The Times/1924/Obituary/Charles Welch

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Mr. Charles Welch

The City of London heard with much regret of the death on Monday of Mr. Charles Welch, F.S.A., who for many years was the Librarian of the Guildhall. He was in his 76th year, and has been in retirement since 1906.

The son of a physician at Hackney, Mr. Welch was born on July 21, 1848, and was sent to the City of London School under Dr. Mortimer. On leaving school joined at once the then small staff in the Guildhall Library, which consisted of a librarian and two assistants. During his service of more than 40 years he helped the library to develop into the largest in London, next to the British Museum. In the last year of the old library the attendances numbered just over 14,000, but in the first year of the new library, which was built in 1872, they were over 170,000. Mr. Welch compiled the original book catalogue, and later on laid down the plan of the present excellent card index. This index was one result of the International Conference of Librarians held at the London Institution in 1877, and it has since been adopted as a model by many public libraries in the kingdom.

On the history and antiquities of the City Mr. Welch became an authority second only to the late Dr. R. R. Sharpe. He wrote lives of civic worthies in the "Dictionary of National Biography," and contributed to the Victoria County Histories. With the late Canon Benham he wrote "Medieval London"; he edited the register of freeman in the time of Henry VIII., the old churchwardens' accounts of Allhallows', London-wall, and a facsimile of Ogilby and Morgan's map of London, 1677, and published a book on their coat armour. He wrote the history of the Cutlers' Company, of which he was a past Master, and with which his family had been connected since 1617, of the Paviors' Company, of which he as a member of the Court, and of the Pewterers' Company; he was also a liveryman of the Clockmakers' and Gardeners' Companies. His "Modern History of the City of London, which justifies its title, is of great value to the student. He also wrote books on London Bridge and on London coins. He was actively associated with the London and Middlesex Archæological Society, the Society of Antiquaries, the Hakluyt Society, the Bibliographical Society, and the Library Association. Mr. Welch fond of vocal music, especially choir and part singing, and he was at one time a licensed lay reader of the diocese of London. He leaves a widow, four sons, one of whom is assistant librarian at the Guildhall, and six daughters.

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