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Croydon Book Society
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Croydon Book Society dated its history from 1788 or earlier (at which date it seems to have met every fortnight or so in the winter months). It is described in Garrows History of Croydon (1818), pp206 - 7.
The Book Society. This like many others in different parts of the country, is an association for the desirable purpose of affording to many resepctable and well- informed persons, who may not have the means of procuring the numerous publications of the present day, the opportunity of perusing instructive and entertaining books. According to the rules of the society, every member pays 16322 per annum, as a contribution, for the purchase of such books as the society may approve; which of course every subscriber is entitled to read, but necessarily for a limited time. At the expiration of every year, there is a meeting of the society, at the Kings Arms, when the books are disposed of amongst the members, to each highest bidder.
It was essentially a private circulating library: it functioned by buying books and magazines from its subscription income, circulating them among its membership, and then selling them to raise some additional income. In the early twentieth century, an Annual Dinner to raise some additional income. In the early twentieth century, an Annual Dinner incorporating a business meeting was held in December or January (normally with the Vicar of Croydon in the Chair): from 1940, this became a simpler Annual Meeting. The Society was wound up in December 1953, when its membership had dropped to 11, and no new Secretary could be found [Croydon Advertiser, 30/10/1953 pp1;6].
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