Library Opening Times
The Christopher Tower Reference Library is open to the public, stewarded by volunteers, at the following times:
Wednesdays 10.00am - 4.00pm
Fridays 10.00am - 12.30pm (Closed Friday 1 January 2016)
Please note that outside of these times the library can be accessed by appointment with seven days notice.
Please contact 023 8028 3444 to make an appointment.
Please visit this website for details for regular updates.
The Christopher Tower New Forest Reference Library houses the most comprehensive collection of books, maps, reports and ephemera on the New Forest available to the public in a single location.
Recent acquisitions include the Burrard Paintings.
Please contact the Centre Office before your visit, or ask at the Centre reception desk.
The collection contains microfiche and microfilm copies of all the census returns for the whole of South-west Hampshire and also microfiche covering all the parish registers. There are good runs of trade directories as well as numerous biographies, autobiographies, memoirs and diaries.
What's in the Library
This Library probably contains the largest collection of the great classical works on the Forest, published from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, and there is a very large collection of general books on the Forest together with guides and books on Forest walks. The past is well represented with studies both on the Forest's history and that of the individual towns and villages lying within and around it.
The collection covering natural history is extensive and includes the observational notes made by the late Eric Ashby from the 1950s to the 1990s. Many standard works on all aspects of natural history are also within the Library. Woodland and forestry is very well represented and includes a number of limited reports produced by the Forestry Commission.
Collections include the Library of the medieval forest specialist David Stagg, Gypsies of the New Forest and material relating to military use of the Forest. This includes lists of all the men killed and commemorated on the war memorials of every parish with extensive biographical notes. Also included in this section are books on the New Forest airfields, military hospitals and the manoeuvres of the late nineteenth century.
The ephemeral collections on all subjects include newspaper, magazine and journal cuttings, personal notes, leaflets, advertisements and a host of minutiae of all kinds. The Library also is home to a sizeable collection of photographs and postcards relevant to the geographical area covered in the main collections.
The Library is constantly expanding its collections.
The Library is wholly owned and run by the New Forest Ninth Centenary Trust, a charitable trust, charity no 279373. It is an expensive operation to maintain and donations and bequests are very gratefully received for its support and continuance.