Adopt a book

The library of the Devon and Exeter Institution was established in 1813 with an initial budget of £4,000. The historical collection contains a wealth of fascinating books covering a wide range of subjects including travel, science, history, zoology and religion.

The National Preservation Office of The British Library conducted a survey of the stock in 2015. The results of this work reported that 71% of the stock is actively deteriorating. An enormous amount of work has been undertaken since 2015 by the volunteer Library Preservation Team supported and trained by the conservation team at the South West Heritage Trust. The stock and library shelving have been cleaned and a programme of rebinding has been undertaken.

The earliest book in the library dates from the 16th Century. We need your help to ensure that this marvellous collection is here for future generations to use.

We are fortunate to have engaged the services of a specialist bookbinder and some of you may have already seen the results of her work.


How do I adopt a book?

Below are some examples of books in need of rebinding.  The books have been selected by the library team based on their knowledge of the collection.  However if there is a particular title that you would like to adopt please let us know.

  1. Choose the book that you would like to adopt or make your own selection.
  2. Choose the amount that you would like to donate.
  3. Complete the donation form on the Adopt a Book leaflet which can be found in the library or you can print a copy here: Adopt a book leaflet and form
  4. Return the form with a cheque made payable to Devon & Exeter Institution 2 marked for the attention of LIBRARIAN.

In return

for your donation you will receive

  • A certificate of thanks
  • A personalised bookplate attached to the inside cover of your adopted book, once it has been fully restored.

Western Times

We have three volumes of this newspaper which are in urgent need of attention.

“The Western Times grew out of the Exeter Weekly Times which was established in 1827 . The proprietors felt that the county was wanting in a “free and independent Press in which liberal principles might be boldly and fearlessly avowed and advocated”. It was a rival to the Conservative Trewman’s Exeter Flying Post. Encouraged by the increasing circulation, they changed the title to the Western Times to appeal to a wider audience out with Exeter .The paper became the Western Times on 3 Jan 1829, was still 4 pages long and cost 7d. Proprietor James Terrell brought in Thomas Latimer as sub-editor. Latimer had worked on various papers in the Devonshire area, but had been sacked from the Exeter and Plymouth Gazette for being rather too radical in his views. Latimer took over as owner and editor of the Western Times in 1835 and his views were reflected in his paper. He was a supporter of parliamentary reform, penal reform and abolition of death penalty and campaigned tirelessly for local government transparency and accountability and against all forms of oppression and injustice.”

(The British Newspaper Archive).

Digital copies are available from the British Newspaper Archive,

but as members are aware the collection of original newspapers to be found at the Institution form a special part of the collection and the restoration of these volumes would ensure there survival for future generations.

Western Times 

January – March 1914

Cost of restoration £550.00


Western Times

October to December 1904

Cost of restoration £550.00


Western Times

October to December 1915

Cost of restoration £550.00

If you would like to make a contribution to the restoration of these volumes please contact Anne Howard in the library or complete an “Adopt a Book “ form.