Literary link of stained glass

Pat Rumbold, framer John Dawson and Colin Waite present the glass to Greg Kubas. Picture ' Adrian Murray
Pat Rumbold, framer John Dawson and Colin Waite present the glass to Greg Kubas. Picture ' Adrian Murray

A symbolic stained glass window from Ripon’s literary and cultural past has been saved and restored by the combined efforts of three retired people.

The glass – which belonged to Ripon’s first purpose built library on Skellgarths in 1937 – will now go on show at the current library site on The Arcade.

Saving the glass came about through a casual remark made by former senior library assistant Pat Rumbold at one of the Wakeman Lectures at Thorpe Prebend House.

“I was talking about the old library to former Riponian, Colin Waite, at the time,” said Pat. “During our conversation I mentioned that one of my regrets was not being able to save for possible display the stained glass window from above the entrance doorway, depicting the torch of knowledge and enlightenment, which was adopted by the former West Riding County Council as an emblem for the library service.”

Colin, who now lives in Killinghall, was able to track down the man who bought the building, York-based developer Tom Laverack, who made sure the glass was safely removed during demolition work and donated it free. After receiving the panel at her home in Ripon, Pat and her husband Raymond took it to Askrigg-based stained glass restorer, Dave Wardman, for advice on how best to get the image back to its original condition.

“He did a superb job for us,” said Pat who, together with Colin, paid for the restoration work to be done before handing it over to a third member of their Thorpe Prebend team, John Dawson. Putting his interest in practical joinery to good use, John, of Burton Leonard, made a a free standing beech wood frame display board for the glass panel.

With the project complete, Pat – who still does relief work in Ripon, Harrogate and Starbeck libraries – approached Ripon library’s service development officer, Greg Kubas, to ask if he would agree to this link from the old library being displayed in its modern replacement. It will feature in the Sights and Sounds of Ripon event at the library on Saturday, March 14, and go on permament display later in the year.