Thursday, June 21, 2012

Case Study No. 0399: Anthony Beeson and the staff of Bristol Central Library

Haunted library - The Book - First Light
A group of children on a school outing to the local library discover some paranormal activity. This live action thriller is set in Bristol Central Library where a ghostly monk is said to haunt the galleries, but is he real? Is the library haunted?

Filmmakers Aged 10-11

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Added: 3 years ago
From: FirstLightMovies
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[scene opens with various shots of patrons and library staff milling about the Bristol Central Library, then cut to a middle-aged male librarian talking to a group of grade school students in front of an old fireplace]
MR. BEESON: This fireplace is the glory of this building, by the seventeenth-century wood carver Grinling Gibbons.
[cut to some "reaction" shots of the various students (they all seem bored)]
MR. BEESON: If you look at the carving, you find ... Dead birds. Dead fruit. All sorts of dead things carved into it.
[cut to a closeup of the painting above the fireplace]
MR. BEESON: And they surround a picture of an unknown sitter. If you look at it, it seems to look back, wherever you are in the room, and there are several people here who don't like being in this room alone with it at night.
[cut to the librarian looking at an old chair in the room]
MR. BEESON: After all that talk of death, this chair is also blood-soaked. It was used by Judge Jeffreys during the Bloody Assize, wherein King James the Second sent down the judge to the west country in order to punish rebels who had risen against him.
[camera pans around to show the students listening]
MR. BEESON: Over three hundred Somerset men died bloody and horrible deaths as a result ...
[cut to a closeup of the librarian as he sighs]
MR. BEESON: It's really quite a blood-stained thing ...
[cut to one young female student staring at the chair, as it appears to glow red before returning to normal]
[scene changes to more shots of patrons using the library, then cut to the librarian and his students standing in a room on one of the balconies in the upper level]
MR. BEESON: Now, this gallery is called the Haunted Gallery. The reason it's called that is because we occasionally see an apparition, possibly a monk.
[cut to more reaction shots from the students]
MR. BEESON: On this site, in the Middle Ages, there was a monastery, and we think that he's somebody left over from those days.
[cut to a closeup of the librarian]
MR. BEESON: Another somewhat disturbing story about this gallery is that a hundred years ago, a senior member of the staff disappeared when coming up here. Nobody knew what happened to him, and he was never seen again. He disappeared searching for the Lost Room.
[cut to a closeup of the same female student, as another female student taps her on the shoulder]
MR. BEESON: Somewhere within the building, there is this room, a forgotten room ...
[cut to another shot of the librarian as he begins looking at a bookshelf behind him]
MR. BEESON: That reminds me, I've got a very interesting quote ...
[the student taps her friend on the shoulder again, and this time they sneak away giggling]
MR. BEESON: [from off camera] "Abbeys and Castles and Ancient Halls of Great Britain" ... Now that has a lovely quote.
[cut to the two students (now alone) looking out at the library from another balcony]
ZOE: Wow, this place is so old!
ABBIE: It's so boring!
[as she looks down at a comic book she snuck into her notebook, Zoe continues looking out of the balcony, when she focuses on what appears to be a cloaked figure in the opposite gallery (which disappears before she can tell Abbie about it)]
ZOE: Whoa, did you ... Did you see that?
[she points, but Abbie looks up and sees nothing]
[cut to Zoe (by herself) looking at a shelf of old books]
ZOE: Hmm ...
[she bends down and pulls out a large book from the bottom shelf ... but as she's about to open it, she hears creaking coming from the nearby staircase]
ZOE: Hello?
[she gets up and starts looking around for the source of the noise]
ZOE: Hello?
[she turns the corner, when Abbie jumps out to scare her]
ZOE: Oh Abbie, that's not funny!
ABBIE: Well, I think it is ... Anyway, this place gives me the creeps.
ZOE: I like it. I don't know, it's a bit--
ABBIE: Uh, boring?
[she gets in her face and takes a big bite out of an apple she was carrying, but Zoe just shakes her head in bemusement and returns to the book ... she opens it, and a weird glow seems to emanate from the pages of demonic woodcut illustrations with Latin text]
[she slowly turns the pages (as the sounds of someone whispering can be heard), when she stops and reads aloud a single passage which appears on the page in bold letters]
ZOE: "Clavi monachus liberabitur" ...
[she repeats the phrase, as the whispering gets louder (and more demonic) while repeating the phrase as well]
ZOE: "Clavi monachus liberabitur" ... "Clavi monachus liberabitur".
[several closeups of the book's illustration flash quickly across the screen, then cut to Zoe (apparently having lost consciousness) waking up on the floor with a large gold key next to her]
[she gets up, picks up the key, then walks out onto the balcony and looks over the (now empty) library ... when she suddenly sees the cloaked figure standing across from her in the opposite gallery]
[as the figure slowly fades away, Zoe makes a run for it, only to find that all of the doors are locked]
[cut to Zoe as she tries to make her way out of the main hall, but chairs begin moving on their own to block her path]
[cut to Zoe running down the stairs (as a shadowy figure seems to be following her), when she makes her way to the downstairs stacks ... As she runs past the shelves (and books begin falling down on their own), she looks back and sees the cloaked figure (now dressed all in red) following her]
[cut to Zoe reaching the end of the hallway, where she finds a closed door ... She takes the key and opens the door, where she finds a man in a top hat (with his back to her) sitting in the blood-soaked chair from before (only now it appears to be brand new and fully upholstered)]
[cut to Zoe slowly approaching the man, when he turns to reveal that it's Mister Beeson]
[cut to Zoe with a relieved look on her face, only the camera pans around to show that the man has been replaced with the cloaked figure (although the ghostly visage of the librarian's likeness appears where his face should be)]
[Zoe screams, then several closeups of the book's illustrations flash quickly across the screen again, then cut to Abbie sitting on the floor (reading her comic book while biting into her apple]
[cut to Zoe slowly turning the corner with a blank expression on her face]
ABBIE: What'sa matter, Zoe? You look as though you've seen the monk out there ...
[without reacting, Zoe turns and looks at the staircase behind them]
ABBIE: Wait, he's coming.
[the sounds of someone climbing the staircase can be heard]
ABBIE: It's only Mister Beeson ...
[cut back to the staircase, as the ghostly image of the red-cloaked monk fades into view]
ABBIE: What'sa matter? You're gonna get us busted!
[Zoe slowly backs away (as the camera focuses on the bookshelf which obscures our view of Abbie) then makes a run for it, as the monk materializes out of thin air ... We hear Abbie scream (as a bright light envelopes the bookshelf and smoke emanates from behind it), then he turns to the camera as the scene fades to black]

Zoe - Zoe James
Abbie - Abbie Massiah
Mr Beeson - Anthony Beeson
Monk - David Thompson
Students - Tom Barton, Tiffany Hughes, Amy Phillips, Mitchell Pope

A Film by
Connor Caddick
Fabien Mokharti
Jack Peacock

Supported by
Louie Blystad-Collins
Jen Noble
Jeremy Routledge
David Thompson
Marina Traversari
Valentina Cavallini

Thanks to
Jane Choules
Anthony Beeson
All the staff at Bristol Central Library
Paul Bradley
Shani Ali
Room 13 Hareclive
Hareclive Primary School
Creative Partnerships Bristol

callingtheshots dot co dot uk

A film created in association with First Light Movies



Production organisation Calling The Shots Films Ltd
Date completed 31 October 2006
Location Bristol
Region South West

A group of children on a school outing to the local library discover spooky goings-on. This live action thriller is set in Bristol Central Library where a ghostly monk is said to haunt the galleries, but is he real?
Length 08' 49"
Aged 10-11



A film made by Bristol primary school children is a finalist in a prestigious competition. Your online vote for the film could see them win the Best Film by 12s and Under category at the First Light Movies Awards 2007.

Three films are in the running for the prestigious award including The Book, an atmospheric film created by a group of 10 and 11-year-olds from Hareclive Primary School.

They worked with the film production company Calling the Shots to create The Book.

It is set in Bristol's Central Library where a group of children learn about a ghostly monk that haunts the galleries, but is he real?

The awards are organised by First Light Movies, an initiative to promote film-making for young people.

The three nominated films are being screened in the online cinema of First Light Movies' new website

Up against the Bristol film are Bubbletown, made by children from Norwich, and The Princess and the Pendant, made by youngsters from County Durham. You can watch their films on Film Street too.



Bristol Central Library, Reference Library.

The gray-robed monk who haunts Bristol Cathedral is said to visit the library next door to consult theological books.



For almost 40 years, he has worked at the Bristol Central Library as the city's art librarian.

However, Anthony Beeson will not be saying goodbye to the library for good as he has pledged to return as a volunteer to sort through four decades of his paperwork.

Mr Beeson will also return to carry out research for books and papers he hopes to write on his wide range of interests, which include Roman mosaics and the history of Bristol.

While not at the library, he will be engaging in his other passion – designing models of dinosaurs that an Anglo-Chinese company then make and sell across the world.

This sideline started when he bought a model from the company from eBay, wrote to them pointing out some anatomical inaccuracies, and was recruited as their principal designer.

The toy dinosaurs are now on sale at shops including Borders on the Clifton Triangle.

Mr Beeson, 61, from Coombe Dingle, said that his fascination with dinosaurs and the Roman world started as a little boy growing up in Brighton.

"I've certainly kept in touch with my childhood," the committed bachelor said. "I have not been afraid to stay much as a child in many ways.

"I have a great feeling that what enthrals us at the age of seven or eight stays with us for the rest of our lives, often there in the background just waiting to come to the fore."

Mr Beeson moved to the Central Library in 1972 from the Courtauld Institute of Art's library to take up the appointment of fine art librarian and to run the recently founded specialist Fine Art Library.

He had only been to Bristol once before, to visit Blaise Castle as a boy, and only initially envisaged staying in the city for three years before moving on.

But he was soon captivated by the library and by the city, both of which he went on to write books about, including Bristol in 1807, which looked at life in the year the slave trade was abolished.

Mr Beeson said: "I have had such great enjoyment working at the library, with some fabulous and very knowledgeable staff, and on the whole I think that I have had a jolly good career.

"The first time I walked into the Central Library, I was overwhelmed by this building and its magnificence.

"Every day I can still say that I count myself blessed that I work in such a wonderful building with such a wonderful book stock."

Mr Beeson has been instrumental in the library's scheme of allowing the public to handle books.

During his long career, he has been committed to opening up the library and its treasures to more people and for that, he should be truly commended.

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