Then one day a noisy bird came to rest on the rock—and began to annoy the rock with its endless chatter.Despite their hostile beginnings, the two began a friendship that evolved and changed over many years.It was in this modest space that the organisation’s Library collection began to be assembled.
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Seventy-four people were present at the time; one member was killed and another injured, and two members of staff badly hurt.
Full restoration of the Society's Northumberland Avenue headquarters was completed in 1957; the building was officially re-opened by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and a grand Festival organised to celebrate the event.
The Sunday Times of 14 April 1957 noted that the nose of the 16/17 April 1941 bomb was displayed in a prominent position, reflecting "the true spirit of British sportsmanship." Enthusiasm may seem to have surrounded the Commonwealth in the 1950s, but political tides began to flow against the Society; for example, newsroom space was taken for the fledgling Voluntary Service Overseas (1961-3), which began life under the wing of the Royal Commonwealth Society.
The Society's first librarian was appointed in 1869, and the first salaried librarian, Australian-born Joseph Sylvester O'Halloran, in 1885.
The person mainly responsible for the Library's remarkable development and international reputation was Evans Lewin, Master Librarian for thirty-six years, 1910-1946.