On the 24th June, 1840, the celebrated Scottish author, historian, and biographer, Thomas Carlyle, stood up at a meeting in a crowded hall in Covent Garden to proclaim the need for a new lending Library in the great metropolis of London. Carlyle's vision succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. What he called into existence that night has become, over the ensuing 175 years, the largest independent lending library in the world. Today its facade in St James's Square gives little indication that beyond it lie over a million books, covering more than 17 miles of open access bookshelves arranged within seven interlocking buildings.
A heavenly little series -- Sarah Wheeler Observer's Best Holiday Reads 2016 Glorious... a brilliant read if you're tired of newspaper stories about how the internet, iPhones and Pokemon GO are destroying our daily routine Standard Issue An inspired idea... an innovative series Spectator