The Cathedral Library was built in the mid-fifteenth century over the East Cloister.

It houses the book collection of the Chapter in two areas: the Chained Library and the Reading Room.

Featured Book of the Month : OCTOBER

CHAMBERS, Ephraim     Cyclopaedia, or Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, 17th edition ( 4 vols)   (1751)

Library book

Ephraim Chambers (1680-1740) developed the idea of compiling an encyclopaedia whilst working as a globe-maker in London. The first edition appeared by subscription in 1728, in two volumes, and it was subsequently expanded and reprinted throughout the 18th century. Chamber’s Cyclopaedia is particularly remarkable for its elaborate system of cross-references.

The book is subtitled:  An universal dictionary of arts and sciences: containing the definitions of the terms, and accounts of the things signify’d thereby, in the several arts, both liberal and mechanical, and the several sciences, human and divine: the figures, kinds, properties, productions, preparations, and uses, of things natural and artificial; the rise, progress, and state of things ecclesiastical, civil, military, and commercial: with the several systems, sects, opinions, &c; among philosophers, divines, mathematicians, physicians, antiquaries, criticks, &c: The whole intended as a course of ancient and modern learning.

Chambers is regarded as the father of the modern encyclopedia. The influence of Chamber’s encyclopedia has been incalculable: Diderot’s Encyclopedie would undoubtedly have taken a very different shape had it not been for Chambers’ example. The publication of the Encyclopedia Britannica was stimulated by the appearance of the Encyclopedie, and almost every subsequent move in the world of encyclopedia-making is thus directly traceable to the pioneer example of Chambers’ work.

OLN 84