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Clerkenwell library where Lenin worked in exile opens to public

PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 April 2015

Vladimir Lenin, revolutionary leader of the first government of Soviet Russia, spent much of his time in exile in London from 1902-03 in the library

Vladimir Lenin, revolutionary leader of the first government of Soviet Russia, spent much of his time in exile in London from 1902-03 in the library

PA Archive/Press Association Images

A creative bunker in Clerkenwell where Vladamir Lenin worked in exile for a year will open to the public tomorrow.

The Marx Memorial LibraryThe Marx Memorial Library

The Marx Memorial Library, a “hidden gem” of London’s radical and working class history, will give tours of their heritage steeped premisses for the first time.

Highlights at the library in Clerkenwell Green include the chance to see the desk where Lenin penned many revolutionary articles between 1902 and 1903, banners of the British battalion of volunteers who went to fight fascism in the Spanish Civil War and artefacts from major industrial disputes – such as the minerworkers’ and Wapping strikes of the 1980s.

Other artefacts include a unique collection of over 100 commemorative ceramic plates created by the National Union of Mineworkers and its branches, a Hammersmith Socialist Society banner embroidered by William Morris’s family from the early 1890s, and original posters from the Spanish Civil War and the Soviet Union.

Meirian Jump, the library’s archivist, said: “We have a fascinating story to tell and we hope to welcome as many visitors as possible to be inspired by our amazing collections.

A banner of the British volunteers who went to fight facism during the Spanish Civil War in 1936A banner of the British volunteers who went to fight facism during the Spanish Civil War in 1936

“Everyone who enters the building agrees that we are one of London’s hidden gems. We hope that thousands more people will be able to understand why this is so.”

The Library was founded by a group of socialists in 1933 in response to the burning of the books by the Nazis in May of that year and has been at the heart of the British labour movement ever since.

The Grade II listed building’s historic vaults, which date back to the fifteenth century, can also be visited as part of the tour, as well as a memorial courtyard dedicated to media workers killed in the 20th century war against fascism – from Spain in 1936 to victory in Europe in 1945.

Until now visits to the Library have been by appointment only, or on special occasions, but public tours start tomorrow and run on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1pm.

To book email admin@mml.xyz or call 02072531485.

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