For anyone interested in history, particularly local history and Anglican history, the Canterbury Cathedral Archives & Library is a wonderful place to visit – as a group of 18 of our Members and spouses found out recently. Here's an account of the trip.
The Archives & Library hold an impressive collection of manuscripts, historic records, photographs, maps and printed books dating back to the late 8th century. Together they make up an extraordinarily rich resource.
On the day of our visit our group gathered at the Archives and was greeted by the Head Archivist Cressida Williams and her team. After an introduction and description of the building they guided us around a very impressive display of old books, seals and maps – including a second edition of the King James Bible, which is exceedingly rare.
Astonishingly, the Library contains about 30,000 books and pamphlets printed before 1900. Some even date back to the fourteenth century! There is also an expanding collection of some 20,000 books and serials published in the 20th and 21st centuries. The Collections are particularly rich in books on church history, older theology, national and local history, travel, natural science, medicine and the anti-slavery movement
The Cathedral Archives building dates from 1954 and was built to replace a Victorian library destroyed by bombing in 1942. It was refurbished in 2012. The Howley-Harrison Library was rebuilt over the Infirmary Cloister in 1665. Thanks to generous grants from the Wolfson Foundation, English Heritage and the Friends of Canterbury Cathedral, it was recently restored to its splendid 19th century décor but with a 21st century twist.
We finished our visit with a most welcome cup of tea and biscuits, with Cressida and her knowledgeable team answering all our many questions. Our grateful thanks go out to them.
The trip was organised through our Vocational Committee, and we extend many thanks to Rotarian David Naumann for arranging a very pleasant afternoon.
Picture: Rotrarians, including President Margaret Griffin, enjoying tea after the visit. Picture credit: Alan Mepstead.
A few more pictures can be found on our Facebook page.