Open House London

19th & 20th September 2015

Open House London throws open the doors to some of London’s most astonishing architectural sights. This year’s Open House boasts a whopping seven hundred and sixty one locations, including parliamentary buildings, schools, private houses, and even tithe barns. ‘But what about libraries?’ we hear you bibliophiles asking. We thought that too, so here are The London Magazine‘s picks of the best libraries open to the public this weekend:

The London Library

One of the largest lending libraries in the world, the London Library was founded in 1841 by Thomas Carlyle, who had grown tired of the British Library and the ‘museum headache’ it gave him. Those on Saturday’s pre-booked tours will get access to the bookstacks, reading room, art room, and main hall.


Canada Water Library.

Designed by CZWG Architects and built in 2011 this new library overlooking Canada Water was built with space-saving in mind. The inverted-pyramid shape gives it a smaller base while still having space for a large, open-plan library floor. Tours on Saturday and Sunday will guide people onto the mezzanine levels and even the roof.



King’s College London, The Maughan Library.

As the main research library of King’s College, the Maughan contains the impressive Round Room, a large circular room surrounded on all sides by bookshelves. Guests will be allowed to visit this and several other library areas from 13:30 to 17:00 on both of the weekend days.

Marx Memorial Library

The Marx Memorial Library contains more than forty three thousand books and other papers on Marxism and Socialism. The exiled Lenin published seventeen issues of his newspaper Iskra from this library, and lucky visitors on Sunday can enjoy a tour of his office as well as the basement tunnels.

Peckham Library

Chosen purely for its staggering aesthetic, Peckham library was designed by Alsop and Stormer and built for the new millennium. It resembles a sideways ‘L’, coloured by glass and green copper. Visit on Saturday, 10:00-17:00, or on Sunday, 12:00-16:00.

The Wiener Library

A small townhouse convert in Russell Square, the Wiener Library contains a minimalist reading room and a dramatic new mezzanine. Visit on Sunday for a tour and a worthwhile visit to the archive stores.


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