NAVIGATION: > Home > Interactive hotel map > Literary London >>> Carlyle and the London Library

London's Literary Landmarks - Shakespeares Globe Theatre and nearby hotels

Carlyle and the London Library

   LITERARY LONDON PAGES

Home

Shakespeare’s Globe

Carlyle and the London Library

Donne at St Pauls Cathedral

Shelleys House in Soho

Blake on Peckham Rye

Wordsworth and Westminster

T.S. Eliot (Faber)

Poets' Corner

Woolf and Bloomsbury Group

Dickens House

Doyle, Holmes & Baker St

Map of the London Library

The London Library

Founded by Thomas Carlyle in 1841

Although in 1841, the author, historian and biographer Thomas Carlyle was not the sole founder of the London Library, it was in his vision that it had its inception. Carlyle wanted a subscription lending library which would allow its readers to sample some of the riches of a national collection in their own homes.

One million books and periodical volumes

Carlyle was a Scot who moved to London in 1834, the same year that he began work on his first historical work, The French Revolution. John Stuart Mill - who's illiterate housekeeper unwittingly burned the first manuscript - called it 'not so much a history as an epic poem.' It certainly was radically different from the histories of the eighteenth century. Carlyle insisted on using the present tense, and on the importance of subjective accounts of the past. He made a deliberate attempt to bring to life the personalities of historical figures, rather than merely cataloguing their achievements and failings.

The largest independent lending library in the world

Perhaps this new approach to history can be related to the vision Carlyle had for the library he helped to found. During the eighteen forties and fifties, he became a figure of the literary community and made life-long friendships with some of the most revered writers of the age. Charles Dickens, Robert Browning and Alfred Lord Tennyson were all close acquaintances, and William Thackeray became the library's first auditor. Carlyle's next book, On Heroes, Hero Worship, and the Heroic in History, advanced the theory that heroes cure social ills by setting an example, and that those examples are only followed if the heroes are sufficiently charismatic and engaging. In his personal and his public life, he was committed to extending the community of letters for the moral benefit of society.

With books dating from the 16th century

Today, the library is at St James' Square, its home (with a short interruption) since 1845. The building has a quasi-classical façade, and has undergone several extensions to accommodate the ever-expanding collection. It's reading rooms spacious with high ceilings and more classical design in their plaster-work. They are laid out with plush carpets, mahogany shelving and leather-faced desks, giving it the impression of a private members' club as much as a seat of learning. Over the years, its members have always been members of London's literati. Rudyard Kipling, T.S Eliot, the novelist Rebecca West, and philosopher Isaiah Berlin have all been Presidents of the London Library. Today, under the Presidency of the playwright Tom Stoppard, it remains popular with academics, writers and broadcasters. Novelists David Lodge and Paul Theroux, playwright David Hare, and actor Simon Callow all count themselves among its members.

© David Thorley, 2007

'One of the most thrilling places in the city. There is no place I know of in the world that better embodies or promotes the romance of books.' - Simon Callow

14 ST JAMES'S SQUARE • LONDON SW1Y 4LG

Hotels near the London Library

Radisson Edwardian Pastoria Hotel

Marriott County Hall Hotel London
The Marriott County Hall is located 1900m away from the Globe along South Bank with its many famous attractions including the Tate Modern, Royal Festival Hall, Oxo Tower and the London Eye.
The luxury hotel has a large indoor swimming pool and valet car parking in its own secure car park. Just a 5 minute walk away is Waterloo Station and the Eurostar Terminal. Just across Westminster Bridge is Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
SEARCH HOTELS NEAR TO
LONDON LIBRARY

Use this advanced search to list every London hotel near to your chosen destination.
The database contains over 800 hotels so whether you require a cheap or a deluxe hotel we have them all.
Arrive:     
Depart:      
Adults:    Rooms  

Currency  
Language 

LONDON HOTELS INDEX - individual London hotel pages
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
London Library presented by:

LONDON HOTELS FROM HOTEL-ASSIST.COM