The Sanderson Room - History and Heritage of the College Libraries
A little history: Nathaniel Woodard, the Founder, envisaged two libraries at Lancing: a Fellows’ Library, to be consulted by College masters and churchmen of the Diocese, and a Boys’ Library.
The Fellows’ Library includes amongst its treasures many rare books on theology, a number of first editions and some fine specimens of rich binding and early printing. A great number of these books were donated by friends and admirers of Woodard including John Mason Neale, John R Bloxham and Julius Hare (all clergymen and Woodard’s contemporaries).
In November 1920 the British Museum librarian, Arundel Esdaile, was commissioned to write a report on the Fellows’ Library. He found many of the books water-damaged and in poor condition. They were ‘carelessly mixed’* with old magazines from the school library. We can infer therefore that the Boys’ Library and the Fellows’ Library were at some time placed together in what is now the Sanderson Room. The report concludes by making various recommendations to sell, repair or dispose of much unused stock.
In the 1930s there was a further dispersal with the arrival of Thomas Baker, bookseller and publisher, who purchased a number of volumes. A list of those he was interested in survives but it is not known if he did in fact buy them, they might yet be on the shelves in the Sanderson Room. In May 1971 another sale of books from the Fellows’ Library raised money for provision of books for the Boy’ Library. These were added to the books donated by Sir Cyril Cobb as part of his bequest to the College. In 1938 a representative from Lancing was invited to Regent’s Park (Sir Cyril Cobb’s home) to select desirable books. Some 10,000 were taken.
And now: Since 2008 the Archivist and the Librarian have been bringing together all original library books dispersed throughout the College. Work has begun to catalogue them; a painstaking task involving
- assessing each title for condition
- determining its location
- obtaining value
- keywording for future scholars
- repair and conservation
- consulting with the Archivist where necessary
For the future: The Sanderson Room is an important part of our shared heritage, used for meetings during timetabled lessons, for co-curricular activities outside the school day, and for formal College receptions. Eventually the whole Sanderson Room collection will be catalogued, so that our current students can find the books from the catalogue when performing a search. Much of the stock in the Sanderson Room will support extension work for our most able students.
* A copy of this report is in the College Archives
with thanks to Anne Drewery (former College Archivist) and Serena Marchant (Librarian)