Our evening opening arrangements for Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays have now changed. 

On Mondays and Tuesdays members will be able to use the Library until 9pm.

On Wednesday evenings the Library will normally close at 5.30pm to help support evening venue hire and public events, which are an important source of income for us. On many occasions, however, we will be able to stay open until 9pm as often public events are sufficiently self-contained that they can be hosted in the first floor reading rooms without restricting member access to other parts of the Library. Where this is the case, the Library - with the exception of the Reading Room, Writers' Room and Sackler Study - will remain open to members until 9pm.

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Upcoming dates

The Library will be open until 9pm on the following Wednesdays. Please note, the Reading Room, Sackler Study and Writer's Room will not be open:

6 March

3 April

24 April

8 May

22 May

More to be announced.

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Summary of revised opening hours:

Mondays: 9.30am-9.00pm

Tuesdays: 9.30am-9.00pm

Wednesdays: 9.30am-5.30pm; or 9.30am-9.00pm when events in the Reading Room are compatible with maintaining member access to other parts of the Library

Thursdays: 9.30am-5.30pm

Fridays: 9.30am-5.30pm

Saturdays: 9.30am-5.30pm

Sundays: Closed

The recent AGM (held on 7th November 2018) approved the proposal to increase the ordinary annual fee to £535 (a £10 increase) with effect from January 1st 2019 - but for those paying by annual direct debit the fee will remain at the current price of £510. It was also agreed to extend the maximum age range for Young Person's Membership from 24 to 26.

The £10 increase in ordinary annual membership represents a 1.9% increase. Proportionate increases will be applied for the other membership categories, and life membership fees will be broadly increased by the same percentage as annual fees. 

The new rates are as follows:

Individual Membership

Annual membership

Annual - £535 (which can be spread across monthly payments of £44.58)
Payment by annual direct debit - £510


Spouse/partner membership (for spouses or partners of full annual or life members)

Annual - £267.50 (which can be spread across monthly payments of £22.29)
Payment by annual direct debit - £255


Young Persons’ Membership (for all members aged 16-26) 

Annual - £267.50
Payment by annual direct debit - £255


Temporary overseas membership (for overseas visitors)

4 months’ duration  - £267.50 


Extra borrowing allowances

Additional 5 volumes - £46


Institutional Membership


Public libraries - £48 per volume

Educational/charitable institutions (10 or more staff/members)

Annual - £1,070
Additional 5 volumes - £138


Other institutions (10 or more staff/members)

Annual - £1,605
Additional 5 volumes - £230


Smaller institutions (Less than 10 staff/members)

Annual - £642
Additional 5 volumes - £92

Life Membership

Age 80 and over - £1,500
75 to 79 - £4.000
70 to 74 - £5,800
65 to 69 - £7,800
60 to 64 - £10,600
55 to 59 - £12,300
50 to 54 - £14,200
45 to 49 - £15,800
40 to 44 - £17,500
35 to 39 - £19,200
30 to 34 - £20,900
25 to 29 - £22,300
18 to 24 - £23,300
 

The London Library today unveiled a fascinating discovery that sheds new light on how Dracula was researched and written. We've found 26 books that are almost certainly the original copies that Bram Stoker used to help research his enduring classic.

Philip Spedding, the Library’s Development Director who made the discovery, commented: “Bram Stoker was a member of The London Library but until now we have had no indication whether or how he used our collection. Today’s discovery changes that and we can establish beyond reasonable doubt that numerous books still on our shelves are the very copies that he was using to help write and research his masterpiece.”

Philip’s detective trail began with the collection of Stoker’s handwritten and typed notes that had been discovered in 1913 but only published in facsimile form in 2008*. The notes list a wide range of Stoker’s sources for Dracula and include hundreds of references to individual lines and phrases that he considered relevant. A recent trawl of our shelves has revealed that the Library has original copies of 25 of these books, carrying detailed markings that closely match Stoker’s notebook references.

The markings range from crosses and underlinings against relevant paragraphs, to page turnings on key pages, to instructions to have someone copy entire sections into his typewritten notes.

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BOOKOFWARE

Some of the most heavily marked books include Sabine Baring-Gould’s “Book of Were-Wolves” and Thomas Browne’s “Pseudodoxica Epidemica”. But the range of titles also sheds light on the detail of Stoker’s geographical and historical research – for example, AF Crosse’s “Round About the Carpathians” and Charles’ Boner’s “Transylvania”.

 The suggestion that Stoker was using the Library heavily is given added weight by the timing of his seven-year membership which coincides almost exactly with the period when he was working on Dracula and beginning to develop an active writing career alongside his already very successful role as theatre manager at The Lyceum Theatre. Earlier research by our Archive Librarian Helen O’Neill showed that he joined in 1890, the year he visited Whitby and first developed the idea for his vampire story, and he finally left the Library in 1897, the year Dracula was published. His membership form is seconded by his close friend Henry Hall Caine, a bestselling author of the day, a London Library member, and the man to whom Stoker dedicated Dracula, using Hall Caine’s nickname “Hommy-Beg”.

38 Stokers application Bram Stoker0166

Philip Spedding continued, “It is almost certain that the books we have found have been marked up by Bram Stoker himself and that he drew heavily on The London Library’s collection to help research Dracula. Indeed, it is not fanciful to suggest that his extraordinary tale of the Transylvanian undead has many of its origins in the quiet confines of St. James’s Square.”

Professor Nick Groom from Exeter University and a leading expert on gothic literature said, “This is a very exciting discovery. I have examined the books and their annotations with Philip Spedding and have compared them with Bram Stoker’s own notes. I am in no doubt that Bram Stoker used these very copies for Dracula – a book that took him seven years to write. They demonstrate that The London Library was the crucible of one of the most influential novels in world history.”

Philip Marshall, Director of The London Library concluded: “Bram Stoker followed the same path that many writers have pursued before and since - using the Library to transition into a serious writing career, and drawing heavily on the Library’s collection to seek inspiration and ideas for his masterpiece. With the Library’s incredible list of members past and present, some of the most famous characters in fiction must have been developed here – with today’s discovery we can feel sure that Dracula was one of them. We hope that many aspiring writers will follow Bram Stoker’s example and use The London Library as a source of inspiration and support when creating their own masterpieces.”


Books referenced in Bram Stoker’s notebooks that are still on the Library’s shelves

  • Nineteenth Century XVIII, Mme Emily de Laszowka Gerard, Kegan Paul, Trench & Co, July 1885
  • The Book of Were-Wolves, Sabine Baring-Gould, Smith, Elder and Co, 1865
  • Pseudodoxia Epidemica, Thomas Browne, 1672
  • Magyarland, Nina Elizabeth Mazuchelli, Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, 1881
  • The Golden Chersonese, Isabella Bird, John Murray, 1883
  • Round about the Carpathians, AF Crosse, Blackwoods, 1878
  • On the Track of Crescent, Major EC Johnson, Hurst & Blackett, 1885
  • Transylvania: Its Products and Its People, Charles Boner, Longman, Green, Reader & Dyer, 1865
  • An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia, William Wilkinson, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown, 1820
  • Curious Myths of the Middle Ages (2 vol), Sabine Baring-Gould, Rivington, 1868
  • Germany Past and Present (2 vol), Sabine Baring-Gould, C Kegan Paul & Co, 1879
  • Legends & Superstitions of the Sea, Bassett
  • The Origin of Primitive Superstitions, Dorman, Lippincott, 1881
  • Credulities Past & Present, W Jones, Chatto & Windus, 1880
  • The Folk-Tales of The Magyars, The Rev W Henry Jones and Lewis L. Kropf, The Folk-Lore Society, 1889
  • Superstition & Force, HC Lea, Lea Brothers & Co, 1892
  • Sea Fables Explained, Henry Lee, William Cloves & Sons, 1883
  • Anecdotes of the Habits and Instincts of Birds, Reptiles and Fishes, Mrs R Lee, Grant & Griffith, 1853
  • The Other World; or, Glimpses of the Supernatural. Being Facts, Records, and Traditions, FG Lee, Henry S King & Co, 1875
  • Letters on the Truths Contained in Popular Superstitions, Herbert Mayo, Blackwood, 1849
  • The Devil: His Origin, Greatness and Decadence, Rev Albert Réville, Williams & Norgate, 1871
  • A Tarantasse Journey through Eastern Russia in the Autumn of 1856, W Spottiswode, Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans & Roberts
  • Miscellany, W Spottiswode
  • Traité des Superstitions qui Regardent les Sacraments (4 vol), Jean-Baptiste Thiers, Louis Chambeau, 1777
  • The Phantom World: or, The Philosophy of Spirits, Apparitions &c. (2 vol), Augustin Calmet, Richard Bentley, 1850
  • The Land Beyond the Forest (2 vol), E Gerard, William Blackwood & Sons, 1888

Other books on the Library’s shelves not referenced in Stoker’s notebooks but containing comparable marginalia

  • On the Truths Contained in Popular Superstitions with an Account of Mesmerism, H Mayo, William Blackwood & Sons, 1851
  • La Magie et L'Astrologie dans L'Antiquité at au Moyen Age, Didier et Cie, 1860
  • Anecdotes of the Habits and Instincts of Animals, Mrs R Lee, Grant & Griffith, 1852
  • Narratives of Sorcery and Magic (2 vol), Thomas Wright, Richard Bentley, 1851
  • Things not Generally Known. Popular Errors Explained, John Timbs, Kent & Co, 1858
  • Roumania Past and Present, James Samuelson, Longmans, Green & Co, 1882

Books referenced in Bram Stoker’s notebooks no longer on the Library’s shelves

  • A Glossary of Words used in the Neighbourhood of Whitby, FK Robinson
  • The Natural & Supernatural of Man, John Jones,
  • History & Mystery of Previous Stones, W Jones
  • Superstition Connected with Hist & Medicine

Books referenced in Bram Stoker’s notebooks never held by the Library

  • Fishery Barometer Manual, Robert Scott
  • The Theory of Dreams (2 vol), FC & J Rivington, St. Pauls Churchyard, 1808
  • Sea Monsters Unmasked, Henry Lee
  • A report in IBIS on "The Birds of Translyvania", Danford and Brown

* ‘Bram Stoker’s Notes For Dracula’ was published in 2008 in a facsimile edition annotated and transcribed by Robert Eighteen-Bisang and Elizabeth Miller

Windows InternalWe are continuing to make progress with the project to replace the windows on the Lightwell Room side of the St James’s stacks (which have now deteriorated beyond the point where they can be realistically repaired). We are installing custom-made replacements which will look nearly identical (and feature identical window stays), but will also be double-glazed and reduce the current levels of solar gain.

Although there have been some initial delays arising from the new windows being delivered later than anticipated, we expect all the new windows and fittings to have been installed by the end of August. We will be able to remove the scaffolding shortly afterwards and begin decorating the walls adjacent to the new windows. We hope to complete this work and remove the protective covering on that side of the stacks by early/mid-September

The windows replacement work is part of a wider project that will see a significant improvement of member facilities with the installation of 12 new desks in the stacks and upgrades to the existing six.  The new desks will be housed on the three floors overlooking St James’s Square and to make way for them we are removing the modern metal bookshelves currently in position, and re-locating the books they contain elsewhere within the Library. The book moving work is already underway, and the shelves will be removed in early September, after which additional power sockets will be installed. We will then begin two weeks of work to decorate the walls on the St James’s Square side of the stacks. We anticipate some noise and disruption during this work and protective covering will be in place on adjacent stacks, but it should be complete by early/mid-October with installation of new oak and leather inlaid desks taking place by the end of October.

We are extremely grateful to everyone for putting up with the disruption that has inevitably accompanied the works so far and hope that members can bear with us while the works are being completed. The wait should be worth it. The installation of 12 new desks will expand the Library’s overall desk provision by nearly 10% and should mean that spare desks will be easier to find during busy periods. It will also help with our wider ambition to increase membership numbers, which as we have communicated previously is a fundamental part of ensuring a stable financial position for the Library.

In thanking everyone for their tolerance while the works are underway, we also want to thank everyone who has given so generously to the windows replacement appeal. The Appeal has raised enough funds to cover all of the work, meaning that none of it now needs to come out of operating resources. This is an enormously helpful result and we are extremely grateful for all the very generous support we have received.

 

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