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Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

Staff and Governance

To contact the IMEMS administrative office please use the following details:

For the Administrator (maternity cover)


T: 0191 334 6574

For the Administrative Assistant


T: 0191 334 42974


Associate Director (World Heritage): Professor Robin Coningham - view profile

Associate Director: Professor Barbara Ravelhofer - view profile

Core Staff

The day-to-day running of IMEMS is the responsibility of the Core Executive Committee, comprising the Director and Associate Directors and the Administrator. 

Publication details

Scarre, Geoffrey (2017). ‘The compages, the bonds and rivets of the race’ W. E. Gladstone on the keeping of books. Library and Information History 33(3): 182-194.

Author(s) from Durham


For the great Victorian Liberal statesman and Prime Minister W. E. Gladstone, books were the ‘voices of the dead’ and ‘a main instrument of communication with the vast human procession of the other world’. Gladstone's 1890 article ‘On Books and the Housing of Them’ combines a celebration of the value and civilizing influence of books with practical suggestions for the organization of an academic library. Unlike such contemporaries as Sir Thomas Phillipps and the Earls of Crawford, Gladstone was a book-lover rather than a bibliomane, who bought books for their contents rather than their rarity or beauty. The residential library of St. Deiniol's, North Wales (now renamed Gladstone's Library), which he established towards the end of his life primarily to serve the needs of Anglican clergymen, follows the spirit of his 1890 paper and adopts many of its practical suggestions. Like Antonio Panizzi of the British Museum, his friend of many years, Gladstone was particularly concerned with the problem of how libraries could accommodate the ever-increasing number of books without becoming mere book warehouses. Gladstone's solution was to shelve books according to their ‘sociability’, so that less sociable items could be relegated to mobile shelving or other maximum-density storage areas. Libraries, for Gladstone, should be not only well-organized and efficiently run repositories of research material but friendly and welcoming centres of scholarship and meeting places for readers. In a well-run library, scholars should be able to enjoy the society of books and of one another. Gladstone's Library continues to this day to realize the high ideals set by its founder, providing to researchers the opportunity for scholarly collaboration which Gladstone though essential in the evening of the age of the solitary scholar.

Full Executive Committee

Our Full Executive Committee is made up of the Core Executive Committee, listed above, plus a number of executive members including:

International Advisory Board

We are extremely fortunate to have be able to call on the help and guidance of colleagues from around the world who help to shape and guide our direction, strategy and international reach. Our current Advisory Board members are: