About Us

With more than one million books and periodicals in over 50 languages, the collection includes works from the 16th century to the latest publications in print and electronic form.


George Gilbert Scott SrIn the third instalment of her blog series on The London Library and The Victorians, Helen O’Neill, our Archive, Heritage & Development Librarian, takes a look at the links between The London Library and a distinguished architectural dynasty founded by Sir George Gilbert Scott, the leading proponent of the Gothic Revival. 

Gilbert Scott Sr joined the Library in December 1873. He was at the peak of his career - his astonishing Midland Hotel at St Pancras had been formally opened in May that year and he had been recently knighted following the 1872 opening of another of his most celebrated designs - the Albert Memorial. His Library membership was seconded by his architectural son who joined the Library a year before his father.

albert memorialSt Pancras



The Reading Room underwent a miraculous transformation on 1st December from hallowed centre of learning to spectacular party venue as guests joined host Sir Tom Stoppard for this year’s London Library Christmas Party, run in partnership with Harrods, the world’s most famous department store.

2016 marks our 175th anniversary and as part of the celebration, guests were treated to readings from Edward Fox, Anna Chancellor, Bill Paterson and Joely Richardson in the Library’s beautiful Reading Room. 

Harrods made sure the party ran in style, providing their luxurious, festive food and drink throughout the evening, and setting the scene with the celebrated Harrods vintage van parked outside in St. James’s Square! 


Pushkin Montage 3In time for Christmas, The London Library has joined forces with Pushkin Press to co-produce a second batch of beautifully designed books containing fascinating and quirky material from the Library’s amazing collection.

The books in this second Found on the Shelves series have not been in print for decades and have been chosen to give a fascinating insight into the unexpected treasures that can be found on our shelves.

Covering topics including the art of drinking in the 19th century, the thrill of the first hot air balloon flight, how to master Victorian social etiquette, intrepid Victorian hikes, and boxing tutorials from George Bernard Shaw’s personal instructor, the collection is an esoteric adventure back in time.

The books are edited by The London Library’s Librarian Inez Lynn and Head of Bibliographic Services Dunia Garcìa-Ontiveros as well as by Pushkin Press’s Julia Nicholson. Jacket designs have been produced by acclaimed designer David Pearson.

The six new ‘Found on the Shelves’ titles are:

They join the popular first series which consisted of 6 equally varied and entertaining titles:

Pushkin group 2Together this fascinating, entertaining and humorous collection makes an ideal Christmas gift for any book lover with an appetite for the quirky and unexpected. 

Each book is between 64 and 128 pages long and priced at just £4.99 (ex postage).The full batch of 6 titles in each series costs £27.50 and the complete set of all 12 Found on the Shelves books costs £50. 


Books in sunlight 200x200A gift membership is the perfect present to enjoy all year round - and is also a great way of supporting The London Library. There really is no better literary gift for your friends and family this Christmas!

SPOUSE MEMBERSHIP - share your passion for the written word with someone you love, for half the usual annual fee. Spouse Membership is £20.66 a month (£248 annually).

YOUNG PERSON’S MEMBERSHIP - encourage the love of books in your children, godchildren or grandchildren this Christmas. Young Person's Membership (16 - 24 year olds) is £20.66 a month (£248 annually).

Individual and Life Memberships can also be given as a gift.

£50 & £100 GIFT VOUCHERS - contribute towards the cost of a friend or family member’s Library membership with a London Library Membership Gift Voucher.

A GIFT FOR YOU - If you purchase a Gift Membership for someone special this Christmas, you will receive a £50 Gift Voucher towards the cost of your next membership renewal fee as a mark of our thanks.*

www.londonlibrary.co.uk/join or ask at Reception

Registered charity number 312175

* Offer valid on gift memberships bought before 31 December 2016. Terms and conditions apply, please see www.londonlibrary.co.uk/2016gift for details.


Peter Ackroyd


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