Friday 18 August 2017

Globetrotting book back at library

Samuel Pepys's Diary has been returned to a library after 30 years on loan
Samuel Pepys's Diary has been returned to a library after 30 years on loan
Ron Robb, pictured with his wife and grandson, took the book out on loan in 1981

A rare library book has finally been returned - after more than 30 years of globetrotting with an Australian naval attache.

Former Royal Australian Navy Lieutenant Commander Ron Robb, who was posted to London in 1980, borrowed the volume of Samuel Pepys's Diary in 1981 from his local library to help his daughter with a project.

Unknown to him, the 1928 volume remained in his possession and accompanied him to Hong Kong and islands in the Pacific before ending up in Australia.

Mr Robb discovered the book while moving house in Toongabbie, New South Wales, and contacted Wallington Library manager Steve Winser to get it safely back to Sutton in south London.

Based on the current daily rate of 15p per day, the book would have run up a fine of more than £1,600 - but luckily, Sutton Libraries stop fines at a limit of £5 and waived the charge.

Sutton Council spokesman Graham Tope said: "We've all had the odd overdue library book but 30 years must be a record - and this book has clearly been on an incredible journey.

"It's great that this valuable book has been returned to complete the set, particularly as they have been part of the library for so long."

Mr Robb said: "I happened to flick open the book's cover and noticed that it belonged to Wallington Library.

"I especially noted that it was part of a donated series and, being an honorary archivist for a college, I recognised that it might be quite valuable."

He borrowed the book shortly after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President of the United States and weeks before Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer.

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