The Most Fascinating Libraries of the World 09 – St. Paul’s Cathedral Library, London

I visited a friend’s blog one day and I was literary blown over by a picture of one of the most fascinating libraries around – Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland. It also gave me an idea of a series of posts about the best, the most beautiful, the strangest and the biggest libraries there are. The libraries that can make you drool, where you would be able to spend an indefinite period of time without noticing, where you would like to live and die till the end of the world (if they only served coffee and cake that is). Perhaps you can’t visit them all but what is the Internet for? I’ll try to illustrate my posts as well as it is only possible, providing, I hope, a nice tour for every visitor around. Enjoy!

By the way, if you want to admire other great libraries, presented by me in this series, search this blog using ‘libraries of the world’ tag and you’ll find them all.

St.Paul’s Cathedral Library, London
(thanks, Tasha/Heidenkind from Truth Beauty, Freedom and Books blog, for the tip!)


History (from the official website)


The library’s collection was almost completely destroyed in the Great Fire of London. Lists surviving from 1313 onwards give a picture of the pre-fire library. Wren’s library chamber was restocked by the Commissioners for rebuilding St Paul’s: they bought collections, including valuable Bibles and liturgical texts, and were fortunate to receive a generous bequest in 1712 of nearly two thousand volumes from the library of Henry Compton, late Bishop of London. In 1783 the library of John Mangey, Vicar of Dunmow and Prebendary of St Paul’s, was added. In the nineteenth century large collections of ecclesiastical tracts and pamphlets were brought in and improvements made to the library’s holdings of sermons preached in the Cathedral and at Paul’s Cross.

The subject strength of the historical collections lies in theology, church history and patristics. Current acquisitions are restricted to major works on the history of the Church in England, on Wren and the building of the Cathedral, the Church in the City, and ‘alumni’ material.

Access to the cathedral Library


The library of Dean and Chapter is normally open to researchers by prior appointment on Mondays and Tuesdays, and on Fridays in the afternoons only. It is sometimes possible to arrange for library material to be made available at other times.

For enquiries relating to the library please contact the Librarian Joseph Wisdom .

Cathedral archives

The Cathedral library retains little archival material. The archive of Dean and Chapter, and the smaller archives of the College of Minor Canons, and of the Cathedral (Choir) School are deposited at Guildhall Library.
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