Appointment confirmed as Helena Bonham Carter CBE completes her first year as London Library President  

The London Library is pleased to announce Simon Godwin has been formally confirmed as the new Chair of Trustees at the 182nd AGM of The London Library, taking over from Sir Howard Davies. 

Simon has been a London Library member for 14 years and is a member of the Founders’ Circle of supporters. With an extensive career in financial services, Simon was most recently a founding Partner and Finance Director of Fundsmith, the asset management firm. He is currently working with a number of high growth companies including being Chair of GaitQ Limited, a medical devices spin-out from Oxford University. 

Simon enters into the role as Chair at an exciting time. This year, for the fifth successive year, the Library saw growth in net membership, welcoming more than 1,300 members across all membership types, achieving the highest total membership since 2008. The Library has also benefitted this year from substantial unrestricted legacy income, generating an operating surplus and enabling the trustees to set aside funds to support future improvements to the Library. 

Also on the day of the AGM, Helena Bonham Carter CBE completed her first year as Library President. Her support and advocacy have seen a measurable growth in interest and awareness of the Library, and helped the Library to obtain new users by shining a light on the it’s role as a vital institution in our cultural landscape. 

This will be Simon’s third charity governance position; he is on the Board of Trustees at the Royal Institution and is the co-founder and trustee of Levelling Up:STEM, and he is also a supporter of the Hampstead and Park Theatres. 

Simon succeeds Sir Howard Davies who completed his second four-year term as Chair at the AGM. As Chair, Sir Howard led the search for current Library Director Philip Marshall and oversaw the successful development of the Library’s strategic plan, delivering the Library from a precarious financial position to a sound and sustainable one.

The role of Chair of the Trustees is to provide overall leadership to the Library in partnership with the Director, enabling Trustees and staff to work collectively for the good of the Library, for its long-term sustainability and towards the fulfilment of its charitable aims. The Chair gives their time freely and does not receive any remuneration during the year.  

Open to all, the Library has been providing an invaluable source of inspiration and support for its diverse community of readers, writers and thinkers for over 180 years. In recent years, the Library has widened access to its extensive resources through The London Library Lit Fest, Emerging Writers Programme, subsidised schools memberships and other outreach activities to promote reading and writing and maintain its unique cultural impact. The Library’s members are estimated to publish 700 books per year and draft over 400 scripts for theatre, television and cinema (Nordicity and Chartered Accountants Saffrey Champness Impact Report, 2020). 

London Library Chair, Simon Godwin, commented, “I am delighted to be officially confirmed as the Chair of Trustees for The London Library. As a long-standing member, I have always felt at home in the Library and that it holds a unique place in our cultural landscape. For over 180 years, it has served as centre of creativity and ideas and that vibrancy is at its heart. Under Sir Howard Davies’ leadership, the Library flourished and I am eager to continue on this success, further broadening its reach.”

London Library Director, Philip Marshall commented, “We are all looking forward to working with Simon as we begin to plan the next chapter in the Library’s story. We would like to thank Sir Howard Davies for his enormous contribution to the Library.”

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