Good Words for 1888

Library book 123 years overdue attracts £4,509 fine

Lifestyle

A copy of a book entitled Good Words for 1888 was borrowed from a library 123 years ago and has not been returned since.

And, based on today’s fines, it would now cost almost £4,509 to return it.

The book, by Donald MacLeod, was borrowed from the Troutbeck Institute library in England by a member of the wealthy Browne family over a century ago and has been sitting on a fireside bookshelf at the family’s old Townend House ever since.

At the time, George Browne, his wife and three daughters lived in Townend House which is now owned by the UK National Trust.

The Brownes were avid readers and had a 1,500-book library of their own.

The Trust’s Katrina Zanhak, who discovered the unreturned book in the house, said:

“The Brownes loved books and I’d not expect them to forget to take something back. This one was borrowed from the Village Institute.

“It looks as though the borrower was George Browne. If it was him it was naughty of him not to take it back.”

Troutbeck Institute library said: “I don’t think we need it back now. It’s in safe hands.”

It’s not the first time a high profile bookworm has racked up overdue fines. A £209,000 fine was due on two books borrowed by first US president George Washington from a New York library in 1789 and found 210 years later.

Lana Galea View Comments

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