I've found some good stuff in the Courtney Library and received useful help from the Librarian but I was sad to learn when trying to arrange a visit that use of the library is now restricted to members of the Royal Institution of Cornwall. This costs £35 a year and is no doubt very good value for those resident in Cornwall or within easy visiting distance. I would be very happy to pay a daily fee for a casual visit once a year, say, but £35 seems a bit steep. I have made my feelings known to the Librarian but she seems to have little discretion in the matter. Let us hope that Courtney Library makes some progress to giving on-line access to its collection.
Well that's a very restrictive pain - I can't/won't pay £35 for the specific information I know of that I would like to view there one day.
Seems that the effect of such a fee is to limit users of the library to academics (who I believe still get in free by showing their credentials) and those who live down that way and wish/need to visit frequently (& of course those with ££s to splash around as well!)
Post by myghaelangof on Oct 27, 2013 7:30:31 GMT -5
I've just been looking at their website, and it appears a bit vague as to what they actually hold. Cornish "ephemera" including 40,000 books pamphlets etc. Is there a more detailed listing of their holdings, as it doesnt make much sense to part with £35, make an appointment, and still have to see if there is anything you want to view? Even then, as with other archives, you need to prebook your viewing material. I'm sure there would be useful resources for everyone.
"A name perpetual, and a fame permanent and immortal"
Some of the catalogue can be found through Access to Archives (A2A) if you choose the repository 'Royal Institution of Cornwall'. However I don't think the online catalogue is complete and indeed I've been told that one of the reasons for restricting access to the Courtney Library is to allow the staff and volunteers to make more of the collection available online. If you visit the library you can use the paper catalogue and benefit from the memory and experience of the librarian. One important resource is the Charles Henderson collection. Charles Henderson visited many family archives - such as the Hawkins family - in the early twentieth century and transcribed many documents which were not in the public record, some of which are now lost. From my own point of view, I found the Godolphin Great Work Mine Cost Book among other similar items, dating to 1759 to 1764 and one of the earliest cost books to survive - a great 'mine of information' for both mining and family historians!
I have used the Courtney Library many times in the past, and always found something that I did not know before there. They have a lot of original records. Not sure why access is now restricted like this.