1. We Have Trustees and Directors on Our Board
Because we were set up with a deed of trust there are two types of board members, the Trustees whose names are on the deed of trust and Directors who make up the rest of the board. The entire board administer the overall running of the Athenaeum, while the Librarian deals with the day to day running.
2. The First Trustees and Directors Were Appointed by our Founder
Rock appointed 4 Trustees and 5 Directors to the Board. In addition to this there were two ex-officio places on the Board for the current and former Mayor of Barnstaple.
3. Our Founder was Never one of our Directors
Although Rock set up and funded the Athenaeum he did not sit on the Board. He did, however, give instructions on how the Directors should run his institution.
4. In the early days it wasn’t unusual for Board members to be related to each other.
Several of our early board members were related to each other. Trustee, Charles Edward Roberts Chanter was John Roberts Chanter’s son and John Brewer his brother-in-law. John Brewer’s son, John Henry Latham Brewer, also went on to become one of our Directors.
5. John Brewer’s Father had been the Land Steward to the Fortescue Family.
Daniel Tremlett Brewer served as land steward for many years and was given a silver salver on his retirement. The salver was eventually given to us and is now on display in the Guildhall.
6. Charles Brannam had been taught by fellow Director, Alexander Lauder.
Two of our first directors had something else in common, Lauder had taught art at the Barnstaple Literary and Scientific Institute and had taught Brannam, he went on to become Brannam’s mentor. Brannam would also stay with William Frederick Rock when he visited London.
7. One of our First Trustees was also a Supporter of the Women’s Suffrage Movement
William Philip Hiern was one of the first four Trustees to be appointed by Rock, he was also a supporter of the National Women’s Union Suffrage Society. In November 1913 he attended a meeting organised by Miss Rosalie Chichester of Arlington where he said he had been “a very old friend of that movement, his connection with it going back over half a century.” [North Devon Herald 4th December 1913 page 3 column f]
8. The First Female Director Joined the Board in 1937
Miss Dorothy Crosskey served on the Board until 1962, she may also have served as an assistant librarian for a time in 1918. Dorothy was joined by Olive Harper in 1947.
9. Two Librarians Have Gone on to Become Board Members
After their retirement both Alfred Blackwell and John Rowe became Directors.
10. Two of our Directors Have Gone on to Become Benefactors
Both Bruce William Oliver and John Maxwell Rowe became benefactors on their deaths. Not only did they leave us a substantial number of items for our collections, they also left us property and money which enabled us to look after those items in our care.