The independent London newspaper

Westminster Reference Library celebrates 90th birthday

Intriguing programme of talks planned for one month

12 October, 2018 — By Tom Foot


A LIBRARY celebrated its 90th birthday with a party and by unveiling a month of talks and events and an exhibition on bohemian London.

Westminster Reference Library has been on the site of Isaac Newton’s former home in St Martin’s Street since October 8 1928.

The library is bursting with books and archives but also has pioneered innovative and modernising schemes, including lending telescopes.

Its collection includes the Anna Pavlova memorial library, which was opened by Dame Alicia Markova in January 1957, and rare books including William Morris’s The Well at the World’s End, 1896, and a book of drawings by Claude Lorrain, reproduced in print form in 1777.

The Arts Council has designated the library’s art and design collection as one outstanding national significance.

The library birthday programme includes a talk on ‘the romance of libraries’ by actor and regular Simon Callow. There will also be a session on urban bee- keeping and alternative theatre in Westminster.

Talks will include sessions on Sherlock Holmes, the Tudors and how to trace the history of your house.

Westminster Council’s education chief Cllr David Harvey said: “I hope that 90 years from today, our residents will still be using our libraries as places to find inspiration, connect with friends, and simply enjoy the pleasure of reading.”

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