From the Library's website.
My reason to go to this exhibition was twofold. First was out of curiosity to visit the British Library, after all they hold first and second editions of my book, "Step by Step Guitar Making", and secondly and most importantly, I wanted to see the exhibits of successful writers notebooks. As a not-yet published author of novels I thought it would be inspirational to see how others, who precede me, went about putting down their thoughts and ideas on to paper. I was so reassured as a writer when I saw, for instance this page of typescript, with corrections, from J G Ballard's "Crash". It could even be one of my pages of writing.
This example, as are others, are photo'd from the book "Writing Britain" which I purchased when at the exhibition, paid full price for the hardback.
Sketching with a pen wasn't a hindrance for John Betjeman. This is his sketch of Dalston station in London. The station was closed in 1986 and now, sadly, no longer exists. It was destroyed in the building of the East London Line extension which forms the new link from Dalston junction to Croydon.
There were at least one hundred exhibits of notebooks and pages from notepads on display. I used up two fountain pens worth of ink while taking notes on ten pages of A4 paper.
There was a policy of no photography in force and probably for a good reason, most of the writing could suffer from exposure to the light given off from camera flashes, which would have been necessary due to the very low levels of light. This in itself gave me a problem, till I get my new glasses I am reading with 1.5 eyes. The surgery on my right eye has been a success, even improved, unfortunately the doctor does't operate on spectacles.
Some observations about the writing on display, The older the writing the smaller and neater the writing. All written in ink, which probably obviated the use of pencil due to the required accuracy and readability of the prose. Maybe the possible cost of paper had an influence of the size of writing, some as small as our equivalent font size 4. The example of Charlotte Bronte's writing from "Shirley" chapter 2, first page shows her perfect, almost copper plate, style of writing. No corrections or changes shown in the example. Compare that with the example from J G Ballard's example above.
Seeing a first-hand slice of writing history, from Shakespeare to J K Rowling, has re-kindled the desire to continue with my writing. As I wandered round the exhibition during my two and a half hour visit I experienced one of those rare, "Coming Home" feelings, I truly believe I belong in the world of creative writing.