‘Forgotten’ Portsmouth library book rediscovered over 60 years overdue


A library book, appropriately named Forgotten Submarine, has been returned to Portsmouth City Council’s library service after being on loan for over 60 years.

Jill Davies rediscovered the book when she was decluttering during lockdown and wrote to Portsmouth City Council sharing the book’s exciting journey.

Jill rescued the book from the side of Fratton Road in 1957, and as a keen young reader, she couldn’t resist reading the novel before returning it to the library. However, she never got around to returning the book until she rediscovered it last year.

In her letter, Jill said: “As an avid reader, there was no way I was going to return the book until I had read it – which I did, and thoroughly enjoyed. But the one thing I never got around to doing was taking it to the library.

COVID lockdowns have led to my decluttering and minimising generally and a radical cull of my books. I discovered this vastly overdue novel at the back of a dusty shelf. Over the past sixty-four years, it (along with about a thousand other books) has moved from Gosport to Southsea, back to Gosport again, and eventually to London, but I now feel it’s time for it to make the return journey home.”

Jill also expressed her concerns about the fines the original borrower received but was delighted to hear that Portsmouth City Council has scrapped all overdue library fines to help encourage residents to return to the library.

Cllr Ben Dowling, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development, said: “I’m delighted Jill has got in contact with us to return the book, and I hope this story inspires others to rediscover their library and not be afraid of any previous fines. Portsmouth libraries welcomes everyone who lives, works or studies in the city, and the team are more than happy to help with any questions or concerns.”

To find out more about Portsmouth libraries, visit the brand-new website at: librariesandarchives.portsmouth.gov.uk/public-library-service/