Memorial Library open to the public for the first time

Photo credit: Clerkenwell Library
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A creative bunker in Clerkenwell Library where Vladimir Lenin wrote revolutionary pieces, is now open to the public.

For the first time, the Marxist Memorial Library will give guided tours of its exhibitions which gives insight into London’s vast working class history.

Founded by a group of socialist in 1933, the library has since remained central to the British Labour movement. Tours of the historic library will offer an insight into its heritage and includes a collection of Marxist and Socialist memorabilia.

Meirian Jump, an archivist at the Library says:

“The tours offer the opportunity to explore the library’s historical building which was built in 1738. Not only can visitors see some of our current displays, including a selection of commemorative Miners’ strike plates and Communist Party posters from the 1970s, but they can also visit the Lenin Room where he worked in exile.”

The Lenin Room is set to be one of the key attractions of the library, Meirian says: “This is where Lenin worked in exile for around 13 months during the period 1902-3 while he was living in London. He shared the office with Harry Quelch who ran the Social Democratic Federation’s Twentieth Century Press.”

Whilst he was in exile, Lenin helped publish the Russian political newspaper ISKRA. Meirian adds: “The publication dealt with revolutionary Russian politics and was smuggled all over the world from Clerkenwell Green. An editorial board of half a dozen met in the tiny office.” A copy of ISKRA will be available to visitors during the tour of the library’s reading room.

Also on display at the exhibition are banners from the British Battalion of volunteers who helped fight fascism in the Spanish civil war and artefacts from the Wapping strikes of the 1980’s.

ROSIE2(Photo credit: Clerkenwell Library)

Visitors looking at the attractions at Clerkenwell Library.

Previously the Marxist Memorial Library was accessible only through private bookings but now the library is open to the general public on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1pm.

“This is the first time we are opening up the Library to regular guided tours. This is part of a more general drive to spread awareness about the library, its work and its collections and to open the MML up to new audiences,” says Meirian.

To book a tour, email or call 02072531485

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