Bothwell Literary Society

Bothwell main street in 1870 (AOT, PH30/1/768)

The Bothwell Literary Society, instigated by the Rev James Garrett, first met in June 1834 as a debating society with the topic, 'whether is knowledge conducive to human happiness' (sic). A library was formed and lectures were held during the winter months. Members included Phineas Moss the police clerk, Dr Edward Swarbreck Hall and Hugh Munro Hull. John Mitchel, the Irish exile, wrote in 1852, 'Bothwell has a very tolerable public library, such library as no village of similar population in Ireland had'.

By the century's end interest waned, lectures had ceased and the book-stock was outdated. In the Society's last major acquisition, the MLC for Derwent, Walter Gellibrand, donated 81 books in 1892. Many of the Society's records are extant, as is part of the library.

Mary Ramsay