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Books and Bombs: The London Library and the Second World War

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Last night, historian Giles Milton treated a packed audience in the Library’s Reading Room to a captivating talk from his book Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: The Mavericks Who Plotted Hitler’s Defeat. Helen O’Neill, Archive, Heritage & Development Librarian takes the opportunity to dip into life at the Library during the Second World War. The…

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Hyenas in Petticoats and The Man in a Dress: Women and the Vote

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This week was the centenary of the 1918 Representation of People Act.  To mark the occasion, our Archive, Heritage & Development Librarian Helen O’Neill takes a look at some of the material in the Library’s collections, which tell the suffrage story. This week, one hundred years ago, propertied British women over the age of thirty,…

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The Work of No Ordinary Writer

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Last night, novelist and biographer, Miranda Seymour, gave a fascinating lecture in The London Library’s Reading Room on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: or the Modern Prometheus – one of the most extraordinary novels of the 19th century. Here in honour of Frankenstein’s bicentenary, Helen O’Neill, Archive, Heritage & Development Librarian, takes a quick peek at 200 years of…

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From Cradle to Grave: The Beveridge Report at 75

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As the Beveridge Report reaches its 75th anniversary Helen O’Neill, Archive, Heritage & Development Librarian takes a look at this landmark report. The economist and social reformer, William Henry Beveridge (1879-1963) entered Whitehall as a civil servant in July 1908 and became a member of the Library in 1912 when he was thirty-three years old….

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A Class Act: Howards End, E.M. Forster and the London Library

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As the second of a new four-part adaptation of E.M. Forster’s novel Howards End airs on the BBC on Sunday evening, Helen O’Neill, Archive, Heritage & Development Librarian considers E.M. Forster’s long association and lasting legacy to the London Library. The works of E.M. Forster are part of our shared cultural heritage. When I re-read…

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The 95 Theses – a Tale of Survival

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To mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Jane Haslam looks at the story behind one of the most remarkable items in The London Library’s collection – an original, and extremely rare, copy of one of the three editions of Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses known to have been printed in 1517.  Exactly five hundred years…

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The Wilde Side: Oscar Wilde and the London Library

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On 19 May 1897, exactly 120 years ago today Oscar Wilde was released from Reading jail. As part of her series of blogs on the London Library and the Victorians and to mark this Wildean anniversary Helen O’Neill, our Archive, Heritage & Development Librarian, reveals some of the Library’s connections to Oscar Wilde’s life and…

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Getting in on the Act: Bram Stoker and Henry Irving

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To mark the anniversary of Bram Stoker’s death today (he died on 20th April 1912) and continuing her series on the Library’s Victorian membership, Helen O’Neill, our Archive, Heritage & Development brings a few hidden gems out into the light… The London Library membership records of Henry Irving (1838-1905) and Bram Stoker (1847-1912) both date…

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Binding, Binders and Buckram

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Each year around 4,500 books pass through the binding division of the Library’s Collection Care department.  Around half of these are new acquisitions – paperbacks and journals – in need of brand new bindings, while the others have been pulled out of our existing stock because their dilapidated bindings are due some TLC or an…

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The Victorians and the London Library: The Double Life of William Sharp

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In her next instalment on the Library’s Victorian past Helen O’Neill takes a look at the double literary life of William Sharp, a Victorian London Library member who had two successful literary careers:  one as the author and critic William Sharp and the second as the pre-eminent Scottish writer of the 19th century Celtic Renaissance,…

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