From its opening on the 3rd May 1841, this haven for reading and writing has become a beloved home for some of the greatest names in literature.
Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, George Eliot, Henry James, Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker, George Bernard Shaw, Virginia Woolf, Isaiah Berlin, Laurence Olivier, Agatha Christie and Harold Pinter amongst many others were all members. Presidents have included T.S. Eliot, Thomas Carlyle and Alfred Lord Tennyson.
Four Poets Laureate and nine Nobel prize-winners have roamed its bookshelves for inspiration in the past and today, 7,000 members of all ages and backgrounds – including some of the most familiar names in the literary world – find the Library’s resources invaluable.
Its façade in St James’s Square gives little indication that beyond it lie over a million books, covering more than 17 miles of open access bookshelves arranged within seven interlocking buildings making this the largest independent lending library in Europe.
Almost all of the collection – dating from 1700 to the present day – is housed on open shelves and can be freely browsed and borrowed.
Visit The London Library’s website to find out more about this bibliophile’s paradise which for nearly two hundred years has been playing a unique role in the world of literature, ideas and the art of reading for pleasure.