King's Library receives HLF Funding

Lithograph of George Thackeray
George Thackeray (1777-1850) by Richard James Lane, lithograph, 1851 Larger image

King’s Library has received £44,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project, ‘Shakespeare and Austen at King’s College: Celebrating their Centenaries in 2016 and 2017’. The project will result in the online cataloguing and conservation of the English literature section of the Thackeray collection of rare books, bequeathed to King's Library in the mid-nineteenth century by the sometime Provost of the College, George Thackeray (1777-1850), cousin of the novelist William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863). A major part of the project is a comprehensive programme of outreach activities and online educational material.

The project will enable local people and volunteers to engage with some of the most important books in the history of English literature through a series of exhibitions, talks, open days and workshops for young people, and give a worldwide audience the opportunity to learn about the collection online. Owing to the lack of a proper online catalogue, the collection has remained difficult to explore.

Title Page of Shakespeare's Folio
Title page of Shakespeare's First Folio (1623) Larger image

Highlights in Thackeray’s library include Shakespeare's First Folio, first and early editions of all of Austen's novels, a collection of 16th-century books on theology (including works by Sir Thomas More, Martin Luther and Erasmus), and over 1,000 volumes of early editions of the most important English authors in sumptuous historic bindings. Other major writers included are John Milton, John Donne, Edmund Spenser and Ben Jonson.

Robyn Llewellyn, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East of England, says: “The Thackeray Collection is an extraordinary selection of some of the most important books in the history of English literature, and we are delighted that this timely project will share it with a wide range of new visitors and young people so they can engage with it in exciting new ways.”

King's College Librarian, Dr James Clements, says: "We are delighted to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, which will enable us to gain a much better understanding of the Thackeray collection and help us to improve access to these treasures. We are also looking forward to the many opportunities the project will afford us to allow local people to engage with their heritage, and hopefully revisit the works of Shakespeare and Austen during their anniversary years."

Anyone interested in volunteering for this project is welcome to contact King's Library

Heritage Lottery Fund Logo

24 May 2016