The Town of Penzance


There are four County Library branches, at Penzance, St Ives, Hayle and St Just, with the County Art Librarian and art collections based in Penzance and St Ives. In addition, three specialist libraries offer exceptional research facilities. The Penzance Library is one of the oldest private libraries in the country and has been important in the cultural life of West Cornwall since its foundation in 1818. It houses some 60,000-70,000 volumes and is strong in literature, history, biography, antiquities, topography and travel and religion. The new Jenner Room has brought together its extensive Cornish collection and its holdings on the other Celtic countries as a centre for Celtic studies.

A local history study group, run with the help of Exeter University’s Centre for South Western Historical Studies, is based on the Library. Some 2,750 of its books were printed before 1801 and 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. There are seventeenth and eighteenth century Parliamentary Reports, nineteenth century Blue Books and Historic Manuscript Commission Reports. The Library’s photographic archive has a computerized catalogue of over 10,000 prints and negatives of antiquities, places, people and events in West Cornwall and has recently acquired a further 15,000 transparencies of buildings, industrial archaeology and related interest.

The Royal Geological Society of Cornwall has a magnificent Earth Sciences research library in Penzance including a vast collection of academic journals and maps from all over the world. This resource is probably unmatched southwest of Oxford.

The Hypatria Trust’s Jamieson Library in Newmill is a private research library focusing on the history, literature and arts of women and their artistic and scientific contributions to society.

More information on Libraries can be obtained from:-

Morrab Library - Private Library
Morrab House, Morrab Gardens, Penzance. Phone: 01736-364474
Penzance Public Library - County Public Library
St Johns Hall, Alverton Street , Penzance. Phone: 0300-123-4111
Clickable link to Location Map