About us

The Devon and Exeter Institution is a subscription library which is open to new members of all ages.


The DEI is an Educational Charity.

Our founders established the Institution in 1813:  ‘…for promoting the general diffusion of Science, Literature and the Arts, and for illustrating the Natural and Civil History of the county of Devon and the History of the City of Exeter.’

The Institution occupies historic premises at the heart of Exeter in the Cathedral Close. Adapted from what was once a house belonging to the Courtenay family, the library of the Institution is housed in two elegant Georgian rooms which provide space for research and reading, educational activities, cultural events and lectures.  The Institution has a close working relationship with the University of Exeter and there are also two bookable meeting rooms enjoying beautiful views of the Cathedral and a charming members’ dining room.

The Institution is cherished by members and visitors alike for its calm and peaceful atmosphere in the midst of a busy city.  Many scholarly books and articles have had their origins in its quiet spaces and a number of leading academics acknowledge the part the Institution has played in the early stages of their careers.

We are open for public tours on Wednesday afternoons form 1pm – 4pm.

To find out more about joining us, go to our membership page.