When you stay at Alexander House, you’ll probably come prepared for exploring our wonderful surroundings and perhaps a day of retail therapy in Glasgow or Edinburgh. But if you have a passion for books, then there is an absolute treat just a few miles away (4 miles southeast of Crieff) – it comes in the shape of The Library of Innerpeffray. With its remarkable collection of historic books. Subjects range from witchcraft to farming and medicine, and there are also many first edition volumes that provide a fascinating insight into Scottish history and culture.
A very special experience
The library dates back to 1680 when it was founded by David Drummond, 3rd Lord Madertie and one of the main landowners in the area. Drummond’s aim was to make books freely available to everyone and he even left a legacy to ensure the library would continue beyond his lifetime. Drummond’s vision is encapsulated in the library’s slogan ‘for the benefit of all’.
In 1739, the Innerpeffray estate was inherited by Robert Hay Drummond who commissioned a new building in which to house the library – the wonderful example of Georgian architecture visitors can still enjoy today.
The beauty of this particular library is that, even though many of the books are hundreds of years old and, in so many cases, priceless, it’s a hands-on experience. You can request to handle and look at any of the books, which is quite incredible considering that the collection includes treasures that date back as long ago as the 16th century! Naturally, if you can give the library notice of the books you want to view, they can be better prepared for your visit. As well as the books themselves, The Library of Innerpeffray is renowned for its borrowers’ register, a unique record of borrowers between 1747 and 1968. If you have ancestors that lived in the area, the register may throw up interesting results – you can find out what books they borrowed and even see the books yourself!
Planning your visit to the library
If you’re keen to spend some time at The Library of Innerpeffray, be aware that it’s closed from November to February. The rest of the year, the library is open every Wednesday – Sunday. It also opens on some bank holiday Mondays. Do always check the website for full details. There is also a Heritage Trail alongside the library – what could be more perfect than a few hours of reading followed by an exhilarating (or lazy!) walk to stretch the legs! Events are also held throughout the year, so do check what coincides with your visit or plan your visit around a lecture.