Philobiblon: London Library: quick query

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

London Library: quick query

I wonder if anyone has any experience, personal or second-hand, of the London Library? The subscription is £180 a year, which sounds a lot, but looking at the effective monthly rate of £15 (only two or three books purchased on abebooks or Amazon) it starts to sound like good value. And it does look rather swish.

In return I offer an excellent little website that I discovered yesterday. It is on the Victorian Research Web, but is a listing by date of academic and similar lectures in London, nearly all free, on just about any subject you could imagine.

Listed on it for today was "The Scarlet Staine of Divinity and the King's worst enemy: Dr Wild and Mr Jekyll," an Institute for Historical Research seminar that I attended. It was about political campaigns by the Presbyterians during the Restoration (although I didn't know that when I started - it was one of my "lucky dips").

The Jekyll was John, father of Sir Joseph (the only web reference I found). A very well-connected man, whose wife I learnt kept a diary of his exploits during the Civil War, he was arrested during Monmouth's Rebellion (the area in which the talk intersected with my current interests) but immediately released after a petition to the King.

The Wild was the poet Robert, who Dryden recognised as the most popular in London.
His complaint about the nonconformist's postion in 1672 after the "declaration for liberty of conscience":

"We wou'd make Bonfires, but that we do fear
The name of Incend'ary we may hear.
We wou'd have Musick too, but 'twill not doo,
For all the Fidlers are Conformists too.
Nor can we ring, the angry Churchman swears
(By the Kings leave) the Bells and Ropes are theirs."

Checking out this took me to an interesting article: Making all religion ridiculous: Of Culture High and Low: the Polemics of Toleration, 1667-1673. Also found the Historical and Literary Chronology: 1659-1700.

This excursion into the 17th century followed a day spent a million or two years earlier, on the tools of early hominids - of which more in a week or so. I do love a bit of intellectual variety!


Blogger Annie said...

One of my (fellow-special-collections-librarian) friends used to work there, so I know it quite well, although not as a user. It's a really nice place, with a similar feel to my beloved Middle Temple Library, but with stock covering a wide range of subjects. It's architecture is similar to my even more beloved St Deiniol's (in Hawarden, North Wales). The reading rooms are nice, typically Victorian places, and the staff all seem lovely. The lending policy is pretty generous, too, I think.

Another attraction of the place is that lots of famous people have full or temporary memberships there - my friend is a big Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman fan, and was always delighted whenever either of them was in London as they took out temporary membership.

Why not call in and ask about membership in person? That way you can get a feel for the place and you can ask about any specific subject requirements?

Hope this helps.

1/18/2005 09:46:00 pm  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

Thanks for the info! Calling in will be my next step, but it is always nice to get some outside feedback.

1/19/2005 12:11:00 am  
Blogger Beatrice Perale said...

I get quite frustrated living so far out of London. My lecturers hop down on GNER to catch talks but for me it always seems like so much hassle. Knowing me though I think if I lived in London I'd be too lazy to go to the lectures anyway.

1/19/2005 12:30:00 pm  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

I think the key is to live as close as possible, so you can just nip out without a long commute. I work nights, so I can only go occasionally. Were that to change I think I'd probably want to go two or three nights a week - there so much wonderful stuff out there. I have a particular weakness for an interesting sounding topic on which I start out knowing nothing whatsoever - which means academic seminars can be a bit puzzling to start off with, but it does usually make some sort of sense eventually. (Although I'm not sure I'd try this with physics!)

1/19/2005 03:33:00 pm  

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