Today we visited Westminster Abbey Library. The entrance to the library was like something out of a movie! Dr. Welsh led us to two large wooden doors. There was a gold sign on one door that read:
LIBRARIAN AND KEEPER OF THE MUNIMENTS
|Librarian and Keeper of the Muniments|
Dr Welsh approached the door and had to contact the librarian through a speaker. He then "buzzed us in." Dr Welsh opened the door that lead to the steps ascending to the library and it felt like an adventure was about to begin.
We are greeted by Dr. Tony Trowles, Librarian and Head of the Abbey Collection. He tells us about the collection, the building and his job duties.
He tells us that the location where the library is was once the bedroom of the Abbey monks. It is strange to think that this room of books was once a giant bedroom full of monks!
The collection of items housed at the Westminster Abbey library pertain to the history of The Abbey and various Royalties. The library collection was gathered through gifts of items, as well as some purchases. The entire Abbey collection is reference only. If someone would like to visit the collection to view items it is suggested that they contact the library in advance.
There are various display cases throughout the library that contain old texts and we walk by and look into them. All of the shelves are roped off so we cannot walk down the aisles. Everything here is so old and delicate.
We did not visit the Muniments Room, which is a records storage room. In that room there are records from the beginning of the Abbey that go back to 1065!!!
Westminster Abbey was founded as a church in 1560. This building has been used as a library since 1591.
|Westminster Abbey Library courtesy of http://www.westminster-abbey.org/library-and-research|
Libraries like Westminster Abbey are the reason I chose to take this course. Will there ever be another time in my life when I would have the opportunity to visit Westminster Abbey Library? It is highly unlikely.
Sadly for me it was an extremely hot day in London. I felt like I was going to faint. As we were a large group and the library is very small, I had to make my way down the stairs quickly after our discussion. I wish it had been cooler so I could have focused better.