Frank Skinner: British Library ‘thugs’ humiliated my 6-year-old nephew, lover of Samuel Pepys, when they refused to show him the writer’s famous diary
- Skinner claimed that the staff refused to show the famous diary of his nephew Samuel Pepys
- He also claimed that an employee questioned the six-year-old about Pepys’ date of birth.
Comedian Frank Skinner has criticized British Library staff for humiliating his six-year-old nephew during a recent visit.
The star claimed that Elliott, who has a passion for the Great Fire of London and writer Samuel Pepys, was left ‘down’ when an officious clerk refused to let him see Pepys’ world-famous diary.
Adding insult to injury, the staff member also insisted on testing the boy’s knowledge of Pepys by asking him to say the writer’s date of birth.
Skinner, whose wife Cathy Mason is the sister of Elliott’s mother, Rachel, recounted his nephew’s ordeal on a recent edition of his show on Absolute Radio.
He said: ‘They took him to the British Library to see Samuel Pepys’ diary, which I thought was a good idea.’ So, they got there, and the guy said something like, the usual British Library thing: ‘We’ve got it, but you can’t look at it.’
Comedian Frank Skinner (pictured) has criticized British Library staff for humiliating his six-year-old nephew during a recent visit.
Skinner said the staffer insisted on evaluating Elliott, whose father is Jack Thorne, writer of the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, when a woman in the family tried to plead the boy’s case.
The star added: “She said, ‘He’s a bit of a Samuel Pepys fan,’ and the guy said, ‘When was he born?’
‘Elliott did not know and went from pride to crestfallen. What has gone wrong with the British Library? A great institution.
‘Do you think the real staff are in a back room with their hands tied behind their backs and sticking plaster over their mouths…?
“A six-year-old boy proud to know who Samuel Pepys was. Bullies.
Skinner also criticized London’s central library for denying him permission to film Alexander Pope-related items from its collection for his upcoming Sky TV documentary on the 18th-century poet. He said that both experiences had led him to see the library in a different light.
He added: ‘Can I just say that, in essence, I love the British Library and have had many, many happy moments there?
‘But it’s terribly gone.’
Skinner’s critiques are still available on a podcast based on the Child Catcher-Outer show.
Last night, a spokesman for the British Library said: “We always want to extend a warm welcome to all our visitors to the library, so we are sorry to hear that Frank’s nephew had a disappointing experience on his recent visit here.”
The spokesperson added: “We have reached out to Frank to offer Elliott and his family a behind-the-scenes tour with one of our curators, and hope he makes amends.” Skinner was not available for comment last night.