Sussex Archaeological Collections: Relating to the history and antiquities of the counties of East and West Sussex

Sussex Archaeological Society, 2000 (updated 2018)

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https://doi.org/10.5284/1000334
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Sussex Archaeological Society (2018) Sussex Archaeological Collections: Relating to the history and antiquities of the counties of East and West Sussex [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] https://doi.org/10.5284/1000334


Lewes Library Society: THE EARLY YEARS, 1785-1831

by Daniel Waley & Jeremy Goring

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In 1785 a small group of Lewesians, led by a surgeon, Joseph Ridge, founded a Library Society to acquire serious books. Members numbered 28 in 1786, 60 by 1792 and 90 by the early 19th century. A marked dissenting and radical connection - particularly with the Westgate Presbyterian Meeting - is detectable among the early members. The Society's holdings numbered about 1000 volumes by 1794 and over 3000 by 1827, in the earliest surviving catalogue. A volume recording loans in 1786 is a rare and important survival in the Society's archive (in the East Sussex Record Office) and makes it possible to compare the Society's tastes in reading with those of a contemporary Library Society in Bristol. The initial policy of purchasing serious works was continued. This applied to works on political, social, religious, philosophical, economic, legal and scientific topics, though these were leavened with writings on travel, poetry and some fiction and lighter fare.

 

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