Better late than never! Leeds library gets a real turn-up for the books

Librarian Hayley Goddard with the returned book.

Librarian Hayley Goddard with the returned book.

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Staff at a Leeds library got an unexpected blast from the past when a book was returned to them – more than 100 years overdue.

The copy of The Siege of Troy and The Wanderings of Ulysses by Charles Henry Hanson is thought to have been taken out from Armley Library some time between 1883 and the early 1900s.

Rusholme Hutton.

Rusholme Hutton.

It has now been returned to the Leeds library service by the grandson of Rusholme Hutton, the man who originally borrowed the book.

Coun Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities, said: “We would really like to thank the grandson of Mr Hutton for returning this little piece of Armley Library history to us which is greatly appreciated.

“While as a service we would always ask people to please return their books on time to our libraries in order to avoid paying a fine, this case is certainly an exceptional circumstance and not something we experience every day.

“It goes without saying therefore that we have not looked into the payment of any late fine following the return of this particular book!”

Library staff began trying to pinpoint the date the book – first printed in 1883 – was borrowed after it was posted to them by Mr Hutton’s grandson, who had inherited it following the death of a family member.

Their efforts were helped by an insert in its pages that had been written by James Yates, who served as city public librarian in Leeds from 1870 to 1897.

The insert indicates that the book was borrowed from Carr Crofts-based Providence School, which until 1902 was the home of Armley Library.

In a sign of the times, the library only operated in the evenings to fit in with mill opening hours.

Now in a battered condition, the returned book will be on display at Chapel Allerton Library until it completes its belated journey to the current day Armley Library.

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