Hidden deep within the heart of London is a humble facade on St. James’s Square leading to 17 miles of bookshelves distributed through seven conjoined buildings. The London Library was born 175 years ago. One of the world’s largest independent lending libraries, The London Library never throws away any books, and has to expand every few decades to house its ever growing collection.
The Czarina is sometimes appalled at my casual attitude to travel. On my first visit to London in 2000, I picked a hotel from a list I found on the Internet, and made a reservation during my layover at Dulles International. The Cavendish sounded like a good venue for a physicist, evoking thoughts of Henry Cavendish, the English physicist responsible for the first measurement of the gravitational constant. Ironically, I was to discover that the Cavendish Hotel on Jermyn Street was near the site of Isaac Newton’s home and across the street from a Christopher Wren Church. What a location! I couldn’t have done better with days of planning. Ironically however, and completely unknown to me at the time, the hotel lies on the very same block as the London Library, and I completely missed noting it in my travels.
More from Londonist… (H/T Phil Oliver).
If you do travel to London, I highly recommend the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide. Unfortunately, however, this guide book has no mention of the London Library.