. Manson Wick
Alexr. Small Dundee
Jas. H. Fraser Wick
Peter MacAdie Wick
Daniel Clark Wick
Prof. Emile Chardone
Isabel Donn London
Jas. G. Graham Edinburgh
Nicol Pentland Edinburgh
Robert C. Kerr Barrhead
John M. Glass Wick
Helen S. Wilson Edinburgh
Frederick R. Montagu Moffat
George A. Sutherland Dunnet
Peter McKenzie Wick
Wm. McKenzie Occumster
Harry Liepitz Edinburgh
John Sutherland Wick
John Calder Edinburgh
D. W. Milligan Wick
Tom E. Bain Wick
Jas. D. Grandison Latheron

10th August

The Sub-Committee draws up a short leet of three applicants.

Wm. M. Dickie Huntly
John M. Glass Wick
D. W. Milligan Wick

14th August

Meeting of the Library Committee to decide which applicant receives the post of Librarian.

The Committee resolve that two other names to added to the short leet, John MacKenzie & Alexr. Finlayson. No other nominations being submitted.

They held a vote for the five candidates with the following results:

Mr. Milligan 8 votes

Mr. Glass 5 votes

Mr. Mackenzie 3 votes

No votes were cast for the other two candidates. And one spoilt paper. Mr. Milligan not having a clear majority, another vote had to been done this time between Mr. Mackenzie and Mr. Glass, result as follows:

Mr. Mackenzie 10 votes

Mr. Glass 7 votes

In the final vote between Mr. Milligan and Mr. Mackenzie the results as follows:

Mr. Milligan 9 votes

Mr. Mackenzie 8 votes

Mr. Milligan was duly appointed to the post of Librarian.

4th September

The Finance Committee meets and they agree the terms and the conditions of the Librarian’s Contract.

1. That he shall be Librarian and have the help of an Assistant.

2. That his whole time shall be devoted to the work of the Library including the Education Authority’s Rural Library and the Museum, and he shall not absent himself without leave of the Committee, and he shall perform all duties which may be required of him by the Committee and carry out all instructions which may be given by them.

3. That the Library shall be kept open and personally supervised by him or the Assistant daily (except Sunday) from 10 o’clock a.m. to 10 o’clock p.m. The hours of attendance of the Librarian and his Assistant including half holidays shall be submitted for approval by the Committee, and the Librarian shall be responsible for seeing that order is maintained in the building and that no noise or disturbance of any kind is permitted.

4. That he shall attend all meetings of the Committee or Sub-Committee, take and record the minutes of such meetings and conduct all correspondence necessary in connection with the library.

5. That he shall keep correct books and accounts showing all sums received and disbursed in connection with the Library, and regularly pay into the Bank account all sums received by him on the account of the Library, The Librarian’s books to be audited monthly as at present.

6. That he shall be paid a salary of £200 per annum, the salary to be paid monthly.

That his engagement shall commence on 1st prox. and shall be terminable by one month’s notice on either side.

Foreword & Acknowledgements
Chapter 1  Libraries in Wick and Pulteneytown before 1887
Chapter 2 1887 – 1891
Chapter 3 1891 – 1900
Chapter 4 1900 – 1930
Chapter 5 1930 – 1975
Chapter 6 1975 – Present
Chapter 7 Librarians
Photo Gallery