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Adopt a Book

The Adopt a Book programme ran from October 2016 to August 2019. We will be temporarily resting the scheme until further notice. If you would like to continue to support the Cathedral and our collections please explore our patron scheme opportunities.

Keep scrolling down to see the fantastic work that has been carried out as a result of the support we have received!

Examples of past restorations

Sindbad the Sailor; Bysh’s edition, London, 1831 – H.IIIB.33

The fictional figure of Sinbad (or Sindbad, as printed here) is a familiar one in children’s literature and entertainment. This edition was published in London in 1831 and features hand-coloured illustrations of his “seven wonderful voyages”. Its eight engravings are all fully coloured, setting it apart from other chapbooks, which are small paper-covered booklets. It includes images of:

  • ‘Sindbad following the Sea-monster’
  • ‘Sindbad carrying the Old Man of the Sea’
  • ‘The one-eyed Monster hurling pieces of Rock after Sindbad’

This volume had never been bound, and so required conservation work in order to prevent any further damage to the endpapers.

How Sinbad was restored

Thanks to its Adopter:

  • its leaves were surface cleaned
  • it was repaired with Japanese paper and wheat starch paste with sewn-on linen thread
  • aged compatible endpapers were added
  • it was bound in cloth
  • the title appears on the spine in gold

Athanasius Kircher; Musurgia universalis; Rome, 1650 – Mus B14

A Jesuit scholar and polymath, Athanasius Kircher published somewhere around forty major works on a series of subjects, including Orientalism, medicine, geology and disease. Compared to Leonardo da Vinci in respect of his enormous range of interests, he has been credited with:

  • founding the study of Egyptology
  • establishing the links between disease and microorganisms after studying bacteria under a microscope
  • inventing the megaphone

This book combines two of Kircher’s great passions: music and science.

How it was transformed

  • leaves were surface cleaned
  • the original spine was lifted to allow attachment of new leather spine
  • board corners were repaired with matching calf leather
  • the original spine was remounted onto new leather

Galileo Galilei; Systema Cosmicum; London, 1663 – H.IV.34

This is the first English translation of Galileo's Systema Cosmicum (Cosmic System), published in London in 1663.

Galileo Galilei, Italian astronomer and physicist, is one of the greatest scientists of all time. Described as the Father of Modern Science, among Galileo’s achievements was the discovery of Jupiter's moons and the laws governing falling bodies.

His scientific approach to the investigation of celestial phenomena and his support for the Copernican theory of the solar system, set down in this volume, caused him to be investigated by the Roman Inquisition.

Restoration work

  • cleaning the surface of its leaves
  • removing the original spine and label to allow application of new leather spine with original spine remounted
  • missing paper replaced with Japanese paper and wheat starch paste
  • board corners strengthened with new calf leather

The Juvenile Riddle Book; London, 1820s – H.IIIB.31  

This tiny book of riddles for children originally cost sixpence. It was published by Dean and Munday of Threadneedle Street sometime in the 1820s. With a coloured frontispiece (containing a number of riddles within itself) and thirty-two engravings throughout the book, it appears to have been of a slightly higher quality than other chapbooks sold at the time.

How it was conserved

  • This volume had never been bound, and required resewing
  • leaves being surface cleaned
  • Missing and damaged paper repaired with Japanese paper and wheat starch paste with sewn-on linen thread
  • aged compatible endpapers added
  • bound in cloth, with title on spine in gold

Thank you!

Thanks to the incredible number of individual sponsors of this programme we have succeeded in restoring over 50 historic books and manuscripts!

How can I continue to support the Cathedral?

Restoring key publications to a state where they can be used for reference and displayed for public enjoyment.