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5 Oldest Libraries Of London

With the increased popularity of internet and the speed at which information can be accessed; it appears that libraries will soon be obsolete. Until then, these institutions are still an instrumental source of knowledge. London has a host of libraries and some of them have a very long history. Here is a list of the five oldest libraries in the city

The British Library-
This library is the United Kingdom’s national library. It was opened on July 1, 1973, but before this it was a part of the British museum. Many of historical collections that the library now has are due to donations and acquisitions from the 18th century. This library has a copy of the “Diamond Sutra”, which is the world’s earliest dated printed book. It also has a copy of every publication produced in the UK and Ireland. The British library has a collection of over 150 million items in most of the known languages of the world.

The London Library-
This library was founded by Thomas Carlyle in 1841 whose vision for the institution was to allow subscribers to enjoy the riches of a library in their homes. Charles Dickens and George Elliot were one of the earliest members of The London Library. Currently, The London Library has a collection of over one million volumes spanning 2000 subjects. The Library has been patronised by politicians, academics, famous writers and readers. Membership is open to anyone and membership fees vary based on the membership plan selected. The types of membership plans include individual membership, spouse/partner membership and young person’s membership.

Lambeth Palace Library-
This library is one of the oldest public library in England and was found in 1610. It houses documentary history regarding the Church of England and is also the records office of the Archbishops of Canterbury. Records dating as far back as the 9th century are housed at Lambeth Palace Library. Although the library’s collection focuses primarily on the church, they also have diversity in other subject materials.

The Women’s Library-
The Women’s Library was established in 1926 and boasts the largest collection of women’s history in Europe. It is also the second oldest women’s library in the world. The Women’s Library has within its collection over 60,000 books and pamphlets, newspaper cuttings, and over 5000 objects dating as far back as the 16th century. During the Blitz in 1940, the library was bombed and had to be evacuated to Oxford. They again had to relocate in the 1990s due to flooding in their basement location. Today, they are permanently settled in Aldgate on the site of an old bathhouse. They have been at this location since 2002.

The Guild Hall Library-
This Guild Hall Library is a public reference library established in 1425. After many years, the library outgrew its space and a new library was built between 1868 and 1872. It was finally reopened to the public in 1873. During that time, the library housed over 60, 000 volumes of work including London’s history, architecture and topography. Currently, it houses collections including local and family history, English law, wine and food, business and marine history and also clocks and clock makers.

These ancient libraries are a history lover’s dream. They provide a wealth of information that even the internet is not able to supply. They are as important today as they were back then. If you are planning to visit London, contact a Travelodge phone number to make arrangements for your stay.

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