On 9th April 2019, The London Library had the privilege of hosting a special reception to mark the latest chapter in the journey of a rare Czech Torah scroll, created in 1898 and a remarkable survivor from the darkest days of World War II.

The Library has been looking after the scroll for the past 40 years and is now handing it into the care of the Memorial Scrolls Trust who have been central to safeguarding over 1,500 Czech scrolls seized by the Nazis and eventually rescued by leading members of the UK Jewish community.

The scroll in the Library’s care is a sacred relic from the Jewish community of Domažlice in Czechoslovakia, which was eradicated by the Nazis. The Domažlice Synagogue was destroyed but many of its documents and ritual objects survived - as was the case with many other objects of worship from other desolated Jewish communities across Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia.

Somehow Jewish leaders in Prague managed to persuade the Nazis to gather these items together in the capital’s Central Jewish Museum (itself an extraordinary survival throughout the war). After the war they largely remained there as repression continued under the post-war communist regime.

In 1964 the London art dealer, Eric Estorick, with the financial support of Ralph Yablon, negotiated with the Czech Communist regime to purchase these 1,564 Torah Scrolls with the purpose of restoring them to Jewish communities abroad. The scrolls arrived in London and were taken in by the Westminster Synagogue; a Memorial Scrolls Committee (later Memorial Scrolls Trust) was formed to oversee their safekeeping and a number are now housed in their Czech Scrolls Museum in Knightsbridge; others have been returned to diaspora communities linked to their original Czech communities.

Sadly, no such community exists for the Domažlice scroll (Czech Torah Scroll no. 614), which was entrusted into the safe-keeping of The London Library in 1979, through the auspices of the London Library’s Treasurer Lewis Golden - a prominent member of the Westminster Synagogue.

In recent years, the Library has worked with the Memorial Scrolls Trust to enable this scroll to join the collection in their Knightsbridge Museum, where its own history can be properly linked with that of the many hundreds of scrolls that are catalogued, conserved and displayed there.

Philip Marshall, Director of The London Library commented: “We are very proud to have played a part in the safe-keeping of this rare scroll and delighted to be able to place it into the safe keeping of the Memorial Scrolls Trust who have done so much to make the history of these extraordinary relics a living one.”

Jeffrey Ohrenstein, Chairman of the Memorial Scrolls Trust added, “Torah which binds all Jews together, is also the Pentateuch revered by Christianity and Al Tarwat (the Five Books of Musa) revered by Islam. The Memorial Scrolls Trust hopes our scrolls are used to remind people of what they have in common, rather than of what divides them”.

Torah 3

New Online Resources Now Available!

We are excited to be adding the British Newspaper Archive & Early English Books Online to the already extensive collection of e-resources that come as part of London Library membership.

The British Newspaper Archive

The BNA is a partnership between the British Library and Findmypast to digitise up to 40 million newspaper pages from the British Library's collection, which contains most of the runs of newspapers published in the UK since 1800.

The project has been scanning millions of pages of historical newspapers and making them available online. The resulting digital archive currently contains around three million pages of newspaper content and allows you to search hundreds of millions of articles by keyword, name, location, date or title.

SQuid on EEBO cropped

Early English Books Online

EEBO is a full-text database containing digital facsimile page images of virtually every work printed in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and British North America, plus works in English printed elsewhere from 1473-1700 - from the first book printed in English by William Caxton, through the age of Spenser and Shakespeare and the tumult of the English Civil War. The collection covers over 130,000 titles and contains more than 17 million digitally scanned pages. 

The EEBO project is currently scanning 100,000 more pages to add to this collection. 

The new services add to the extensive range of online resources that come with London Library membership. The Library already subscribes to over 300 online versions of the journals it offers in print form and thousands more periodicals are available online through the archive services that we provide free to Library members, such as JSTOR and Cambridge Humanities Journals. For further details of the extensive range of periodicals and databases that can be accessed on-line see our eJournals pages.

Accessing the new services

EEBO and much of the content of our eJournals is directly searchable through the Library’s online catalogue service CATALYST.

Access to the BNA is through the link on our eLibrary page. In addition to being signed in on the Library’s homepage you will need to register separately on the BNA website in order to view your search results. On your first visit, simply click on the Register button on the menu bar at the top of the screen, fill in your name and email address and choose a password.  You will receive an email to confirm that the registration process is complete. On subsequent visits you will need to use the email address and password you chose to sign in to view your search results. Please note that The London Library will not be able to reset your password for this site should you forget it!

Art Historian and London Library Vice-President

We were saddened to hear of the death on 12 March of Sir John Richardson, celebrated art historian and a Vice-President of The London Library since 2014.

During his long life (he died, aged 95 on the 12 March 2019) he became celebrated as a leading authority on Pablo Picasso and the avant-garde. The first volume of his acclaimed biography of Picasso was published in 1991 and won the Whitbread Book of the Year award. Two further volumes were published in 1996 and 2007 respectively. The fourth was still in progress when Sir John died.

His two volume memoir The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (1999) and Sacred Monsters, Sacred Masters (2001) recorded his life with the art critic Douglas Cooper, and the many connections Richardson developed with the avant-garde in the south of France after the Second World War and then with a range of artists and contacts in the art world in Britain and the US.

In 1994, he presented Richardson on Picasso, a BBC series of half-hour programmes related to the Tate’s Picasso exhibition. He presented a Channel 4 Picasso series in 2001, and contributed to a range of TV programmes about Picasso and other artists.

In the post-Cooper years (the pair separated in 1958), Richardson lived in New York where he had access to most of the big American collectors, worked for the American office of Christie’s and contributed to a range of journals including the New York Review of Books, Vanity Fair and Burlington Magazine. From 2008 he also worked as a consultant to the Gagosian Gallery in New York, where he organised six Picasso exhibitions, the last of which took place in 2017.

He was knighted in 2012 and in 2013 The London Library awarded him their Life in Literature Award. In 2014 he became a Vice-President of the Library, a position he held for the rest of his life.

Applications for the Emerging Writers Programme are now closed. Applicants will be notified during the second half of April.

The London Library – which has been a centre for great writing and great writers for over 175 years - today announced the launch of its new Emerging Writers Programme, geared towards supporting writers at the start of their careers and helping develop their work. The Programme offers writers one year’s membership of The London Library (which normally costs £535 per annum) alongside writing development masterclasses, literary networking opportunities, peer support and guidance in use of the Library’s resources. The Programme runs from 2 May 2019 – 1 May 2020.

The Library’s Emerging Writers Programme is open to anyone who is committed to pursuing a career in writing (for publication or performance) and wants to develop their work. Applicants should be working on, or planning, a specific project which will make extensive use of the Library’s resources and is intended for publication or production. The Programme is targeted at emerging writers who have not yet published a full-length work of fiction, non-fiction or a collection of poems, or had a full-length work professionally produced for mainstream film, TV or the stage.

The Programme has been established with the help of Library supporters including literary agency AM Heath, The Garrick Charitable Trust, The Golden Bottle Trust, and the Julio and Maria Marta Núñez Memorial Fund, and initially will fund up to 40 places. The closing date for applications is 12pm on Monday 4 March 2019; applications will then be selected anonymously by a panel of judges including London Library Trustee and writer Daisy Goodwin (chair), Head of Prizes and Awards at the Society of Authors Paula Johnson, novelist Nikita Lalwani, and an agent from AM Heath.

Under the Emerging Writers Programme, successful applicants will get free access to the Library’s unique collection which includes over one million books and over 2,500 periodicals titles arranged on open shelves that can all be borrowed. Membership also includes access to extensive online resources and dedicated writing and research spaces in the Library’s extraordinary building in central London.

The Emerging Writers Programme draws on the Library’s long association with writers and thinkers. Many have begun their literary careers here and thousands continue to draw on the Library to explore and develop their work. Author Davina Langdale describes how the Library provided the inspiration for her 2017 debut novel, The Brittle Star. “It would never have come into being without The London Library... It not only provided the research material for the book but it provided the perfect place for me to write.” Novelist Kate Davies described how the Library provided the perfect environment for her to write her first novel, In At The Deep End, appearing in February 2019. “I joined the Library when I left my job to write full time, and I come almost every day. I love writing surrounded by other writers.”

Bill Hamilton, Managing Director of AM Heath commented: “We’re marking our 2019 centenary at the heart of London’s literary life by investing in writers, both established ones and the next generation. As part of this we are sponsoring a number of subscriptions to The London Library for emerging book writers who are not yet published and who might find it hard to afford or get access to such a resource. The number of our established clients who have used this unique working environment long term is testimony to its enduring value.“

Philip Marshall, Director of The London Library, concluded: “The London Library has long been a centre of literary creativity and inspiration. Our new Emerging Writers Programme will provide invaluable support to those beginning the journey towards a writing career, opening up the extensive resources of The London Library to empower their imagination and take forward the projects they are developing.”

Ends -

Notes to Editor 

About The Emerging Writers Programme - Eligibility

1. The London Library Emerging Writers Programme is open to anyone aged 16 or over (as of 1 May 2019).

2. Applicants must be UK residents.

3. Applicants must be emerging writers. We define an emerging writer as someone who: has not previously published a novel, full-length non-fiction book, or a collection of poems or short stories; has not had work professionally produced via mainstream channels, studios or theatres for film, television or stage; is not currently under contract to produce any of the above.

This does not include: self-published work; work published online; chapbooks and pamphlets; short stories, articles or poems published within an anthology, journal, magazine or newspaper; works produced non-professionally for film, television or stage or works for fringe theatre productions; textbooks or academic texts

4. The scheme is open to writers of any genre

5. Applicants must be committed to making use of The London Library resources:

Use of the physical space as a base for writing and networking
Use of the collection (both physical and digital) to inspire thought and inform research and writing
For more information about eligibility requirements, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Full details about the Programme, including downloadable application forms, can be found at