Okay, that’s a bit of a stretch, but surely Gilbert & Sullivan would have had their pirates sing about the Morrab , an independent library situated in Penzance’s Morrab Gardens if they could have fit it in.
The Morrab sounds like an ideal location for a Victorian operetta penned by the famous duo. Even the name seems apt. Morrab is derived from the Cornish words “mor,” meaning sea, and “app” meaning shore or coastal land.
Set amidst beautiful gardens overlooking the sea, The Morrab is the sixth largest independent library in the United Kingdom.
It is remarkable because it houses a marvelous series of collections which have gradually been acquired since the library was founded in 1818. The Morrab houses more than 55,000 volumes and is strong in literature, history, biography, antiquities; topography and travel, and religion. Approximately 2,750 of its books were printed before 1801.
There is a collection of 3,000 Napoleonic memorabilia, which has been described as “the only great Napoleonic collection in the world.”
In keeping with the times, however, 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. It recently acquired 15,000 transparencies of buildings, industrial archaeology and related interest.