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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 September, 2003, 15:03 GMT 16:03 UK
Library shows its rarest books
Central Library, Liverpool
Sections of the library normally closed have opened their doors
Rare books dating back to the 13th century have gone on display in Liverpool for one weekend only.

The city's Central Library has thrown open its doors on what it describes as its "crown jewels", as part of the UKs annual Heritage Open Days. There is also access to the city's town hall.

The books include the city's charters, which date back nearly 800 years, and a rare edition of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales that is said to be one of the finest examples of the craft of printing.

Visitors can also see John James Audubon's, "The Birds of America 1827-38", one of the most valuable natural history books ever produced.

Original watercolours

Guided tours are taking place to reveal some of the secrets of the 143-year-old library such as the rare architecture of the Victorian dome in the Picton Reading Room.

Local historian Joseph Sharples will be lecturing on Sunday.

Councillor Warren Bradley, executive member for Leisure and Culture, said: ''We are privileged to have such an amazing and breathtaking heritage in Liverpool.

''This weekend is a great opportunity to look behind the scenes at what in effect is Liverpool's cultural headquarters, as well as one of the best and most historic libraries in the country.''

Other items on display include original watercolours by Edward Lear and some 16th and 17th century atlases.

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