Help the Royal Cornwall Museum encourage all future generations to be inspired by Cornish heritage. Find Out More

The UK’s Greatest Museum for Cornish Art and Culture | Free For Under 18s

Courtney Library

Cornish History Research Centre


The Courtney Library and Archive is a unique and long-established Cornish history research centre for Members of the Royal Institution of Cornwall and academic researchers alike.

The Library holds some of the most significant collections of Cornish manuscripts anywhere in the world; these primary sources are essential for anyone researching the history of mining, engineering and smelting, the weather in the past and archaeology. Our particular strengths are however in relation to the revival of the Cornish language and its traces in place-names and surnames with much archival and secondary source material particularly relevant to:

  • Cornwall and its cultural heritage: artefacts & language.
  • The social history of modern Cornwall: experiences & beliefs.
  • Medieval and early modern Cornwall: 12th to 18th century.
  • Place and locality.

Overall our collections consist of approximately 40,000 printed books, pamphlets and periodicals as well as transcripts, manuscripts, c.25,000 archives, original newspapers and engravings, maps and ephemera – including posters, tickets, exhibition catalogues, programmes and local postmarks. We also hold a selection of original correspondence of the renowned engineer and inventor of the high pressure steam engine, Richard Trevithick, and an archive of original manuscripts from international best-selling ‘Poldark author, Winston Graham.

Download a copy of our book catalogue below. 

Opening Times:

Access to the Courtney Library will be by appointment only on Wednesdays & Fridays (10-1pm & 2-4pm) until further notice.

Covid-19 restrictions including safe seating distances, hand sanitisers and face masks will remain in place in the Library until further notice.

Access for non-RIC members is via a Library Research Pass (£4.50p a day) obtainable on arrival from the Reception Desk in the foyer.

For more information please email [email protected]

Welcome to the Courtney Library catalogue of printed books.

This catalogue has some c25,000 entries and can be downloaded as an EXCEL spreadsheet using the link below.  This edition also includes pamphlets and brochures together with some photocopied items, typescripts and ephemera such as scrapbooks.

Our dedicated Volunteers will continue to update this catalogue offline in readiness for the next online edition.

Download a copy here:

Book Catalogue PDF

Book Catalogue Excel Spreadsheet 


  1. Searches can be made by using either the ‘find’ button on the header bar, or by using the keys ‘CTRL + F’.
  2. Entries with no author/editor appear at the end of the catalogue.
  3. The default position is in author/editor order.
  4. Due to the large size of this catalogue the ISBN and pagination columns have, of necessity, been ‘hidden’.
  5. Column widths can be changed by double clicking on the column you’d like to enlarge.
  6. Please quote the class number (see column 2: ‘classmark‘) when requesting any items from the catalogue. NOTE: Due to a cataloguing backlog, accessions post-2008 have no classification number.  For those items please quote the temporary ID number instead (see column 1: ‘ID‘) when contacting us.

This is a working document and therefore not perfect. To report any errors, suggested improvements or queries please contact: [email protected]