BeFriend a Book

Preserve our shared heritage for future generations

BeFriend a Book is a practical way for book lovers to help preserve precious works of literature in Senate House Library for future generations of students and researchers. You can BeFriend a Book as a gift, for yourself, or even in memory of a loved one.

All levels of support are welcomed. You can choose to BeFriend an individual book, or support a number of books. You can also give generally to the Library’s conservation work.

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Everyone who BeFriends a book will receive a personal thank you letter, along with a certificate acknowledging their contribution.

Books in need

Each of the books in need have been identified by Senate House Library as in need of immediate conservation. Many are hundreds of years old, and their past lives and provenance are of huge cultural and historical importance.

Click on the title of each book to read more about its history and why it needs your help.

 

Morall Law copy in need of preservation
The morall law expounded

Lancelot Andrewes, The morall law expounded (London: Michael Sparke, Robert Milbourne, Richard Cotes, and Andrew Crooke, 1642)

According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626), a scholar and powerful preacher ‘has remained in successive centuries by broad ecclesiastical consent one of the Church of England's exemplary bishops; to literary scholars a master of English prose style; and to historians a figure at least as important as Hooker in the evolution of the Church of England between Elizabeth's accession and the civil war.’ This work collects sermons on the Ten Commandments, prayer, and Christ’s temptation in the wilderness.

£1,050 is needed to support the full conservation of this book.

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The Byble, that is to saye, all the holye Scripture
The Byble, that is to saye, all the holye Scripture

The Byble, that is to saye, all the holye Scripture (London: T. Petit, 1551)

The final edition of the Matthew Bible, one of the landmarks of English Bible translation. The translation is the combined work of William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale. John Rogers, the first English Protestant martyr under Mary Tudor, contributed the editorial material.

The conservation need

The work has a full calf binding, with one board broken and in danger of becoming detached. An earlier leather spine repair has also become degraded.

£420 is needed to support the full conservation of this book.

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A new version of the Psalms of David
A new version of the Psalms of David

Nicholas Brady and Nathum Tate, A new version of the Psalms of David (London: Company of Stationers, [1771])

The Senate House Library copy of this late version of a very famous metrical version of the Psalms is remarkable for its binding. When the leaves of the text block are fanned out, they reveal a painting of boats at sea against white cliffs. Fore-edge painting was popular in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries as a way to boost sales, meaning that it could be much later than the binding.

The conservation need

This work is bound in full red goatskin, with a gilt spine and a Harleian style decorative roll on the boards with a former owner’s name, ‘John Parr, mayor, 1773’. The left board is attached only by a thread.

£180 is needed to support the full conservation of this book.

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Cobbett's Parliamentary debates
Cobbett's Parliamentary debates

William Cobbett, Parliamentary debates, vol. 22 (1812)

William Cobbett’s magisterial work embodied part of his vision of empowering people by giving them the whole truth. The Parliamentary debates, the early version of what we know today as Hansard, selectively covered proceedings in both Houses of Parliament. Events in this volume included Luddite attacks and the War of 1812 between the United States of America and the United Kingdom, both against the continued backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars.

The conservation need

Both boards are detached and the leather is degraded.

£420 is needed to support the full conservation of this book.

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The happy colony
The happy colony

Robert Pemberton, The happy colony: dedicated to the workmen of Great Britain (London: Saunders & Otley, 1854)

Robert Pemberton was a follower of the Welsh social reformer Robert Owen. Whereas Owen carried out his schemes at New Lanark in Scotland, Pemberton planned a utopian colony in New Zealand, which would be based on a reformed education system and include colleges, conservatories, workshops, swimming baths, riding schools, gardens, factories, and farms. In this book he explains his ideas. The colony was never established.

The conservation need

The sewing of this embossed blue case binding has broken in one place, and needs to be re-enforced. The fold-outs need paper repairs.

£300 is needed to support the full conservation of this book.

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The works of Mr. William Shakespear in six volumes
The works of Mr. William Shakespear in six volumes

William Shakespeare, The works of Mr. William Shakespear in six volumes, edited by Nicholas Rowe (London: Jacob Tonson, 1709)

This is the first non-folio edition of Shakespeare’s collected plays, and based primarily on the Fourth Folio. Innovations include the addition of illustrations and the listing of the dramatis personae for each play. Rowe’s preliminary life of Shakespeare in this edition is the first biography of Shakespeare of any length and remained the basis of accounts until the early nineteenth century.

The conservation need

These volumes are bound in full calfskin and have previously had their spines repaired. In volumes one and two, some sections have become detached and need to be re-sewn to the text blocks, and the spine pasted down.

£240 is needed to support the full conservation of this book.

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Mr. William Shakespear's comedies, histories, and tragedies
Mr. William Shakespear's comedies, histories, and tragedies

William Shakespeare, Mr. William Shakespear's comedies, histories, and tragedies, 3rd impression (London: Philip Chetwinde, 1664)

This is the third folio of Shakespeare’s plays. It is the rarest of all four early folios after copies in stock were thought to have been lost during the Great Fire of London in 1666. The third folio is noteworthy for its addition of seven new plays, namely the earliest publication in folio form of Pericles and six plays now known not to have been written by Shakespeare. This copy is in a seventeenth-century calfskin binding.

The conservation need

Three sections of the book are loose, and one is held in place by pins and needs extensive paper repair. The left board is nearly detached and needs to be re-attached.

£900 is needed to support the full conservation of this book.

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Find out more and give online

You can give online to BeFriend a Book, and donate to cover either the full or partial cost of the conservation of a book, or support the work of Senate House Library’s conservation team.

All of the books available as part of the BeFriend a Book scheme have been identified by Senate House Library as those most in need of repair.

Please note, if you choose to BeFriend a particular book that has already been fully funded, your donation will be directed towards another book in need within the scheme.

If you would like to find out more about BeFriend a Book, get in touch with Lindsay Triggs, Regular Giving Manager by email at friendsofshl@london.ac.uk or by telephone on +44 (0)20 7863 1340.

Alternatively, you can write to:

The Development Office, University of London, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Recognising our BeFrienders

Since 2009, the following benefactors have supported BeFriend a Book. We would like to thank them here:

  • Benjamin Bather
  • Professor Laurel Brake**
  • Professor Sandra Clark
  • Dr Jane Darcy
  • Paul Graham
  • Marylin Lister
  • Professor Michael Slater

* denotes additional donations

All funds raised are used to support the conservation of the 10 listed items (at the discretion of the Library). Donations only support conservation of a particular item where this has been agreed.