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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.


Daisy goodwin2After its memorable run on ITV earlier this year, Victoria – the acclaimed new series about the life of the young Queen Victoria – premieres on PBS on January 15th 2017.

The series - and the book that accompanies it - has been written and produced by London Library member Daisy Goodwin and much of it researched in the Library.

We are delighted that on 17th January 2017 Daisy will be hosting an event in New York for members of the International Friends and Founders' Circle groups of The London Library to talk about the series she has created and the role the Library played in its development.

Spaces are very limited but if you would like more information on this fascinating event then please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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


Hawthornden image cropTessa Hadley was named as the winner of this year’s Hawthornden Prize at an award ceremony held at The London Library yesterday (5th July 2016)

Her award was presented by writer and Man Booker Prize winner Alan Hollinghurst (The Line of Beauty, The Stranger’s Child) who spoke warmly of Tessa’s contribution to fiction which has included 6 bestselling novels and a range of short stories.

The Hawthornden Prize was established in 1919 and shares the honour of being Britain’s oldest literary award. Previous winners have included Colm Tóibín, Ali Smith, Alan Bennett, Claire Tomalin, VS Naipaul, Ted Hughes, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, and Vita Sackville-West.

The Hawthornden Prize is granted annually for a work published in the previous twelve months and this year’s award recognised Tessa’s most recent work – The Past – which was published in 2015.  

Tessa Hadley has been awarded and nominated for a range of awards during her writing career and earlier this year was awarded the Windham–Campbell Literature Prize for fiction.

2016 is a momentous year for The London Library, marking 175 years since it first opened its doors in 1841.

In recognition of this milestone we have launched a special appeal, to enable Library supporters to mark the anniversary and raise funds to help develop our most fundamental activities.

For 175 years the Library has supported reading, writing and research and has built up a unique collection of over 1 million books which can almost all be borrowed. It has done this as an entirely independent institution, funded by membership fees and donations. Membership fees enable us to the meet the Library’s operating costs but we rely on additional donations to fund vital work in developing our collection, our building and the services we are able to offer.

The 175 Appeal is designed to help the Library ensure that our resources can be used to their fullest. Donations will help the Library:

  • Develop its collection through acquisition of new books, ensuring we can offer the best of the new titles that appear each year
  • Conserve the collection and ensure that our books – many of which are centuries old – can be kept in usable and borrowable condition
  • Ensure that our collection is effectively catalogued and accessible through Catalyst, our on-line catalogue and discovery tool
  • Facilitate wider access to our collection – for example through lending books via the Inter Library Loan scheme or enabling access to those who otherwise could not afford it.

Philip Spedding, Development Director at The London Library commented, “Our 175th anniversary is a great time to celebrate what the Library has achieved over the last 175 years. But it is also an important time to focus on the future development of our collection and the services we provide. We hope that through The 175 Appeal and the fantastic support we receive from countless individuals and organisations that we can raise vital funds to enable the Library to continue enhancing its collection and the unique role it plays. All of which, we think, would meet with the wholehearted approval of our founder, the great Scottish writer Thomas Carlyle”.


Antony Beevor


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