Subject Guides

Subject Guides

The Library holds a wide range of collections on individuals such as Wal Hannington, Phil Piratin, James Connolly, Noreen and Clive Branson and Helen Crawfurd, and organisations such as the British Soviet Friendship Society, the British Czechoslovak Friendship League and the China Campaign Committee.

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Our History

Our History

A Welsh Charity school was built on the site of the Marx Memorial Library in 1738. It educated boys and later a few girls – the children of Welsh artisans living in poverty in Clerkenwell. Gradually the intake became too large and the school moved to new premises in 1772. After this the building was divided into separate workshops one of which became the home to the London Patriotic Society from 1872 until 1892.

The Twentieth Century Press occupied what had by then been labelled as 37a and 38, and expanded into 37 by 1909 – thereby returning the site to single occupancy for the first time since its days as a charity school. The Twentieth Century Press was founded by the Social Democratic Federation as printer for its journal Justice and was the first socialist Press in Clerkenwell. An early benefactor was William Morris, who guaranteed the rent of the Patriotic Club to the Twentieth Century Press. During its time in Clerkenwell Green, the Twentieth Century Press produced several of the earliest English editions of the works of Marx and Engels. The Twentieth Century Press remained at the building until 1922.

Lenin was exiled in London and worked in the building from April 1902 to May 1903. During this period he shared the office of Harry Quelch, the director of the Twentieth Century Press, from there he edited and printed the journal ISKRA (The Spark), which was smuggled into Russia. The office is still preserved and open to visitors. In 1933, the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Karl Marx, a delegate meeting comprising trade unionists, veteran socialists belonging to the Labour Party and Communist Party, and representatives of the Labour Research Department and Martin Lawrence Publishers Ltd., considered setting up a Permanent memorial to him. That year also saw the Nazis in Germany burning books. In these circumstances the meeting resolved that the most appropriate memorial would be a Library. Thus the Marx Memorial Library and Workers School (as it was then known) was established at 37a Clerkenwell Green that year. Study classes, held in the evenings, became the distinguishing feature of the Workers’ School, which was divided into faculties of science, history and political economy.

In 1934 Viscount Hastings, who had studied under the great Mexican artists Diego Rivera, executed a large fresco style mural on the wall of the first-floor reading room. Titled, 'The Worker of the Future Clearing away the Chaos of Capitalism', it illustrates events and leading thinkers in the history of British Labour. A Library of books, pamphlets, archives and posters grew over the years and was augmented significantly by the donation of the International Brigade Association archive in 1975, the Klugmann Collection in 1977, the Bernal Peace Library in 1994 and the archives of the print unions in 2009. It expanded to occupy the whole building over the years.

The premises achieved Grade II listed building status after the facade was restored in 1968-9 to the way it had originally looked in 1738. During further refurbishments in 1986, tunnels were discovered underneath the Library. Their origins are obscure but they significantly pre-date the building.

Since its establishment the Marx Memorial Library has been the intellectual home of generations of scholars interested in studying Marx and Marxism. The Library is home to an impressive number and variety of archives and collections including the full run of the Daily Worker and Morning Star, The International Brigade Archive, Bernal Peace Library, Klugmann Collection and an extensive Photograph Library. For over eighty years the Library has continued this work of collecting published and archival material on Marxism, trade unionism, and the working class movement and makes them available through lectures and educational courses. As a registered charity we rely on your support to continue our work as one of the foremost institutions serving the British Labour Movement and working people, in preserving their past and in providing practical education for the future.

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Project Archivist Vacancy at the Marx Memorial Library: ‘Volunteers for Liberty: The Archives of the International Brigades’ National Cataloguing Grants Scheme funded project This is an exciting opportunity for an…
To Her Excellency Teresita Vicente Sotolongo, Embassy of the Republic of Cuba in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland:Dear comrade Vicente,The General Committee and Staff of the…
Please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in the event that you are the owner of the copyright or related rights in any of the material on this website, or in a…
The MML is a striking Grade II listed eighteenth century building situated on Clerkenwell Green. Highlights include our Main Hall, a large meeting room adorned with banners of the British…
Leaving a legacy to us in your will is an effective way of supporting us after your death. Whatever you are able to leave to us will be used to…
Affiliates play a vital role in the life of the Library furthering our aims, advancing education, knowledge and learning in all aspects of the science of Marxism, the history of…
Saturday Openings for MML In 2016 the Marx Memorial Library will be launching Saturday openings. By popular demand, once a month we will open our reading room to researchers on…
NEW FUNDRAISING INITIATIVE - HELP FUND OUR DISPLAYS AND EXHIBITIONS We have recently developed new website, launched twice weekly guided tours and have new education programme – these developments form…
The Marx Memorial Library & Workers' School is taking part in the Open House London event on Sunday 20 September 11am until 4pm. Visitors are welcome throughout the day and…
The MML's Main Hall is available for hire. Ideal for meetings, classes, lectures and seminars, it is situated just a few minutes' walk from Farringdon Station. The Hall, adorned with…
The Library's AGM in April approved a new set of affiliation rates for Trade Unions and related organisations. The MML took the unusual step of lowering affiliation rates for small,…
The Marx Memorial Library encourages volunteers to play an active role in the life of the Library, working with full time staff and the public.
  • Opening Times
  • Transport
  • Contact Us

Opening Times

We're open from Monday-Thursday 12 noon-4pm. Get in touch for room bookings and guided tours

Underground & Bus

Farringdon station on the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines.

Rail

Farringdon Station - Thameslink services for connections to London Bridge, St Pancreas, Brighton, East Croydon

Contact Us

If you want more information then contact us by phone on #44(0) 207 253 1485 or visit the contact us page