Gladstone's Library

  (Redirected from St Deiniol'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.[1] It is a Grade I listed building.[2]

Gladstone's Library
Llyfrgell Sant Deiniol and Gladstone's Library Hawarden Penarlâg 10.JPG
Established1895; 126 years ago (1895)
ArchitectJohn Douglas Edit this on Wikidata
LocationHawarden, Flintshire, Wales
Coordinates53°11′09″N 3°01′38″W / 53.1859°N 3.0272°W / 53.1859; -3.0272Coordinates: 53°11′09″N 3°01′38″W / 53.1859°N 3.0272°W / 53.1859; -3.0272
Size250,000 Edit this on Wikidata
Access and use
Access requirementsOpen to anyone with a need to use the collections and services
Other information
DirectorPeter Francis, Warden (1997)
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[citation needed] and the national memorial to the Victorian statesman, and four times Prime Minister, William Ewart Gladstone (1809–98).[3]

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. He would allow bright children and young adults of the village of Hawarden to use his collection. His desire, his daughter Mary Gladstone said, was to "bring together books who had no readers with readers who had no books".

In 1895, at the age of 85, William Gladstone gave £40,000 and much of his own library. Armed with only his valet and one of his daughters, William Gladstone wheeled 32,000 books three quarters of a mile between his home at Hawarden Castle and the library. He unpacked them and put them onto shelves using his own catalogue system.

In a diary entry (dated 23 December 1895) he concisely described the library's founding thus: "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."[4]

Following his death in 1898, a public appeal was launched for funds to provide a permanent building to house the collection and to 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.[5] The Gladstone family were themselves to fulfill the founder's vision by funding the residential wing, which welcomed its first resident on 29 June 1906.


Today the library has 26 bedrooms, a restaurant called Food For Thought, a chapel and conference facilities. It hosts a year long programme of events based around William Gladstone's core interest areas of religion and theology, history and politics, and 19th-century literary culture.

The library's reading rooms are open to visitors on short guided tours only at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm each weekday.[6]


In March 2018, Gladstone's Library and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announced a £4.5 million Living Heritage Project to build a new building and refurbish the existing grade I listed historical library.[7] In June 2018 four architectural companies were shortlisted—AOC Architecture, Caruso St John Architects, Hopkins Architects, and Simpson & Brown—each receiving £4,000 to develop a proposal.[8]

In July 2018 the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announced that Caruso St John had won the competition to design the new building for Gladstone's Library.[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ McClarence, Stephen (8 September 2018). "Read, walk and relax in a Welsh literary hideaway". The Times. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  2. ^ St Deiniol's Library, Hawarden, Cadw, retrieved 20 December 2016
  3. ^ Pritchard, T.W. (1999). A History of St. Deiniol's Library. Hawarden, Wales: Monad Press. ISBN 9780907450283.
  4. ^ H.C.G. Matthew [ed.], 'The Gladstone Diaries, Volume XIII: 1892-1896' (1994) Oxford: Clarendon Press, p 432.
  5. ^ "The Hawarden Memorial to Mr. Gladstone". The Times (36898). London. 14 October 1902. p. 7.
  6. ^ "Glimpses | Gladstone's Library". Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  7. ^ "GLH competition". 6 March 2018. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  8. ^ "Living heritage project shortlisted proposals revealed". gladstoneslibrary. 21 June 2018. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  9. ^ "London based architects Caruso St John wins Gladstone's Library revamp and new building contest". 16 July 2018. Retrieved 13 December 2018.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Gladstone's Library at Wikimedia Commons