We all have our favourite books and from those books, we all have our favourite characters, many of whom are literary heroes. In their many volumes they have shared elements of London with us, some written here, some may have lived here and others have museums and statues commemorating them. In this edition, I thought I would focus on some of the world-famous authors, their books and the characters that we all hold dear.
The British Library Being the second-largest library in the world it would be impossible to write this article without mentioning the British Library. This magnificent 1.2 million sq/ft building contains the Magna Carta, handwritten Beatles lyrics, The Canterbury Tales, Shakespeare's First Folio, and select works from Jane Austen on some 400 miles of shelving. The library also holds some fascinating exhibitions and events throughout the year.
Wimbledon Bookfest 22nd – 25th September Now in its 15th year, Wimbledon Bookfest comes to Wimbledon Common. There are also comedy and children’s events that take place throughout, a great way to involve the family. https://www.wimbledonbookfest.org/
Charles Dickens Museum When one thinks of Victorian London the one author that springs to mind has to be Charles Dickens. The Charles Dickens Museum occupies a typical Georgian terraced house, where he penned Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickelby. The museum showcases a collection of Dickens' memorabilia, including paintings, manuscripts, furniture, and other items that belonged to the author.
The Sherlock Holmes Museum The Sherlock Holmes Museum proudly declares its address as 221b Baker Street in honour of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective. This homage to one of literatures most famous is a small museum filled with period exhibits, Holmes memorabilia and a mock-up of the detective's study.
Platform 9 ¾, King’s Cross Station At bustling King's Cross Station, look for the famous platform to board the Hogwarts Express. Follow signs for Platform 9 and you'll see the trolley disappearing into the wall off to the side. It’s a great photo opportunity!
Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration “What is the use of a book without pictures or conversation? ― Lewis Carroll. The new Quentin Blake Centre is planned to open in Autumn 2022 and will be the UK’s only gallery and the largest space in the world, dedicated to illustration and graphics.
Libreria Libreria is London's most innovative and iconic new bookshop and cultural venue. This tech-free bookshop is so focused on the printed word on physical pages, that mobile phones are actually banned, a perfect escape from the modern day! The shelves are arranged according to broad themes like 'Wanderlust', ‘Enchantment for Disenchanted’ and ‘The City.”
The Poetry Library “Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.” Edgar Allan Poe. The National Poetry Library is the largest public collection of modern poetry in the world housed at The Royal Festival Hall in London's Southbank Centre. The library aims to hold all contemporary UK poetry publications since 1912.
Keats House A coach house houses The Keats Museum and showcases a collection of Keats' letters, the engagement ring Keats gave Brawne and a copy of the poet's death mask. The house also hosts a variety of literary events.
Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey Staying with poetry, the list of famous people interred in Westminster Abbey is lengthy, to put it mildly, Poets' Corner in the South Transept serves as a kind of literary hall of fame the current Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries are also well worth a visit.
I hope these give you some literary visit inspiration and as always let me know if I can be of assistance.