Bridget Warrington and Brian Stagg will jointly present this webinarThursday 21st October 2021 at 7.30

The Trigge Library was founded in 1598 by the Revered Francis Trigge who was Rector of Welbourn, a village 13 miles north of Grantham. The library is housed in St Wulfram’s Church and was the first public reference collection in Britain where its care and security were the responsibility of the town’s civic authority. It is situated in a room over the south porch of the church accessed via a narrow stone spiral staircase, and has remained there for over four hundred years. For additional security when the library was set up, the books were chained to benches, reading desks and cabinets within the room. Brian Stagg, Custos of the library, will explain the establishment of the library and Trigge’s clear expectations for its use. He will also outline some of the library’s many treasured books.

A library of over four hundred years old will have been through several phases of maintenance. While records for this work do not exist prior to the nineteenth century, in 1835 a description in a directory said: ‘The books are generally in a very dilapidated state’; and in 1878 a series of letters in a local journal raised concern about the condition of the books. But in 1884 the most recent renovation work began with a new roof and floor, as well as three presses or bookcases, to which the chains are now attached. This was followed by work on almost 200 of the books by a local bookbinder, and then into the twentieth century when other bindings were carefully conserved.

Following the appointment of Brian Stagg as Custos and John Manterfield as Chair of the Church’s Fabric Committee, in 2019 Tobit Curteis Associates were asked to carry out an assessment and report on the environmental performance of the building in relation to the library. As a result of that assessment and Tobit’s recommendations, work was carried out to the fabric of the library. Tobit also recommended that a condition survey of the library book be commissioned and Bridget Warrington, Library and Archives Conservator, was commissioned to carry this out in the summer of 2020. Bridget will outline how the survey was carried out, its findings and subsequent recommendations. She will also detail some of the remedial work that has begun on individual bindings in urgent need of repair.

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