Welcome to the Morrab

Opening times: Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 4pm

The Morrab is an independent library established in 1818, situated in Penzance’s Morrab Gardens overlooking the sea. In Penwith we are fortunate to have a rare, remarkable and rewarding thing – a large independent library.

Morrab Library is rare because it is the only one in Cornwall and there are only approximately 50 surviving in the United Kingdom. It is one of the largest, with more than 70,000 volumes and is strong in literature, history, biography, antiquities, poetry, art and  travel.

It is remarkable because it houses a marvellous series of collections which have gradually been acquired since the library was founded in 1818. The Jenner Room contains an extensive Cornish collection. Some 2,750 of its books were printed before 1901.

The Library offers great research potential in its extensive runs of eighteenth- and nineteenth- century periodicals, among which are over a century of Cornish newspapers which start before 1850. There are unique archives holding papers, correspondence, diaries and albums relating to the history of the people and places of Penwith and beyond.

There is a collection of 3,000 Napoleonic ephemera and memorabilia, which has been previously described as “the only great Napoleonic collection in the world”; whilst the Library’s photographic archive has a digital catalogue of over 15,000 prints and negatives of antiquities, places, people and events in West Cornwall and further afield. 

We are located in the beautiful Morrab Gardens in Penzance. For a map and directions click here.