Magdalene College/Pepys Library, Cambridge


Hello! Well, my blog is two years old!  It doesn’t seem that long ago I celebrated its first birthday!  Isn’t it scary how quickly time goes!

Since my last post I have been commissioned to write three more pieces for Local Secrets, which is very exciting!   I have the week off from work this week, I had nothing planned (apart from having a lazy week!) so I can spend it pretending I’m a full-time writer, haha!

I will update you on my articles in my next post.  I am also setting up a basic website which I hope will go live by the end of this week so look out for that too!

Anyway, back to blogging, the subject of this post is Magdalene College and the Pepys Library.

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Magdalene (pronounced ‘Maudlyn’) College is situated in the Quayside area of Cambridge, the college site started off life, in 1428, as a hostel for Benedictine Monks and has expanded over the centuries.  As with most of the colleges it is free to look around the parts that aren’t private, it also has a lovely fellows garden which is open to everyone and takes you on a short riverside stroll.

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Within the grounds is the fascinating Pepys Library, which houses three thousand books belonging to famous diarist, and graduate of the college, Samuel Pepys. Pepys bequeathed his library to the college, although it only came to the college after his nephew’s death.

Pepys’ books, housed in twelve beautiful seventeenth century oak book cases, are in height order, the smallest first, the largest last.  The book cases, known as presses, are fascinating in themselves as they are known to be the first of their kind.  They were made specially for Pepys, beforehand books would always have been kept flat in chests.

The library is also home to many other artefacts belonging to him, including six volumes of his famous diaries.  Pepys was also Secretary to Admiralty and his navy collection is a big part of the library, with illustrations of ships, including The Mary Rose on display. Framed portraits, calligraphy, maps and music are also on display.

There is always a member of staff on hand in the library, who will give you a guided talk and answer any questions you might have.

It is a very interesting historical record of Pepys’ life and worth a visit.  The library is only open at certain times of the year, so check the website for information.



About Maria Explores...

Blogger and Freelance Writer
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