Selling books to save books at Charlecote

Volunteer prepares for book talk in the library at Charlecote

The takings from our second-hand bookshop all stay at Charlecote to help fund our work here and every penny counts. Chat to our knowledgeable room guides in the Library to find out more.

One of our ongoing projects is preserving the very special book collection in our Library. Charlecote has one of the best libraries in the care of the National Trust and contains many rare and important volumes.

Repairing and caring for around 3,500 books on the Library shelves can be quite a challenge. Our riverside location creates a damp environment in the house which can prove disastrous for old papers.

We constantly need to raise funds for our ongoing work to look after the books in our care. Sometimes this can mean sending books away to specialist conservators, but we are able to do some of the work at Charlecote with our specially-trained team of volunteers while the house is closed over winter.

Book conservators check the condition of our books and carry out repairs
Book conservators at work in library at Charlecote Park

When they are checking each book our staff and volunteers have to take great care not to inhale the mould spores which could cause serious lung problems. Everyone receives an annual lung health check.

This job needs rather more than a National Trust fleece!
Charlecote volunteers check for mould on books in library

Every time we look in detail through the books we find new treasures. Many of the books are full of handwritten inscriptions and annotations. These little notes were written by the members of the Lucy family as they read the books.

Delightful doodle or historical vandalism - what do you think?
Doodle in old book in library at Charlecote Park

Among the Racing Calendars and novels are some very special gems. Did you know that we have a Shakespeare Second Folio, an illuminated 14th-century Book of Hours and a copy of a work by Erasmus given by the author to King Henry VIII?

Curious?

We’d like to make these and other books more accessible to all our visitors. The best way to find out more is to come along to one of our regular Book Talks; you'll find more information on our What's On page.

So when you're exploring the outbuildings at Charlecote, please pop in to our second-hand bookshop in the stables. It's very well organised by our enthusiastic volunteer team who take great pride in keeping everything in order on the shelves and making this very cold building a welcoming place to pause.

Take a moment to browse through our donated books and perhaps buy one or two, knowing that you are making an important contribution to our collection.

Sales of secondhand books help fund projects here at Charlecote
Secondhand books in stables bookshop at Charlecote Park

If you have any second-hand books to donate, you can drop them in to the Visitor Reception team on your way in... and thank you.