Library Lockdown Log

Although the Library is closed until further notice, we are delighted to tell members that borrowing books from the HLSI Library is now possible. From 7 July we offer a click-and-collect service.  Please email requests to to arrange a time for pick-up and drop-off of books from the HLSI foyer on Tuesday and Friday afternoons between 1.30 and 3.30pm . The librarian will be able to respond to emails and take phone calls on Tuesday and Friday mornings. All books will be given the requisite quarantine before re-issue, and all care will be taken for the safety of staff and members.  You can browse the catalogue online (

The lockdown may have eased but the Lockdown Log continues! We hope that members returning library books during the click and collect scheme might consider writing a short review. Please send contributions to

Opinions expressed in this log are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of the Institution or the Editors.
The Editors reserve the right to amend contributions at their discretion.

And now … another of our popular quizzes

Highgate Quiz (revisited)

 This Highgate themed quiz appeared on the Newsletter’s library page a few years ago. The challenge now is can you remember the answers? Perfect practice for the Zoom Quiz Night on 22 July. Scroll down for the answers.

  1. Which Dicken’s character fled across Hampstead Heath via Highgate and slept under a hedge at North End?
  2. “When we came upon Highgate Hill and had a view of London, I was all life and joy”. Who wrote these words?
  3. Where in Highgate did John Wesley preach in 1782?
  4. “long, low, wood and plaster… with a central bay window and porch, set eight or ten feet back from the foot-way.” Whose home is described here?
  5. “Before the good folk of this kingdom be undone, shall Highgate Hill stand in the midst of London.” To whom are these words attributed?
  6. What pseudonym did Coleridge use when he enlisted in the dragoons as a young man?
  7. When did the cat arrive on Dick Whittington’s stone?
  8. We all know that Francis Bacon, the philosopher and statesman died in Highgate but where is he buried?
  9. “His conduct was shocking. When we passed Highgate Archway, he tried to pass everything and everybody.” This dangerous trap-driving is described in which well-known North London diary?
  10. Which poet, scholar and one-time Highgate resident spent ten years working at the Patent Office?


  1. Bill Sikes (Oliver Twist, Chapter 48)
  2. James Boswell in his London Journal, on returning from Scotland.
  3. Lauderdale House
  4. Andrew Marvell’s cottage
  5. Mother Shipton
  6. Silas Tomkyn Comberbache
  7. 1964
  8. St. Michael’s Church, St. Albans
  9. The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith
  10. A.E. Housman

The Library has some 25,000 books, constantly updated and covering a wide range, from crime fiction to history. In general stock reflects members’ interests and, indeed, those of earlier librarians: for example, at various times the Bloomsbury Group, gardening, embroidery, Imperial Russia and women travellers of the 19th century have clearly been much in demand. The original collection, as the first catalogue of 1839 shows, matched the lecture subjects chosen by the early members. It was much stronger in the burgeoning fields of science and engineering. Now fiction, biography and history predominate.

Our children’s corner holds many classics, often enjoyed by parents and grandparents, as well as new titles for the very young, for new and for confident readers, and for young adults.

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.

Members may borrow up to eight books at a time, and can request book renewals or reserve books in person, by telephone or by e-mailing the librarian at

The Coleridge Room holds our special collections on London, Highgate, Coleridge and Betjeman.  This room may be used by members for study and research: please telephone us if you would like to check when it is available.

The London Collection covers all aspects of the capital: history, waterways, architecture, transport, guilds, its people and more.

Highgate itself is more comprehensively represented, and together with our Archives this collection offers an extremely useful resource for anyone interested in exploring the history of our area.

Both Coleridge and Betjeman lived locally, Betjeman in childhood and Coleridge in the last years of his life. These collections include works by and about both these poets.