The collection is a clerical gentleman's library including Asian material in a collection covering a wide variety of subjects. A number of foreign language texts are included but the majority is in English. The collection spans a date range of batween 1600 and 1900 approximately. The Cathedral Library houses an estimate of 16000 books and pamphlets of which 325 are of an Asian subject content.
History and development
In 1887 Archdeacon Benjamin Harrison's widow gave her husband's collection of sixteen thousand books and pamphlets to the Cathedral. Through his wife, Harrison was connected with Sir Robert Harry Inglis who was MP for the University of Oxford. Harrison married Inglis step-daughter Isabella Thornton and the books were then merged into a vast collection.Inglis had family connections with the East India Company and as a result amassed a wide range of volumes relating to Asia and covering many subject matters.
We hold some East India Company material that has particular reference to Christian Missionary work. The collection as a whole is available for all to use but is particularly used for research by academics form the University of Kent with which the Cathedral Library is in partnership.
General arrangement and access regulations
The access policy is that the library is of closed access to the general public but the collections are available for use with prior appointment with the Cathedral Librarian. The physical arrangement of the collection is not in any subject or geographical order but is shelved in the original order that the owner placed them in.
Subjects of the Collection
Regions of Asia
Central Asia and the Caucasus, East Asia, Near & Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, South East Asia.
Afghanistan, China, East Timor, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Russia, South Korea, Syria, Thailand, Turkey.
Anthropology, Economics, Education, Geography, History, International relations, Language, Medicine, Politics and government, Religion, Travel.
The collection is not being actively developed.
Content date range
1600 to 1900 AD
Interlibrary loan procedure
As it is not a lending library it does not operate a system of interlibrary loans. Pre 1900 material may not be photocopied so can not be sent to other institutions. Most post 1900 material can be photocopied. All interlibrary loan requests must go direct to the University of Kent for assessment.
- In the mid-1970s an agreement was forged between Canterbury Cathedral Library and the University of Kent to help in the finance, management and staffing of the library. Since September 2001 there has also been a joint sharing of the University on-line catalogue.
The library collection policy can be consulted at Canterbury Cathedral Library. It contains the aims of the library, collection outlines and a general mission statement.