Westerkirk Library Minute Book

Original Minute Book of the Miners Library.   The library was established in 1793 when mine owners, the Westerhall Mining Company, and several individuals presented a collection of 23 books to the miners.  The library was later to receive a bequest from Thomas Telford (1757 - 1834), who was born and educated in Westerkirk.   Telford was the greatest civil engineer of his day, responsible for a long list of building projects including roads, bridges, canals, aqueducts, harbours, fenland draingage, public buildings and churches.  He never married, and in his will made bequests to a list of individuals, most of whom he had met and worked with during his career.  To Westerkirk Library he left £1000, the capital to be invested and the interest used for buying books.  In 1851, from the residue of his estate, a further sum of £1700 was added, the interest on this also to be used for buying books.   The books were half bound in leather and carried the words "Westerkirk Library" and  "Telford Legacy" in gold on the spine.  The bookbinder responsible for the work came from Hawick and it is the excellence of the leather he used that has helped to preserve the books in recent times.
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