About Us

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.

 

MEMBERS PAST AND PRESENT

From its foundation, The London Library has been associated with many of the most prominent writers and thinkers of the day - from Dickens to Darwin, George Eliot to Bram Stoker, John Stuart Mill to Harriet Martineau. Gladstone was on the first committee; The Earl of Clarendon, the Victorian statesman and diplomat, was the Library's first president; WM Thackeray an early auditor of the Library's accounts.

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries the Library’s growing membership continued to attract many of the leading figures of the day:

  • Writers such as Joseph Conrad, Rudyard Kipling, Agatha Christie, Edith Sitwell, Virginia Woolf, EM Forster, John Betjeman and Siegfried Sassoon.
  • Artists such as Edward Burne-Jones; actors such as Henry Irving and Laurence Oliver; musicians such as Edward Elgar
  • Alfred Lord Tennyson, Kenneth Clark and TS Eliot were Library Presidents, Winston Churchill a Vice President.
  • Over time, 5 Poets Laureate and 10 Nobel prize-winners have been members

And the roll call of familiar writers and public figures continues to this day – from Simon Schama, Lady Antonia Fraser, Andrew Marr and Stephen Fry, to David Hare, Simon Callow, Lynne Truss, Sarah Waters, Kazuo Ishiguro and Claire Tomalin.

These famous names are part of a much wider community of nearly 7,000 members who find the Library’s resources invaluable. Our members come from all ages and backgrounds and membership is open to everyone.

On a daily basis, members of the public, authors, academics, students, researchers and people from a host of professional backgrounds share our facilities and their love of learning, creating a unique cultural institution in the heart of London. 

Here's what some of our members have to say

Author, Producer and Screenwriter Daisy Goodwin talks about the essential role The London Library played in the making of her international hit TV series, "Victoria":

10 great writers and actors at our 175th celebrations in St. James's Square describe what they love about The London Library:

And more from our members on what they love about The London Library:

 

"THE UNIQUE ATMOSPHERE OF THE LONDON LIBRARY"

Antony Beevor

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