London Library Members

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 and 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 Virginia Woolf, Joseph Conrad, Angela Carter, EM Forster, John Betjeman, Siegfried Sassoon, and Muriel Spark.
  • Artists such as Edward Burne-Jones, actors such as Henry Irving, Diana Rigg, and Laurence Oliver, directors such as Harold Pinter and Stanley Kubrick, and musicians such as Edward Elgar and Paul Robeson
  • Alfred Lord Tennyson, Kenneth Clark and TS Eliot were Library Presidents, Winston Churchill a Vice President.
  • Over time, 5 Poets Laureate and 11 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, Raymond Antrobus, Harriet Evans, Sarah Waters, Kazuo Ishiguro and Claire Tomalin.

These famous names are part of a much wider community of over 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. 

Comments from our members

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: