Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Saint Paul's Cathedral Library

Monday, July 4th

Saint Paul's Cathedral's librarian is Joe Wisdom. Today he led us on a tour up into the triforum level of the cathedral where the library is housed. In 1666, London was struck by the Great Fire and the cathedral sustained a bit of damage. Again during WWII, the cathedral was under attack by Hitler's blitzkrieg and survived that assault thanks to the many volunteers that ensured the roof wouldn't catch on fire. During that time the library had been moved to a safer location, a cave in northern Wales. Then the collection was returned after the war.

By 1706 the library's collection was mostly completed. A former bishop had donated his personal library of nearly 2,000 books. In mid-nineteenth century, the librarian by the name of Simpson created a more universal library therefore the library ceased to be an entirely theological library. Now the ascension policy is to have books about religion to be a priority, followed by books about St. Paul's cathedral.

Today's users come to use the library for a variety of reasons. Lately there has been a novelist who is writing a book that spans the time from the mid-seventeenth century to the Blitzkrieg of WWII. Another visitor was a researcher of early music. There has also been a researcher of Donne's sermons. Last but not least, there are those researchers of genealogy who stop by from time to time.

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