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The London Library, London

4.1
#2,570 of 3,692 in Things to do in London
The London Library is an independent lending library in London, established in 1841. It was founded on the initiative of Thomas Carlyle, who was dissatisfied with some of the policies at the British Museum Library. It is located at 14 St. James's Square, in the St James's area of the City of Westminster, which has been its home since 1845. Membership is open to all, on payment of an annual subscription, and life and corporate memberships are also available. As of March 2015 the Library had 6,708 members.
T. S. Eliot, a long-serving President of the Library, argued in 1952 in an address to members that, "whatever social changes come about, the disappearance of the London Library would be a disaster to civilisation".
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The London Library Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
13 reviews
Google
4.3
TripAdvisor
  • DREADFUL!!!!! DO NOT STAY HERE!!! You have been warned!! A birthday treat from my daughter as this hotel is across the road to the Coliseum to watch the ballet. My room alone cost £245 and included.....  more »
  • The London Library is a must-visit for literature enthusiasts. The bad news is that it's a private lending library, and you can't just walk in off the street. The good news is that they offer free...  more »
Google
  • The most excellent library in all of London, and so perhaps the country. This place is like a second home. The level of service that one receives for the price of membership is incredible. I would be happy to pay twice the price that I do. It is an excellent place to work, to read, to relax, etc. The collection is very interesting and one always comes away with books far more useful than could have reasonably been expected. It's possible to keep books for basically an unlimited amount of time, so long as nobody else request them. The staff go above and beyond to do their jobs, and uncommonly in the modern day they use common sense in all things rather than referring to 'policy'. I would recommend anyone involved in any kind of academia in London take up a membership. My only suggestion for improvement is to extend the opening hours. Currently there is a very strange policy where one has to check in advance the opening hours on Wednesdays. I only really go on Mondays and Tuesdays, when the library is open until 21:00. On other days, it closes at 17:30, which means coming out of the serene library into rush hour in central London. Even being open until 18:30 or 19:00 would be immensely better for me. However I understand that (like everything) the library is finding ways to cut running costs so that I understand that this may not be an option.
  • Amazing place - you can really breathe history inside these walls! We had business dinner at the library and it was fab: great food, five stars service and premium visit.
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