CONTENTS 

 

     LIBRARY HISTORY
THE BRITISH ISLES - TO 1850

Introduction

England
Wales
Scotland
Ireland
Islands

Index
Types of Library
Societies
Sources
Statistics

Country House Libraries
Private Collections
Elizabethan Society of Antiquaries
Summary Statistics


Email:
r_alston@sunbeach.net

Barbados Address:
67 Ocean City
St.
Philip
Barbados
Tel/Fax: 246 416 9097

London Address:
30 Cliff Court
Cliff Road

London NW1 9AP

Tel: 07745 160140

 Updated: 22-02-07

 

 

 

 

 


TR00245A.gif (1685 bytes)
This database will shortly be transferred to the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London.

The Library History Database now contains information on over 27,000 libraries in the British Isles, and is based on over 1,200 published works. It is regularly updated, but additions and corrections are usually added to the main files for England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and the Islands. It takes much longer to get up-dates into the various long and complex subsidiary files.

 If you want to know more about the project - and the data in preparation - click on  Introduction  in the Contents Frame. Otherwise, just browse the 200+ files which this site offers.

Cultural historians have under-estimated the number of libraries available for reading, whether for entertainment or for self-improvement. As the data presented here demonstrates there was provision of print in almost every market town in the British Isles by the year 1820, and by 1850 in hundreds of villages with a population of less than 500 souls. The sheer variety of libraries so far discovered is quite extraordinary: libraries devoted to the arts and sciences; libraries in the workplace; libraries on omnibuses; libraries in inns; libraries on the estates of wealthy landowners provided for the workers; libraries associated with every type of society; village libraries provided by benevolent pastors.

My thanks to all those who have sent in corrections and/or additions. These are too numerous to acknowledge individually. I have receive emails about this database almost every day since 1998!

The three-volume Cambridge History of Libraries in Britain appeared late in 2006, and I received my copy a few days ago. I have been asked to review this immense undertaking (which I started many years ago) for The Library. Users of LHD may be puzzled to note that this contribution to library history has not been mentioned by any contributor in Volumes I and II, which deal with the period to 1850.

Robin Alston

 Home Page