|'Of making many books there is no end' (Ecclesiastes 12:12)|
Imagine your dream library. If it has wooden bookcases, a gallery, a fireplace, random busts for variety, and of course books piled everywhere, then the library at St Paul's Cathedral will definitely appeal to you!
When London burned in 1666, the cathedral library perished in the flames. Undaunted by the lack of books, Sir Christopher Wren was careful to include a new library in the rebuilt cathedral. Henry Compton, Bishop of London, bequeathed his own collection of several thousand volumes and the Commissioners bought many more. The collection has continued to grow.
Among the books held here is an original Tyndale bible. William Tyndale translated the gospels into English, and as a result was condemned as a heretic by the Catholic church. He was executed, and copies of his bible were destroyed - with a public burning held at St Paul's Cathedral. It is therefore a little ironic to find a rare surviving copy among the treasures of its library today.
Practical information: the library is open by appointment to researchers.