Overdue Tchaikovsky returned to library after 59 years

Librarians in Westminster are pleased to be reunited with a score of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 - almost six decades after it was borrowed.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Staff at the Royal Academy of Music posted the score back to Westminster Music Library after receiving it as an anonymous donation. The front page is stamped with several dates from the 1950s, until the list suddenly stops at 14 June 1954.

Over a period of 59 years it would have racked up a fine of around £5,500, but luckily the library caps its fines at £10. What's more, there's no way of knowing who borrowed the book now the old-style ticketing system has been scrapped in favour of electronic records.

Councillor Steve Summers of Westminster City Council said while it was unusual for a book to be returned so late, he's glad to see it back in the library.

"It goes to show that it's never too late to return something that is overdue," he said. "It is great that we can put this item back onto our shelves so that others may have the opportunity to borrow it and learn to play this wonderful piece of music."

Anyone living in the United Kingdom can use Westminster Music Library. It holds more than 82,000 items for loan and reference, and is one of the UK's largest public music library collections.

Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 - Video