by Alan Duckworth
The reference library in the old Blackburn Library in Library Street was a solemn and sombre place. The sun never shone there and no voice was ever raised above a whisper. There was a monastic atmosphere and as a novice librarian I carried out my duties in a suitably reverent manner.
All that changed when Jessica Lofthouse appeared. The door would fly open and she would be there: a magnificent presence in flamboyant colours, twice as large as life, and life was pretty large in her case. She was without a scrap of self-consciousness and proclaimed her requirements in a loud voice.
I was more than a little overawed by her, but enthralled as well and looked forward to her visits as you look forward to the visits of a heavenly body. Sadly Jessica died in 1988. Many of her personal papers were passed on to the library and I was privileged to be able to peruse them and gain an insight into her character. I was even more privileged to be asked to write about her for Cotton Town. Jessica deserves a full-length biography by a more capable hand than mine, but I am honoured to have had the opportunity to create this small memorial to her.
To start reading about Jessica Lofthouse click here