Page last updated at 13:15 GMT, Monday, 10 August 2009 14:15 UK

Library book returned 70 years on

Mrs Chadwick with book
As the book gathered dust on a stool England won the football World Cup

A library book borrowed on the eve of World War II has been returned to an east London council - 70 years overdue.

Iris Chadwick, 83, borrowed the score of the musical Rose Marie from Cubitt Town Library, Tower Hamlets, in 1939.

The library's 10p per day penalty for overdue books would equate to a fine of more than £2,500.

But Mrs Chadwick, who lived on the Isle of Dogs before moving to her current home in Dorset, was relieved when the council agreed to waive any fine.

While the book sat on her piano stool communism rose and fell, England won the football World Cup and man set foot on the moon.

But Mrs Chadwick's conscience finally got the better of her when she encountered it while clearing out her house.

I've hung on to the book for so long because it was part of my childhood
Iris Chadwick

She said: "I was going to take it to the charity shop, but thought it still belongs to the library so perhaps I should check.

"I've hung on to the book for so long because it was part of my childhood.

"It brings back memories of the teacher who caught me playing the piano and instead of telling me off, told me to go to the library and borrow the music."

Tower Hamlets Council has now introduced a three-month amnesty for late library books.

Councillor Rofique Ahmed, said: "It just goes to show it's never too late to return a book."



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