A new Westminster Libraries record was broken this week when St John’s Wood Library received an email from Johnathan in Australia, requesting to return a book borrowed on 15 October 1965.
The book, entitled ‘The Persuasion Industry; British Advertising and Public Relations in Action’, by John Pearson and Graham Turner, was found amongst the possessions of Johnathan’s late father – who had never travelled to the UK in his lifetime, so the mystery remains as to how the book ever got there!
The fine for late books in 1965 was 1 penny per day so this book had racked up a fine of £70 and counting. One of the librarians at Marylebone Information Service calculated its current value as a not insubstantial £1060 in today’s money (using the website measuringworth.com, from the Statistics & figures section of the Gateway).
Research on the Times Digital Archive also tells us what was happening on the day the book was borrowed: the Vietnam war was causing thousands in America to burn their draft cards, Afghanistan’s first democratic government was formed and in Britain, the rates were going up, most notably in Westminster, topping the nation with a ‘rateable value of £104,051,000’.