Page last updated at 11:04 GMT, Wednesday, 5 August 2009 12:04 UK

Missing atlas returned to library

1903 map of England and Wales
It is not known exactly when the book was borrowed

A 106-year-old atlas thought to have been taken out on loan shortly after it was published has been returned to an East Sussex library.

The map of England and Wales was handed in to Eastbourne Library after it was found by Dave Sellwood, 67, from nearby Hampden Park.

He said: "I was doing removals with a chap I used to work for and this was amongst it. He said I could keep it.

"These old maps have no roads, just a lot of railway lines."

He joked: "I'm not paying the back fines."

Mr Selwood found the atlas five years ago but handed the brown book to staff at the library last week. It has now been put back on the reference shelves.

It is not known when the book was taken out on loan but it is thought that it has been away from the library for more than a century.

Alison Cairns, from East Sussex County Council, said: "It is quite fascinating trying to find out what happened to the atlas.

"It's likely the book was bought for the library shortly after it was published."

She said if the book had still been on the library's shelves in recent years it would have been withdrawn or put in the back store, leading staff to believe it must have been removed many years ago.

"The chances of the book disappearing when it was new are quite high," she added.

Another possibility being considered is that the book was taken during looting after the library was bombed during World War Two.

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