Alan BellALAN SCOTT BELL (1942-2018)

It is with great sadness that the Library learned of the death on Tuesday 24th April of Alan Bell who was the Librarian here from 1993-2002.

Alan became Librarian following a distinguished career in collection development that began on graduation from Selwyn College, Cambridge with his appointment as Assistant Registrar to the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, and included fifteen years as Assistant Keeper at the National Library of Scotland (1966–81) and twelve years as Librarian at the University of Oxford Rhodes House Library (1981–93).

Alan had joined The London Library as a member in 1983 and was appointed Librarian in 1993 on the retirement of Douglas Matthews. He played a key role in the continued development and expansion of the Library’s collections and his tenure coincided with a period of considerable change as the Library tackled a series of significant building projects and embraced computerised cataloguing and Internet use. The Anstruther Wing (enabled by a major donation from Ian Anstruther) had recently been opened and the Drue Heinz Literary Fund had been established (the gift of a major endowment from Vice-President Drue Heinz, who died earlier this month). Alan helped ensure that both these generous gifts were able to fulfil their potential. Over 40,000 rare and vulnerable volumes were transferred into the safe storage of the Anstruther Wing, while the Drue Heinz Literary Fund has already enabled the Library to acquire thousands of books.

Alongside his highly successful library career, Alan actively pursued wider literary and antiquarian interests. He was a regular reviewer in the TLS and other London journals and his work for publication included a biography of Sydney Smith (1980), editing The Letters of Henry Cockburn and contributing to Histories of Oxford University and the Oxford University Press. He was appointed a Visiting Fellow at All Soul’s College, Oxford in 1980 and from 1993 worked as an advisory editor on the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Following his retirement he continued his literary projects including providing editorial assistance with the Oxford edition of The Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh.

For much of his time at The London Library, Alan was assisted in his work by the then Deputy Librarian, Inez Lynn, who succeeded him on his retirement in January 2002. Inez commented: “Alan brought a deep knowledge of books, writers and scholarship to the role of Librarian and embraced new technology with enthusiasm. Always generous with his assistance to writers and scholars, he was also exceptionally generous in allowing his senior staff to develop their own ideas for the Library and to bring them to fruition, taking real pleasure in their professional development.”

Drue Heinz 2

The London Library was very saddened to hear of the death on 30th March of Drue Heinz, an internationally renowned Patron of the arts and literature, and a great supporter of the Library.

Mrs Heinz was a dedicated Vice-President and held an honorary post on the Library’s international supporters' group, the International Friends of The London Library (IFLL). A generous benefactor, she enabled the Library to transform extensive areas of the building and its facilities as part of the RIBA-award refurbishment project carried out by architects Haworth Tompkins earlier this decade. The Drue Heinz Literary Fund that she endowed has played an important role in enabling the Library to expand and develop its collection - nearly 10,000 books have been acquired so far through resources provided by the Fund.

Mrs Heinz’s support of the arts and literature internationally and elsewhere in the UK has been extensive.

She endowed the Drue Heinz Chair in American Literature at St John's College, Oxford, and the Drue Heinz Literature Prize at the University of Pittsburgh. In 1983, she founded the Hawthornden Literary Retreat, an international retreat for writers. In 1971 she co-founded Ecco Press and also served as publisher of The Paris Review from 1993 to 2008. Her numerous roles included serving as a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, trustee of the Royal Academy of Arts and a council member of the Rothermere American Institute at Oxford. Mrs Heinz was also an active board member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the MacDowell Colony, the Pierpont Morgan Library, the American Academy in Rome and served on the International Council of the Museum of Modern Art.

In 1995, she was named an Honorary Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Howard Davies, Chair of The London Library, commented: "Drue Heinz was an internationally-renowned patron of the arts and literature and a generous supporter of The London Library. She will be greatly missed.”

Masons Yard restricted

We regret that a recent building accident in a property near The London Library has significantly reduced access into Mason’s Yard (which provides the only wheelchair and step-free entrance into the Library). There is currently no vehicle access and with pedestrian access also constrained, wheelchair users and others needing step-free access to the Library may need to consider entering Mason’s Yard via Ormond Yard.

Since the building accident involved the partial collapse of the road, repairs are likely to be lengthy and we expect access to remain disrupted for some time; it may be curtailed altogether during different phases of repair work.

While these problems persist, we would ask that anyone needing step-free access to the Library contacts our Reception first (020 7766 4700 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). We will be happy to advise on available routes, or on ways that we can help members who are unable to access the Library to obtain books and other information that they need.

Mayfair Times 3 web

We were delighted to find ourselves among the winners at this year's Mayfair Times 'Mayfair & St James's Community Awards', designed to celebrate the area by "recognising the efforts of people and organisations who have made a positive contribution to local life".

The awards ceremony was held at ​Claridges Hotel on 22nd January 2018 and was hosted by actor and TV host Alexander Armstrong. It followed an awards selection made by a judging panel comprising Dylan Jones, editor-in-chief of GQ magazine; Ewan Venters, CEO of Fortnum & Mason; Lydia Forte, restaurant development manager at Rocco Forte Hotels; Jeremy King, joint owner of the Corbin & King restaurants group; and David Gandy, the internationally famous model.

JensenThe London Library was awarded the 'Only in St James's' Award - granted to independent retailers and business i​n the area engaging with the local community - and received a handsome silverware pitcher designed by Mayfair-based Danish design house, Georg Jensen. Inez Lynn - who retired recently as the Library's Librarian and Chief Executive - also featured during the ceremony as one of the three shortlisted​ finalists in the Lifetime Achievement Award.

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