Nottingham Subscription Library was founded in 1816 and moved in 1822 to its present home, Bromley House, which is centrally situated in the city on Angel Row. It is a dark red brick building built in 1752 as a ‘town house’ for George Smith, grandson of the founder of Smiths Bank, the oldest known provincial bank in the country.
A Directory of names associated with Bromley House Library 1816 - 1916, compiled by Neal Priestland, is available for reference in the library also by following the above link.
The building has been designated Grade II* listed status and contains many interesting period features and some fine paintings. The main part of the library is housed in a series of reading rooms with plaster ceilings, cornices and overmantels. A particularly fine spiral staircase and gallery is a feature of the largest room
At the rear of the library premises is a walled garden which members can use. In common with the rest of Bromley House, it is often referred to as “a haven” in the city centre.
Bromley House Library was the home of the first photographic studio in Nottingham. This operated on the top floor from 1841 to 1955. At one time it had a circular skylight of blue tinted glass and was the venue for many of Notttingham’s top 19th century families to have their likenesses made.
Please note that the Library is on the first floor and above of a Listed Building and has no disabled access.
The Library book collection has a good selection of materials of interest to local historians, many topographical works, and a wide selection of 19th and early 20th century novels. In recent years the collection’s emphasis has been on biographies, travel books and new novels.
The number of books is approximately 40,000. New books are bought regularly and members’ requests are considered for purchase. Daily newspapers and a selection of current journals and magazines are available. These are not retained by the library but members can make annual sealed bids for their purchase.
Membership allows the member and any resident family full use of the library services and facilities. These include fresh coffee, which is always available. Members can also bring in guests, all we ask is that you sign your guest in and stay with them while they are in the library.
There is a programme of Saturday morning lectures and occasional social events.
The Library is controlled by a board of up to 11 Directors. There is a President and an Honorary Secretary. Elections are held at the Annual General Meeting of the charity.
There is an annual membership subscription of £80, due in April.
Membership forms are available from the library by phone, email or in person.Two referees are required and we will ask for one form of identification on your first visit. Prospective members can attend one of our prospective members events to get a flavour of the library and what membership offers. These are generally held once a month. The librarian will give a talk about the library followed by a tour of the building and membership forms are given out at the end of your visit.
We offer group visits for between 10 - 20 visitors. The price is £6.00 per person (a minimum of £60.00 per group visit). Our group visits are very popular and we are now booking for 2013. We can accommodate groups Monday - Thursday either morning or afternoon but not between 12.30 pm - 2.00 pm as this is our very busy lunch period.
Please see our Events page for future dates.
Carol Barstow, BSC DipLIb MA MCLIP