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Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury Institutions


Sampson Low’s Circulating Library


It was established in 1819 by Sampson Low, a publisher whose father had also been a publisher, as a subscription library attached to his book and stationery shop (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

It no longer exists

What was reforming about it?

It was one of the institutions which offered literate subscribers access to a wide variety of reading material without restriction; such libraries did much to encourage literacy and encourage aspiring auto-didacts

As a publisher himself, Low was also well-placed to offer a range of books, periodicals, and journals; despite this, his circulating library was never the equal of the famous Mudie’s

Where in Bloomsbury

It was at 42 Lamb’s Conduit Street from its foundation in 1819

Low and his family lived at 14 Great James Street at the time of the 1861 census; by the time of the 1871 census they had moved to 41 Mecklenburgh Square, where he died in 1886 (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

Website of current institution

It no longer exists

Books about it

None found


None found

This page last modified 13 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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