Gladstone's Library

Gladstone's Library, known until 2010 as St Deiniol's Library (Welsh: Llyfrgell Deiniol Sant), is a residential library in Hawarden, Flintshire, Wales, UK.[1]

Gladstone's Library
Llyfrgell Sant Deiniol and Gladstone's Library Hawarden Penarlâg 10.JPG
53°11′09″N 3°01′38″W / 53.1859°N 3.0272°W / 53.1859; -3.0272
LocationHawarden, Flintshire, Wales, United Kingdom
Established1895; 128 years ago (1895)
Architect(s)John Douglas Edit this on Wikidata
Size250,000 Edit this on Wikidata
Access and use
Access requirementsOpen to anyone with a need to use the collections and services
Other information
DirectorAndrea Russell (2023)
Gladstone's Library
Gladstone's statue in the library.
Gladstone's Library staff at the School of Advanced Study History Day 2017.

Gladstone's Library is Britain's only Prime Ministerial Library and the national memorial to William Ewart Gladstone.[2]

It is home to a collection of more than 250,000 printed items, including theological, historical, cultural and political materials.


The library was founded by William Gladstone in 1894. He was eager to share his personal library with others, especially those who faced financial constraint.[3] He would allow bright children and young adults of the village of Hawarden to use his collection. His daughter Mary Gladstone said that his desire was to "bring together books who had no readers with readers who had no books".[4][5]

In 1895, at the age of 85, William Gladstone gave £40,000 to the library as well as much of his own book collection. With the help of his daughter and his valet, he wheeled 32,000 books three quarters of a mile (1.2km) between his home at Hawarden Castle and the library. He unpacked them and put them onto shelves using his own classification system.

In a diary entry dated 23 December 1895, he described the library's founding: "I have this day constituted my trust at St Deiniol's. The cost of the work has been I think £41 to £42000, including some charges of maintenance to Dec. 31. 95. May God of His mercy prosper it."[6]

Following his death in 1898, a public appeal was launched for funds to provide a permanent building to house the collection and replace the temporary structure. The £9,000 raised provided an imposing building, designed by John Douglas, which was officially opened by Earl Spencer on 14 October 1902 as the National Memorial to W.E. Gladstone.[7] The Gladstone family fulfilled the founder's vision by funding the residential wing, which welcomed its first resident on 29 June 1906.


The library is a Grade I listed building[8] and a registered charity.[9]

The library contains over 150,000 books, pamphlets and journals.[10]

The building includes several reading rooms, 26 bedrooms, a guest lounge, cafe and restaurant.

The library runs regular tours, talks, workshops, masterclasses and residential courses.[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ McClarence, Stephen (8 September 2018). "Read, walk and relax in a Welsh literary hideaway". The Times. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  2. ^ Pritchard, T.W. (1999). A History of St. Deiniol's Library. Hawarden, Wales: Monad Press. ISBN 9780907450283.
  3. ^ "Gladstone's Library, Hawarden". Independent Libraries Association. Retrieved 31 March 2023.
  4. ^ "The joy of rummaging through Gladstone's annotated books". The Spectator. Retrieved 31 March 2023.
  5. ^ Librarian Resources website
  6. ^ H.C.G. Matthew [ed.], The Gladstone Diaries, Volume XIII: 1892-1896 (1994) Oxford: Clarendon Press, p 432.
  7. ^ "The Hawarden Memorial to Mr. Gladstone". The Times. No. 36898. London. 14 October 1902. p. 7.
  8. ^ St Deiniol's Library, Hawarden, Cadw, retrieved 20 December 2016
  9. ^ "Gladstone's Library, registered charity no. 701399". Charity Commission for England and Wales.
  10. ^ Visit Wales website
  11. ^ Gladstone Library official website

External linksEdit

  Media related to Gladstone's Library at Wikimedia Commons