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The secrets of Cambridges tallest tower are about to be revealed for the very first time

Its the tallest public building in Cambridge, and probably the most mysterious.

The University Libr..

By admin , in Cambridge , at April 11, 2018

Its the tallest public building in Cambridge, and probably the most mysterious.

The University Librarys tower, rumoured to house a giant stash of Victorian pornography, is about to bare all.

For the first time ever, some of its fascinating secrets are going to be revealed in a special exhibition, starting soon.

Hundreds of thousands of books are stored in the tower – and many have never been opened

The library was built in the 1930s, and it has more than eight million books – occupying 125 miles of shelving.

Chinese oracle bones from the second millennium BC can be found alongside the latest scientific journals, and its collections include the papers of Isaac Newton and an archive of Charles Darwins correspondence.

But the tower is the librarys sin bin, where books and other material once thought not good enough for the main building were hidden away.

It is off limits to almost everyone, with access granted to only a handful of library staff, researchers and academics – and most of the hundreds of thousands of books it houses have never been opened.

Now the public will get the chance to see some of them, as well as other items there that were once deemed trash, but many of which are now the subject of fascination to scholars of sociology.

By law, the University Library is entitled to have a copy of every book and journal published in the UK and Ireland.

Many of the books were considered of 'secondary' importance

The exhibition will be free, and it will open to the public on Wednesday May 2, with the writer Sebastian Faulks performing the official opening the day before.

A library spokesman said: "The Tower Collection is an Aladdins cave for book lovers and historians alike where valuable first editions jostle for shelf space alongside Victorian toys and games, colourful childrens books, Edwardian fiction (beautifully preserved with their original dust jackets) and popular magazines of the day.

All about the tower

It's 157ft (48m) high – making it taller than the Statue of Liberty

It has 17 floors, and there are 247 steps to the top

Its contents have inspired countless authors, including C S Lewis and Stephen Fry

Its rumoured to have loads of porn from Victorian times on its shelves

The exhibition is called Tall Tales: Secrets of the Tower

Nearly all the items on show have never been on public display before

Former Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain described the tower as a magnificent erection

It was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, architect of the iconic red telephone box and Battersea Power Station

"The oldest items in the tower date from 1710, with the most recent material dating from the early years of the 21st century.

"As well as visiting the exhibition, for a limited time only, members of the public will also have the chance to tour the tower.

The tower under construction in the 1930s

"While first editions of books such as The Hobbit, Casino Royale and The Famous Five series are considered literary classics today, such novels were deemed of little academic value at the time of publication and effectively banished to the tower. There, they sit alongside the myriad toys, board games, Valentines cards, pop-up books and Mr Men cartoons, which have all found their way into the tower since its completion in 1934."

University Librarian Jess Gardner said: "Now regarded as an archive of global importance, the towers irreplaceable contents tell the story of our national life through the printed word.

"Some of the items on show will include scandalous and libellous books, the first novel to focus on poor, working-class black culture in Britain (Samuel Selvons The Lonely Londoners) and an array of delightfully-titled books such as Indoor Games for Awkward Moments and Cupids Code (For the Transmission of Secret Messages by Means of the Language of Postage Stamps).

"Victorian cookery books and Penguin paperback novels were considered of little importance when they arrived – but time and a changing world has made what was once secondary, one of the greatest book collections of the Western World.

"These collections inform ongoing research at the University Library today including the study of how regional and working-class novels are informing our understanding of a history of place. The Tower Collection is not just some static collection of unread books, but a vast amalgamation of ideas that continues to spark inquiry into the human condition."

Is it true about the porn? No – that's just a myth, spread by students.

Tall Tales: Secrets of the Tower opens to the public on Wednesday, May 2 and runs until Saturday October 27.

It takes place in the librarys Milstein Exhibition Centre. Entrance is free.

The library is in West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DR