Overdue library book with £4,500 fine uncovered 123 years late

London: A library book that has been overdue for 123 years has been unearthed at a historic Lake District home.

The Victorian miscellany ‘Good Words for 1888’ was borrowed from the Troutbeck Institute library in North West England shortly after it was first published, but was never returned.

It sat on the fireside shelf at Townend House in Troubeck, home to the wealthy Browne family ever since. It was discovered by chance by staff at the National Trust, which now owns the building.

The library from which it was borrowed no longer exists, and the book could be the longest-ever library loan in Britain.

Cumbria libraries now cap their book fines at 6 pounds. Otherwise the total payable, at 10p a day, would be a hefty 4,489.50 pounds,

“It would have quite a fine on it by now. I think it’s a huge amount of time for a library book to be overdue. The Institute still has a collection of books, I wonder if they know it is missing?” the Daily Mail quoted Katrina Zanhak, custodian of Townend House, which has been a National Trust property since 1948 as saying.

The thick bound 860-page tome Donald MacLeod by with stories on subjects as diverse as Darwinism to caravanning for pleasure was donated to the Troutbeck Institute library by a Miss Edmondson and borrowed by the Browne’s shortly afterwards.

Zanhak said she was surprised it had not been returned by the family at the time because they were known for their love of books and had a 1,500 book library of their own.


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