News: Discover the New Forest’s Past at the Christopher Tower Reference Library Open Day

(L-R: Christopher Tower Reference Library volunteer Patrick Keane, New Forest Knowledge Digitisation Officer Karen Clarke and New Forest Knowledge Project Officer Dr Katharine Walker working in the Library)

Have you ever wondered what the New Forest looked like 100 years ago? Do you love looking at old maps? Can you trace your family tree back to the New Forest? Are you passionate about local history? Then don’t miss the opportunity to explore the treasures contained in the Christopher Tower Reference Library at its free open day on Saturday 1 July.

Then don’t miss the opportunity to explore the treasures contained in the Christopher Tower Reference Library at its free open day on Saturday 1 July.

Situated on the first floor of the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst, the library was opened in 2004 following funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Christopher Tower Foundation. Educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, Christopher Tower travelled extensively in the Middle East and wrote nine books of poetry. He spent his later years in Athens and the New Forest.

Educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, Christopher Tower travelled extensively in the Middle East and wrote nine books of poetry. He spent his later years in Athens and the New Forest.

He spent his later years in Athens and the New Forest.

The Library contains one of the largest collections of books, maps, photographs, reports and ephemera on the New Forest available to the public in a single location. It is also currently home to New Forest Knowledge, part of the Heritage

It is also currently home to New Forest Knowledge, part of the Heritage Lottery-funded ‘Our Past, Our Future’ Landscape Partnership project with the New Forest National Park. A growing team of volunteers are currently working with staff to digitise the collections so they are available to the public via an online portal.

A growing team of volunteers are currently working with staff to digitise the collections so they are available to the public via an online portal.

‘The Christopher Tower New Forest Reference Library is an exceptional example of its kind and somewhat of a hidden treasure. It is such a joy to work here, surrounded by thousands of books, old maps, and photographs,’ commented New Forest Knowledge Project Officer Dr Katharine Walker, who is based in the Library.

It is such a joy to work here, surrounded by thousands of books, old maps, and photographs,’ commented New Forest Knowledge Project Officer Dr Katharine Walker, who is based in the Library.

‘There is a wonderfully dedicated team of around 20 volunteers who staff the Library, which is open to the public on Wednesdays from 10 am to 4 pm, on Fridays from 10am-12:30 pm and at other times by appointment with seven days’ notice. It is a hive of activity as volunteers catalogue, scan and

It is a hive of activity as volunteers catalogue, scan and assist readers with their enquiries. Visitor numbers have increased markedly over the past year and continue to rise. The place has a real buzz and a sense of community and that’s what it’s all about. I would love to see it achieve the status it deserves alongside some of the country’s most highly regarded reference libraries, inspiring and assisting generations of researchers for years to come,’ she added

Visitor numbers have increased markedly over the past year and continue to rise. The place has a real buzz and a sense of community and that’s what it’s all about. I would love to see it achieve the status it deserves alongside some of the country’s most highly regarded reference libraries, inspiring and assisting generations of researchers for years to come,’ she added

The place has a real buzz and a sense of community and that’s what it’s all about. I would love to see it achieve the status it deserves alongside some of the country’s most highly regarded reference libraries, inspiring and assisting generations of researchers for years to come,’ she added

‘It really is remarkable this Library,’ said Christopher Tower Librarian Emeritus Jude James. ‘It’s an unusually good one. None of the other National Parks has an equivalent Library to this. Christopher Tower had a love of the New Forest. We are really grateful to him.’

‘It’s an unusually good one. None of the other National Parks has an equivalent Library to this. Christopher Tower had a love of the New Forest. We are really grateful to him.’

The public will be able to drop into the Library anytime during the open day between 10 am and 3 pm and staff and volunteers will be on hand to help with any enquiries. There’s no need to book and entry is free.

There’s no need to book and entry is free.

‘We have held several successful Library open days in the past year and plan to make these a regular occurrence,’ said New Forest Centre Manager Hilary Marshall. ‘I hope our visitors will take advantage of this opportunity to explore this wonderful historical resource.’

‘I hope our visitors will take advantage of this opportunity to explore this wonderful historical resource.’

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