Women’s Library

The Women’s Library, London Metropolitan University
25 Old Castle Street, London E1 7NT

(020) 7320 2222



The Reading Room is located on the 2nd floor of The Women’s Library.

The nearest tube stations to The Women’s Library are Aldgate East and Aldgate. Liverpool Street train station is a ten minute walk from the Library and the following buses stop close by:  15,25,40,42,67,78,100,115,254.

Hours of opening:

Reading room

Tuesday 0930 - 1700
Wednesday 0930 - 1700
Thursday  0930 - 2000
Friday 0930 - 1700
An annual Closed Week is held in the first full week of September.


The Reading Room is open to everyone on completion of an application form and submission of proof of identity.

The collections are available for reference only. Books published after 1920 and a selection of periodicals are stored on open access.  Older published material, pamphlets, ephemera, press cuttings and all archival collections are held in closed stacks and must be ordered in advance.

Coats and bags cannot be brought into the Reading Room and only pencils may be used.

The Women’s Library is fully accessible to wheelchair users with lift access to all public areas. One parking space is available for disabled parking permit holders, which should be booked in advance. Guide dogs and hearing dogs are welcome in all public areas.

Reader places:


Librarians in charge:

Caroline Ellis - Head of Special Collections
Sonia Hope - Information Librarian
Inderbir Bhullar - Information Librarian
Teresa Doherty - Archives and Museums Manager

Staff availability:

The Enquiry Desk is staffed during Reading Room opening hours.


Most of the Library’s books, pamphlets, periodicals and videos are catalogued and available to search via www.thewomenslibrary.ac.uk/catalogue

The archive and museum collections catalogue is available online at



Dewey + Some materials are UDC but are being converted


The Library’s collections comprise over 60,000 books and pamphlets, 3000 periodical titles, ephemera and press cuttings, over 450 archive collections and approximately 5,000 museum objects.

Special collections or strengths:

The Library’s collections cover all aspects of women’s lives, with the emphasis upon women in Britain. The printed book and pamphlet collections include both academic and popular works as well as government publications and some literature. The Library holds three special printed book collections. The Cavendish Bentinck collection contains pre-1850 material, including early conduct books and first editions. The Josephine Butler Society Library has material on prostitution, slavery and health. The Sadd Brown Library contains material by and about women in Commonwealth countries. The periodical collections include academic journals, popular magazines and campaigning newsletters. The ephemera collections consist of thousands of contemporary leaflets, flyers and handbills on topics of interest to women whilst the presscuttings collections are used primarily for biographical research.

The archival materials date from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day and include personal papers and records of societies, associations, pressure groups and campaigning organisations. Records of research and oral history projects are also collected. The Library also holds visual materials such as photographs, posters, postcards, banners and badges.

Additional facilities:

In the Reading Room self-service photocopying, a digital copying service, microform reader printers, internet access and study carrels are available.

The Women’s Library has an exhibition hall, education facilities and runs a regular events programme.