The Athenaeum Liverpool

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THE ATHENAEUM founded 1797

The Library is open to Club Members - please see the Athenaeum website for membership details


The Athenaeum is a haven in the heart of Liverpool offering a distinguished setting and an atmosphere unrivalled in the city. It was founded in 1797 to provide a meeting place where ideas and information could be exchanged in pleasant surroundings. Today the Athenaeum continues to provide this facility in the elegant building erected near the famous Bluecoat Chambers in Church Alley. In addition to its newsroom, the most splendid room of its kind in Liverpool, the Athenaeum has a justly renowned Library, a very attractive dining room and a smaller meeting room.

The heart of the Athenaeum is its library, one of the greatest proprietary libraries int he United Kingdom. In 1848 Washington Irving wrote "One of the first places to which a stranger is taken in Liverpool is the Athenaeum; it contains a good library and a spacious reading room and is the great literary resource of the place."


The Athenaeum has a library of approximately 60,000 volumes dating from the 15th century to the present arranged by the Dewey Decimal Classification. Most of them may be borrowed by Members. The collection is particularly strong in classical and other literatures, theology, history, biography and travel. There is a good section on local history which includes manuscripts, maps, playbills and some prints and drawings. Areas of note are books from the library of William Roscoe, 17th-century grammars of South American Indian languages, 18th-century plays, bound volumes of economic and other pamphlets and local directories.


Located in the main shopping centre on the 2nd-4th floors of a 1928 commercial block.


Mrs Joan Hanford, Librarian
Church Alley, Liverpool L1 3DD
tel: 01517 097 770 / email:

Library is open Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday 13.00-16.00

Postal enquiries welcome. Research facilities may be available subject to application in writing to the Chairman of the Library Sub-Committee.



Proprietors' Club and Library