Founded in 1888 by William Frederick Rock, the North Devon Athenaeum was designed to replace the Barnstaple Literary and Scientific Institute he had set up in 1845. Designed to be a free library and museum for the local area we were situated on the Square in Barnstaple we also became an unofficial record office for the town as well.
In 1956 the Devon County Library Service moved into the ground floor of the building from more cramped premises in Bridge Buildings, an arrangement which continued until the plans were drawn up for the Library and Record Office in Tuly Street.
In 1988 the library moved into the newly purpose built North Devon Library and Record Office where we make up one third of a local studies library along with the North Devon Record Office and North Devon Local Studies Library.
Our museum Items remained in the old building on loan to the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon which had been purchased for the purpose by the District Council.
For more visit our website www.northdevonathenaeum.org.uk