A rich resource for research, or a place to borrow the latest novel

The Morrab Library. Photo by Glyn Richards.The Morrab Library is an independent library established in 1818, housed in a Victorian mansion in the beautiful Morrab Gardens in Penzance, Cornwall. We hold over 55,000 books on floor-to-ceiling shelves as well as archives and a rich photographic collection.

Our new extension is now complete, bringing us much-needed extra storage space as well as a new home for our photographic archive.

We are open Tuesday - Saturday 10am-4pm.

 01736 364474

enquiries@morrablibrary.org.uk / photoarchive@morrablibrary.org.uk

Find out more about us and our collections.

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Latest from our blog

Building update # 03


It’s been a while, so we thought we’d better update everyone on progress with the building work… 


From our position on this side of the fence, it appears there’s just a massive hole. There is a massive hole, but it’s what’s going on inside the hole (the bits we can’t see) that is of great importance, and where work has really been moving on. We had a meeting with the council and the contractors yesterday, and heard all about the tricky, risky, dangerous and hugely important business of underpinning the existing building. According to TEC, this part of the work has been challenging – I won’t go into the technical details as they were plentiful and extensive – suffice to say: It’s complicated, but it’s also ‘well in hand’. The TEC team have been friendly, accommodating professional and willing to make every effort to work with the library and we are very grateful. It appears that after a slight delay, things are forging ahead, and that the team should soon be able to move out into the ‘new’ area, which will mean much faster and easier working conditions. 


We have been given a timetable, but for the next fortnight (while the underpinning next to the building is still ongoing) it is in flux. After this time, we should know more about timings and things will become a lot more predictable. In the meantime, we know for certain that the library will have to close to members for approximately four weeks (an incredibly short time really considering what’s planned) at some point while the old and new buildings are ‘connected up’, but we don’t know precisely when this four week closure will be. (Currently looking like some time in November but we aren’t making promises). We will also, unfortunately need to cancel many of our regular autumn and winter events, as until the new building is complete, we will be running on limited capacity, movement between areas of the library, and access. But we will update you with details of this as soon as they’re all worked out. Once again, we apologise for any inconvenience caused, but hope you understand and share our ‘short-term pain for long-term gain’ outlook. 

Also of note: The builders found a secret tunnel! A corridor running all the way around the building, thought perhaps to have been installed to keep the building dry and free from damp, but we think a smuggling tunnel sounds more exciting. See picture below.