Plymouth Central Library open doors to unknown treasures
This weekend, the public have a chance to see what is hiding behind the curtains at Plymouth Central Library. As part of the Heritage Open Days, the library are offering free guided tours that includes a chance to view rare books, learn about the history of the library and see areas of the library the public does not usually get to see.
The tour includes stops in the basement where the library keep most of the books of local or historical interest and a stop in St. Luke's church across the stress where the library store part of their collection.
"One thing we have in St. Luke's is the sets of music notes and play books for choirs and musical productions. We are one of three places in the whole of Britain who offer this sort of service and last year 75.000 people form Inverness to Penzance either used them or attended productions where they had been used," a member of staff said.
Upstairs, you can see the gallery and find some quite old graffiti. In the area where the organist used to sit, a watermark has been left on one of the walls. It's a picture of King Edward VII's horse Minoru that won the Derby in 1909.
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Several of the visitors on the tour spoke to thisisplymouth about their experiences.
"I love these behind the scenes tours and it has been good. Visiting the church was both a good and sad experiece. Seeing a building like that in a state of disrepair is a bit like walking around in an echo of what used to be," Dave Eyley from Plympton said.
After the tour, there was a chance to look at some of the valuable and rare books the library owns. One was an illustrated volume of the Birds of Britain. The complete four volume set would fetch up to £80.000 at aution.
"I have always loved books and that is why I came today. And some of the things we have seen have been amazing. It makes you wonder why more of it is not on display in the main library," Dave Perry from Crown Hill said.
Plymouth Central Library was first opened on its present site in 1910. It was destroyedduring the blitz in 1941. Luckily the Winnicott Memorial stained glass window and some of the library's literary treasures had been sent to Buckland Abbey for before the war and survived.
The library offers the free tours on:
Friday 7 September: Tours at 10am and 2pm
Saturday 8 September: Tours at 10am and 2pm
Booking is per telephone 01752 305903 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
See the pictures from the guided tour here: