Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution

  • Web
  • Email
  • Telephone
      +44 (0)20 8340 3343
  • Address
    • 11 South Grove, London, N6 6BS, England, UK
  • Opening Hours
    • The HLSI archive is only accessible by appointment, normally on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays
  • Photographs Allowed
  • Facilities for Disabled Persons
      The archive is housed in the basement, only accessible via a spiral staircase
  • Archival and Other Holdings

    The Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution (HLSI) was founded in 1839 in Highgate, north London, with the aim of helping local people to better understand new developments in industry and discoveries in science. It is now one the few surviving membership supported organisations which predate the widespread establishment of public libraries in the United Kingdom. Today its charitable purpose, from its historic building, is to offer opportunities for life-long learning through its courses, library, archives, art gallery, lectures, debates, cultural and social events. Its archive contains prints, photographs, postcards, paintings, maps, newspaper cuttings (mainly 20th century to date), books, deeds, documents and memoires relating to Highgate and its environs, its residents, streets, buildings, institutions and activities from the 18* century to present day. Apart from the HLSI's own archive of its activities dating back to its foundation in 1839, the archive contains material relating to several well-known local residents, including the explorer Mary Kingsley and the poets, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and John Betjamin as well as several special collections acquired or given to it over many years. The archive has a large collection of Victorian and 20th Century photographs, including many taken by the highly regarded John Gay. There is a collection of over 600 postcards spanning 100 years of life in Highgate and early 20th century original prints. The HLSI archive also keeps the archives of several local organisations, many now defunct, including the records of the St Pancras Orphanage for Girls, the Southwood Lane Almshouses, the Mothercraft Training Society, the Highgate Dispensary, the Mary Feilding Guild, the Highgate Book Society, the Fisher & Sperr bookshop and the Highgate Horticultural Society.