highgate literary and scientific institution

HLSI founded 1839

  • Annual Membership Subscription Rates: Individual £91; Household (2 adults and children under 18 at same address) £156; Friend £215; Benefactor £300; Concessionary (Full-time student under the age of 26) £40
  • Membership application forms can be downloaded from www.hlsi.net/about/join
  • 1100 subscribers


We have been central to Highgate's varied cultural life since we were established in 1839. One of the oldest such institutions still in existence in London, we are situated in the heart of Highgate Village, overlooking Pond Square, in the building to which we moved in 1840.

We offer new ideas, fascinating books, stimulating films and great company. There's a library for borrowing, research and browsing, including a well-stocked children's section, a members' room, regular lectures and a wide range of courses for adults. We have a film society, art exhibitions, science and opera groups, and we hold a variety of other events. We also keep a local archive on Highgate.

We want to share our interest in life, the arts, literature and science. Come and join us now.


The Library has nearly 25,000 books, which are constantly updated. We have a strong emphasis on biography, literature, history, and general fiction, and also have a very popular crime fiction section. Many of our books are not available in other libraries, and the collection has often proved to be a useful resource for researchers and writers. We have a comprehensive reference section and an excellent children's library with books for all ages.

The Coleridge Room holds our special collections on London in general and on Highgate, Hampstead and Islington in particular; and on eminent local authors Samuel Taylor Coleridge and John Betjeman.


Visitors may use the library and special collections on a reference basis, preferably by appointment, and our archives group welcomes enquiries. We are always happy to show guests round if at all possible.


Grade II listed building in the centre of the village, part of which pre-dates the HLSI's foundation.

Contact Information

Margaret Mackay, Librarian
11 South Grove, Highgate Village, London N6 6BS
tel: 020 8340 3343 / email: librarian@hlsi.net

Open Tuesday-Friday 10.00-17.00; Saturday 10.00-16.00
(Closed one week for Easter & Christmas and three weeks in August)




Registered Friendly Society no 51SA with full charitable status.