library6Libraries Sold and Saved: Three Hundred Years of Collecting Books in London : a Library Walk

Led by: Alice Ford-Smith (Bernard Quaritch Ltd.)

Date and time: 23rd June 17:30 -19:30


You are invited to spend a summer’s evening in London hunting out book collectors past. Hear a medley of tales about libraries built, libraries sold and libraries saved. From the shadows will emerge a fine supporting cast of booksellers, auctioneers, dealers, agents and librarians.

For this new walk Alice Ford-Smith (Bernard Quaritch Ltd) will guide you through the streets of Bloomsbury and Holborn. As you go, ghostly catalogues will be scanned, treasures found, inscriptions noted, bookplates added, shelves filled, cheques cashed, volumes cherished and books dispersed.

The evening will begin at 5.30 p.m. with a curator-led viewing of a selection of books once owned by the designer, craftsman, author and socialist William Morris. When much of Morris’s collection from Kelmscott House was sold at auction in 1898 over a third of the material was acquired by the Wellcome Library’s founder. The Wellcome Trust’s headquarters, which is next door to the Wellcome Library, is the walk’s starting point. Once William Morris and Henry Wellcome’s lives as book collectors have been introduced, it will be time to move outside. After strolling through three hundred years of library history, the walk ends near Fleet Street at approximately 7.30pm.


Numbers are limited to 25 people, and pre-booking is essential. Please email Jon Millington ( to reserve your place. Tickets, which are non-refundable, are £10 each. Payments should be sent by cheque, payable to ‘University of London’, to Jon Millington, Institute of English Studies, University of London, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1H 9ER. This event is open to all, so early booking is recommended.

Meeting point: Wellcome Trust, Gibbs Building, 215 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE.
Tube: Euston/Euston Square/Warren Street. Commencing 5.30 p.m. (until 7.30).