Special Collections hold a variety of book collections

Beetham Vestry Library

The volumes were mainly collected by the Reverend William Hutton, Vicar of Beetham, 1762-1811 and placed by him in the Vestry in 1795. Standard works of Anglican theology from the largest category, but there are also volumes on science and on British antiquities and works by Latin authors, as well as some volumes by French Protestant theologians. A printed listing of this collection is available in Special Collections.

Burnley Grammar School Library

The major part of the collection consists of works on religion, and especially the defence of Anglicanism against Catholicism dating from the 16th-18th Century. It also contains works on history, politics, medicine, and the law, as well as works in Latin and Greek.

Full holdings of Burnley Grammar School Library

Cartmel Priory Library

The precise date of the foundation of this library is unknown but the greater part of the library was added in 1696-7 on the death of Thomas Preston of Holker. The library consists of approximately 300 volumes with many of the books containing hand-written annotations. The books are mainly theological but there are also a number of Latin and Greek classics, works on natural science and a few English non-theological books.

Full holdings of the Cartmel Priory Library Collection

Chambers Collection

Arthur and Mary Chambers donated this collection. Their father, John Chambers, worked at Wedgwood and Doulton potteries before becoming a freelance designer. From 1891 he went on to become the chief designer at the Pilkington's Tile Company. The books have a common pottery theme; the collection also includes botanical books, textile design books, and children's literature books.

Full holdings of the Chambers Collection

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Patten Collection

The Patten collection contains mainly British publications from the 2nd World War written by organisations ranging from Good Housekeeping to the Ministry of Information and the War Office. As well as recipes there are instruction booklets on how to build an air raid shelter, how to carry out first aid and how to identify enemy aircraft.

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Rare Book Archive

This collection contains:

  • Titles printed or published prior to 1810
  • Some first editions of significant texts
  • Fine books, ie limited private press editions, fine bindings, etc
  • Illustrated books
  • Books donated in the Library’s founding years and association copies
  • A few facsimiles of early printed books and illuminated manuscripts

Socialist Pamphlets

The collection was donated by Mr W. Gregory and spans 1900-1960. It relates to socialism and includes the growth of the I.L.P. and British Labour Party, trade unions, world wars, unemployment, pacifism and conscription and was added to in the 1960s with pamphlets regarding nuclear disarmament. The Left Book Club publications cover 1926-1949 which warned of the dangers of fascism.

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Tom Milne Popular Fiction Collection

The popular fiction collection of the late Tom Milne, a leading British film critic, contains several hundred vintage novels, including rare editions of Raymond Chandler, David Goodis, Jim Thompson, Cornell Woolrich and many others of the great mid-century American paperback writers. The collection is particularly strong on hard-boiled fiction of the 1940s and 1950s.

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Books may be consulted in the Special Collections reading room.