Events at Westminster libraries

Westminster libraries host many events and workshops which differ in each library. View all special events by date in the Forthcoming events section or browse through the guide to find events at your local library, including regulars such as book groups and rhyme time sessions. Westminster City Archives also holds regular events.

Follow us on social media or read our blog, Books and the City, for updates on events and news.

View opening times and contact details for all Westminster libraries.

1. Forthcoming events

Ongoing events, news and exhibitions

Special events and news

2. Charing Cross Library

View Charing Cross library contact details and opening hours

Special events

Write & Shine

Fridays 24 February and 24 March, 8.30am to 10am

Write & Shine brings its early morning writing workshops to Charing Cross Library with three special sessions across February & March, all starting at 8.30am. As with all Write & Shine workshops, they will celebrate the inspirational power of the morning - but these sessions will also be inspired by the library, its history, books, archives, the collection of Chinese adult and children's titles, architecture & the curiosities housed within the building. 

Gemma Seltzer, founder of Write & Shine says, "We’ll share our own stories of the libraries of our childhoods and travels, as well as visions for libraries of the future.”

Workshops will be £15 each or three for £30 (including a light breakfast) - find out more information and book online at the Write & Shine website, or contact Gemma on hello@write-and-shine.com.

Regular events for children and young people

Regular children's events run during term-time only, unless otherwise stated.

Event Time / date Information
Songs and rhymes for under 5s Monday, 10.30am to 11am Read more about sessions for under 5s
PlayCantonese Second and last Wednesdays of every month, 10.30am to 11.30am An under 5s baby and toddler group with stories and songs in Cantonese.

Regular events for adults

Event Time / date  Information
Free computer training Every other Monday, 2pm to 4pm One-to-one basic computer and internet skills tuition. Email, searching online, completing forms, laptop, tablet and smartphone assistance - hourly places need to be booked at the library.
Chinese Painting Class  Saturdays, 11am to 1pm £10 per session. To join, please contact Charing Cross Library, email info@orientalgallery.co.uk or phone 07956 227 997.

 

3. Church Street Library

View Church Street library contact details and opening hours

Special events and news

Regular events for children and young people

Regular children's events run during term-time only, unless otherwise stated.

Event Time / date Information
French club for kids Every other Tuesday and Wednesday, 4.30pm to 5.15pm Free for 6 to 8 year olds. Games, songs and activities within a small group with a qualified and experienced native French teacher. Booking essential.
Homework club Thursdays, 3.45pm to 5.30pm Ages 7 to 13. Read more about homework clubs
Stories, songs, crafts and fun for under 5s Thursdays, 10.30am to midday Read more about sessions for under 5s
Scratch Computer Coding Club Saturdays, 2pm to 3pm A fun club for kids aged 8 to 11. Learn to use code to make games, visuals and programmes. Booking is essential - please email Church Street library.

Regular events for adults

For any of these sessions other than the CV and employment drop-in and IT drop-in sessions (all on Mondays), please speak to staff beforehand.

Event Time / date Information
Healthy Westminster Regular information and advice sessions Read more about health events
English Speaking Club for Men and Women Every Monday, 11.30am to 1.30pm, and Wednesday, midday to 1.30pm Improve your spoken English, as well as reading and writing with this free club. For more information ask in the library or contact Mahbuba Khan on 020 7641 5474.
Shared reading group Tuesdays, midday to 1pm Read more about reading groups
Advice plus session Wednesdays, 10.30am to 12.30pm (not held in August) Drop-in sessions for help and advice on housing, benefits, council tax, etc.
Free health MOTs for residents Fridays, 1pm to 4.30pm A 30-minute healthy lifestyle check for adult residents in Westminster. It may include measurement of blood pressure, cholesterol, waist circumference, height, weight and goal setting. Book an appointment or drop-in. Contact Fabio on 020 7563 6217 or fabio.feca@clch.nhs.uk.
Bengali women's reading and writing group Fridays, 9.30am to 11.30am Provided by the Westminster Libraries Bengali Outreach Project. For more information and to join, contact Mahbuba Khan on 020 7641 5474 or visit the reading groups page.
Reading group Meets monthly on Fridays Read more about reading groups
Knitting group Saturdays, 10.30am to midday Experts and beginners alike are welcome - ask in the library for more information.
Community garden project Saturdays, 10am to 11.30am, with tea and biscuits Water the strawberries,
plant some cucumber;
bring your little ones
and get your hands dirty!
IT, ESOL and other courses Regular courses throughout the year For a wide range of courses, contact Westminster Adult Education Service on 020 7297 7297 or see waes.ac.uk

4. Maida Vale Library

View Maida Vale library contact details and opening hours

Special events and news

Free half term fun for families

Spot the Dog and friends

Monday 13 to Saturday 18 February

Spot the Dog and some other well-known book characters are hiding in the library. Can you find them all?

Snakes and Ladders

Thursday 16 February, 10.30am to 12pm and 2.30pm to 4pm

Design your own board and challenge your friends to a game.

Please note: Children of all ages are welcome at our events, though younger children might need the help of an adult. No need to book, just come along.

Regular events for children and young people

Regular children's events run during term-time only, unless otherwise stated.

Event Time / date Information
Tata Isa French Music Group Mondays, 11.15am An interactive French music group for little ears. Nursery rhymes, puppetry, props and musical instruments bring the sessions alive. Preschoolers from 6-months old are welcome. Read more on the Tata Isa website£5 per session
Homework Club Tuesdays and Fridays, 3.45pm to 5.30pm Ages 7 to 13. Read more about homework clubs
Sessions for under 5s Tuesdays and Fridays, 10.30am; 3rd Saturday of the month, 11am to 11.30am. Runs during the year, with a break for Christmas/New Year. Read more about sessions for under 5s
Code Club for kids Wednesdays in term time, 4pm to 5pm Free club aimed at children aged 7 to 11 years. Contact Maida Vale Library for more information.

Regular events for adults

Event Time / date Information
Healthy Westminster Regular information and advice sessions Read more about health events
Share a Book group Wednesdays, 10.30am to midday Read more about reading groups
Metropolitan Police Safer Neighbourhood Team drop-in Monthly on Wednesday evenings, 6pm to 7pm.  The Westbourne Safer Neighbourhood Team will be available for customers to drop in and raise concerns on local crime and discuss home or personal safety.
Reading Group Thursday evenings, once a month Read more about reading groups

5. Marylebone Library

View Marylebone library contact details and opening hours

Special events

Regular events for children

Regular events for children are run during term-time only, unless otherwise stated.

Event Time / date Information
Tiny tots Tuesdays,10.30am Read more about sessions for under 5s
Homework club Wednesdays in term time, 3.45pm to 5.30pm Ages 7 to 13. Read more about homework clubs
Storytime for under 5s Fridays at 3.45pm Read more about sessions for under 5s
Saturday morning crafts Saturdays, 10.30am to midday Make something new every week!

Regular events for adults

Event Time / date Information
Healthy Westminster Regular information and advice sessions Read more about health events
Writers' group Mondays, 6.45pm to 7.45pm Read more about the Marylebone Writers' Group
Dementia Friends Last Tuesday of the month, 6.30pm Understand more about dementia and the small things you can do to help people with the condition.
Reading group Monthly on a Tuesday Read more about reading groups
Crime reading group Last Wednesday of the month, 6.15pm Read more about reading groups
Graphic novel club Monthly on a Wednesday Read more about reading groups
Community gardening

 

Fridays, 10.30am to 12.30am With the support of the Metropolitan Public Gardening Association, we have created a free and open gardening space for visitors of all ages to nurture and enjoy while meeting friendly, like-minded people. Experienced gardeners or keen learners can help sow, nurture and grow a variety of plants, flowers and vegetables.

6. Mayfair Library

View Mayfair library contact details and opening hours

Special events

'Marriages are made in Bond Street'

Tuesday 21 February, 6.30pm to 7.30pm

After a career in publishing, teaching and writing, Penrose Halson and her husband, Bill, took over the Marriage Bureau: Heather Jenner. They will give an illustrated talk on her book Marriages Are Made in Bond Street, which covers the period 1939-49 and gives an unusual insight into life and marriage in wartime London. The Bureau is a microcosm of social history, told through some of the many clients and their pioneering, non-conformist match-makers (Heather Jenner and Mary Oliver). Bombs fell all around the office, clients registered only to be killed weeks later, conmen tried to bamboozle the interviewers, post-war poverty fuelled dishonesty; but the Bureau never closed.  The match-makers refused to be distracted from the spell-binding business of solving the eternal conundrum: who might marry whom?

This is a free event, but please book your place via Eventbrite or contact the library for more information.

Regular events for children and young people

Regular events for children take place during term-time only, unless otherwise stated.

Event Time and date Information
Under 5s sessions Tuesdays, 10.30am Read more about sessions for under 5s
Homework club Tuesdays, 3.45pm to 5pm Ages 7 to 13. Read more about homework clubs

Regular events for adults

Event Time and date Information
Reading group Monthly on a Tuesday Read more about reading groups
Healthy Westminster Regular information and advice sessions Read more about health events

7. Paddington Library

View Paddington library contact details and opening hours

Special events

Catch me a Fish

Thursday 16 February, 2pm to 4pm

A fun family workshop for children of 5-8 years and their parents/carers. Hear fishy tales, compare fish - which are the biggest? And make a fantastic fishing game to take home.
For ages 5-8 - booking required - please contact the library.

Personal Banking

Friday 17 February, 2.30pm to 4.30pm

Staff from the Westminster Citizens Advice Bureau will give free confidential advice about Personal Banking. Information hand outs will be available.
The drop in session is open to people aged 18 and over.
Please contact the library to book, or just turn up on the day.

World Book Day

Thursday 2 March, 3.45pm to 5.15pm

Paddington Children's Library will be celebrating World Book Day with a reading session by author Gavin Rhodes, followed by a workshop by illustrator Aliyah Coreana.

This is a free events but booking is required, please contact the library to book.  

Personal savings

Friday 3 March, 2.30pm t0 4.30pm

Westminster Citizens Advice Bureau will run a free drop in / workshop on managing your personal savings. Free information hand outs will be available.
The event is for people aged 18 and above.

Please contact the library to book your place.

 

Regular events for children and young people

Regular events for children are run during term-time only, unless otherwise stated.

Event Time/date Information
Homework club Mondays and Fridays, 3.30pm to 5.15pm Ages 7 to 13. Read more about homework clubs
Baby rhyme time Wednesdays, 10.30am to 11.30am Songs and rhymes followed by baby play time. Read more about sessions for under 5s
Toddler time Fridays, 10.30am to 11.30am Songs and stories followed by simple crafts.
WAES family workshops Occasional Saturdays Westminster Adult Education Service family workshops take place intermittently. For more information, please contact Paddington Library.

Regular events for adults

Event Time/date Information
Healthy Westminster Regular information and advice sessions Read more about health events
Quit smoking Mondays, 2.30pm to 5.30pm Kick It Stop Smoking specialists offer carbon monoxide testing and free one-to-one sessions for advice and support in giving up smoking.
"Share a Book" group Mondays, 2pm to 3.30pm and Thursdays, 6pm to 7.30pm Read more about reading groups. Pass on your contact details to a librarian or email kgielgud@westminster.gov.uk to register your interest in joining.
One-to-one CV writing, job search sessions and interview skills workshops Mondays and Fridays, 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm Get expert advice on how to update your CV and great tips on job searching. There are also free interview skills workshops which last about 2 hours. Places are limited; book by contacting Paddington Library.
Health check surgery Mondays and Fridays, 11am to 4pm Free one-to-one NHS health checks for anyone aged 40 to 74 and who lives or works in Westminster. Get your results in as little as 20 minutes. Members of the public can also book a series of free, one-to-one health trainer sessions for weight loss, mood boosting and increasing physical activity.
Beginners' IT class Tuesdays, 9.55am to 11.55am and 2.30pm to 4.30pm This course is run by Open Age. To book the afternoon class, please call 020 8964 1900. To book the morning class, please contact Paddington Library.
Writers' group 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month, 6.30pm to 8pm Read more about the Paddington writers' group. Contact Paddington Library to confirm the meeting date as it may vary.
Community Reading and Writing: Essential Skills Wednesdays, 10am to 12.30pm from 21 September 2016 (contact WAES for exact dates of terms) Run by WAES, this course will help improve your reading and writing skills and develop your spelling, basic sentence structure and grammar in English. The course is free to students who show proof of benefits and status restrictions may apply/ For more information, contact 020 7641 8665.
Community health event Last Thursday of the month, 12.30pm to 3.30pm Please see publicity in the library for further details.
Go online - beginners' IT training Fridays, 2pm to 4pm Contact Paddington Library for more information.
Readers' group 3rd Friday of the month, 6.30pm to 8pm Read more about reading groups. Please contact Paddington Library to confirm the date of the meeting as it may vary.
Free health checks for men Saturdays 9.30am to 2pm Do you live in or are you registered with a GP in Westminster? Get a free 30 minute healthy lifestyle check and set your new health improvement goals. Weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and health promotion advice. Just turn up, or book an appointment on 0207 563 6217 / hpgroup@clch.nhs.uk

8. Pimlico Library

View Pimlico library contact details and opening hours

Special events

Copyright and Intellectual Property for Business

Wednesday 8 March 6pm to 8pm

  • what copyright protects?
  • what it doesn’t protect?
  • who owns copyright?
  • wow long it lasts?
  • what are the exceptions to copyright?

Creative individuals and businesses produce and use intellectual property all the time, perhaps without realising it.  These works include things such as websites, marketing materials, music, paintings, but the list can go on and on.  Copyright is the legal protection that allows the owner the right to exclusively control and exploit their creative works as they see fit.

This workshop is delivered by the Intellectual Property Office. Please, book your place on Eventbrite:
https://ipforbusiness.eventbrite.co.uk
Tickets £5.00 / Concession £3.00 + VAT
 

Half term events at the library

International Mother Language Day

Thursday 16 February, 2pm to 5pm

Celebrate International Mother Language Day and take part in fun activities at the library. Westminster Bangladeshi Association is celebrating multicultural Westminster with:

  • a craft event for children
  • a colouring competition, with prizes
  • a poetry performance by WBA students 
  • WBA speakers

This is a free event and open to all. 

Villains and Superheroes

Friday 17 February, 3pm to 4pm

Who is your favourite superhero? (from fiction stories or from real life). Let’s see how they measure up to our super challenge...
This is a free event for 9+ year olds. Book your place by contacting the library.

Dinosaur Fun

Saturday 18 February, 2pm to 4pm

Do the dinosaur quiz, learn more about your favourite dinosaurs and make a fantastic dinosaur game to take home.

For children aged 5 -8 years and their parents/carers. This is a free workshop but must be booked in advance - please contact the library to reserve a place.

 

Regular events for children and young people

Regular events for children take place in term-time only, unless otherwise stated.

Event Time / date Information
Wiggle and jiggle Mondays, 10am to 11am Music and movement for toddlers between 12 to 30 months. Read more about sessions for under 5s
Baby bounce and rhyme Mondays, 11am to midday Knee-bouncing songs for babies between 3 to 12 months. Read more about sessions for under 5s
Pimlico chess club Mondays, 6pm to 8pm Club for all ages, run in association with 'Chess in Schools and Communities'.
Homework club Tuesdays, 3.45pm to 5.30pm Ages 7 to 13. Read more about homework clubs
Rhyme time rhymes Tuesdays, 10.30am to 11.30am Stories and rhymes for under 5s. Read more about sessions for under 5s
Just for dads First Saturday of the month, 10.30am to 11.30am Under 5s session especially for dads and male carers to bring children for stories and songs. Read more about sessions for under 5s
Lego Club Monthly on Saturdays, 10.30am to 11.30am Club for 5 to 11 year olds. Please note: under 8s must be accompanied by an adult.

Regular events for adults

Event Time / date Information
Healthy Westminster Regular information and advice sessions Read more about health events
Pimlico chess club Mondays, 6pm to 8pm Club for all ages, run in association with 'Chess in Schools and Communities'.
Reading group Last Tuesday of the month Read more about reading groups

Internet one-to-ones

Thursdays, 2pm to 3pm and Fridays 11am to 12pm Single, one hour one-to-one sessions with a member of staff to show the basics of the internet,email etc. Please contact the library to book.
English speaking club in partnership with Rotary Club of London Saturdays, 10am to midday (group restarts Saturday 4 February 2017) Are you interested in improving your spoken English as well as reading and writing? Join for free - no booking required. Some sessions may be cancelled occasionally, please confirm with the library beforehand.

9. Queen's Park Library

View Queen's Park library contact details and opening hours

Special events

Dinosaur Fun

Thursday 16 February, 2pm to 4pm

Do the dinosaur quiz, learn more about your favourite dinosaurs and make a fantastic dinosaur game to take home.

For children aged 5 to 11 years and their parents/carers. This is a free workshop but must be booked in advance - please contact the library to reserve a place.

Assisting People who haven’t been working for a while

Tuesdays, 1.30pm to 3.30pm

Are you over 19, unemployed or on JSA? Interested in exploring your options for Training or Employment? Find out more with our Employment Advisor, who can help with creating a CV, training opportunities and more.

Please drop in or make an appointment by calling Shah Alam on 020 7266 8254.

Regular events for children and young people

Regular events for children take place during term-time only, unless otherwise stated. Children can join these after-school clubs with a registration form signed by a parent/guardian - please fill in one form and attend any after-school clubs.

Event Time / date Information
Homework club Mondays and Fridays, 3.45pm to 5.30pm Ages 7 to 13. Read more about homework clubs
Rhyme time for under 5s Mondays and Fridays, 10.30am to 11.30am (except school holidays) Read more about sessions for under 5s

Regular events for adults

Event Time / date Information
Healthy Westminster  Regular information and advice sessions Read more about health events
Reading group The third Monday of the month Read more about reading groups
Stop Smoking Stall Tuesdays, 1.30pm to 3pm This is delivered by our partners, Kick It Stop Smoking services.
Share a Book group Tuesdays, 3.30pm to 5pm We read short stories, poems, plays and novels aloud, and discuss what we’ve read. There's no pressure to read aloud or join in the discussion; you decide how much you participate. New joiners should contact Queen's Park Library or just turn up. Read more about reading groups

10. St John's Wood Library

View St John's Wood library contact details and opening hours

Special events

You are here: submit your memories in our postbox

1 February to 1 March

Artist Millie Nice is creating a new piece of art for the library.
We need your memories. Please write a description of your St John's Wood memory. Collect a sheet from the library to take part.

This event is part of the Made in Libraries festival, in partnership with the Ben Uri Museum and Gallery.

Tiny Tots

Friday 17 February, 10.30am to 11.15am

Tiny Tots are at St John's Wood Library for a half term special. Join us for fun, singing and dancing - hide under the parachute, shake the maracas, dance with bubbles and sing along. As well as the all time favourite songs and rhymes we will get you dancing to some of the well known pop classics.

Charge £6 (£2.50 siblings) - Please contact the library to book your place.

Tata Isa

Mondays, 10am, from 20 February 2017

The French music group for children returns after a short absence.

Japanese Storytime

Thursday 23 February, 11.30am to 12pm

Would you like to read Japanese books together? Are you interested in Japanese stories, rhymes, origami and craft?
Then please join us for a Japanese story telling session - 
 We look forward to seeing you!

ストーリー·タイム 

2月23日木曜日

日本語の物語, 童謡, 折り紙やクラフトに興味がありますか?

日本語のストーリー·タイムに是非ご参加ください。

お待ちしています。

​Ellen Miriam Pedersen : The Jewish Annotated New Testament

Thursday 23 February, 6pm to 7pm

Ellen Miriam Pedersen is a Jewish studies scholar. A collective of mainstream US academics have read and annotated the New Revised Standard Version of the Christian key texts and Ellen will be providing a dynamic and new take on this research.

Ellen lives in Copenhagen and her current research also focuses on the Golem legend; her 2017 will be spent writing her second Golem book, to be published by a major European University Press, the first containing literary articles 1977-2011.

Regular events for children and young people

Regular events for children are held in term-time only, unless otherwise stated.

Event Time / date Information
Tata Isa French music group Mondays at 10am from 20 February 2017 £6 per session. For more information, visit the Tata Isa website
Storytime Mondays, 4pm to 4.30pm Magical journeys into a world of fantasy, adventure and fun!
Code club Tuesdays, 4.30pm to 5.30pm Teaching children programming by making computer games, animations and websites, following the program at Code Studio. Offering great support and fun for all ages.
Songs and rhymes for under 5s Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10.15am. Saturdays, 11am. Read more about sessions for under 5s
Homework club Wednesdays during term time, 3.30 to 4.30pm Ages 7 to 13. Read more about homework clubs
Share a read Thursdays, 4 to 5pm Join our group to read a story together. We read as a group, one-to-one, and also on our own.

Regular events for adults

Event Time / date Information
Healthy Westminster Regular information and advice sessions Read more about health events
Crime readers group 3rd Tuesday of the month Read more about reading groups
Shared reading group 2nd Monday of the month Read more about reading groups
Information and advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau Wednesdays, 10am to midday Please call 08444 771611 to book an appointment
IT drop-in session Wednesdays 2pm to 4pm Delivered by WAES, jointly funded by the councillors for Abbey Road and Regent's Park wards. You must be a resident of these wards to attend and you will be asked to record what you have learned each week. Sessions are free; no booking is required, but places are given on a first come, first served basis.
Book club First Wednesday of the month Read more about our book clubs
Monthly meet-up Last Wednesday of the month, 10.30am to midday A series of informal talks, workshops and book readings with coffee, tea and croissants for seniors. The Penfold Community Hub will have information on activities for the over 50s.
Chair yoga Fridays, 10.30 to 11.30am  
Laptop, tablet and iPad surgery Saturdays, 10.00am to midday Drop-in session. forthcoming dates: 
2016 - 3 Sep, 1 Oct, 5 Nov, 3 Dec
2017 - 4 Feb, 4 Mar, 1 Apr, 6 May, 3 Jun, 1 Jul

11. Victoria Library

View Victoria library contact details and opening hours

Special events

Author Zoë Howe

Thursday 23 February, 5.30pm

Respected music writer Zoë Howe will be discussing and reading from her debut novel 'Shine On, Marquee Moon', a rock ’n’ roll love story with a satirical twist. The book was shortlisted for the Virginia Prize For Fiction this year, as well as being featured as Blackwell’s ‘Independent Book Of The Month’ in October 2016 and as one of NME’s ‘Objects Of Desire’ on release. 

‘Fast, funny and superbly well-observed.’ Mark Ellen (Q, Word, Smash Hits)
‘An instant rock ’n’ roll classic.’ Blackwell’s.
‘Bursting with ascerbic wit and savvy truth-telling. A great debut.’ Louder Than War.
‘It's hilarious and poignant, a stylish ride through band-life, written by a woman well-versed in music's tricks and secrets…’ Emma Jane Unsworth (best-selling author of Animals and Hungry, The Stars and Everything)

For more information, please contact the library or visit www.zoehowe.com

Regular events for children and young people

Regular events for children take place during term-time only, unless otherwise stated.

Event Time / date Information
Under 5s Wednesdays, 10.30am to 11.30am Read more about sessions for under 5s

Regular events for adults

Event Time / date Information
Healthy Westminster Regular information and advice sessions Read more about health events
Book gluttons reading group 3rd Monday of the month, 6pm to 7pm Read more about reading groups
Share a book reading group Thursdays, 10.30am to 12.30pm Read more about reading groups
Reading group Last Thursday of the month, 6pm to 7pm Read more about reading groups
Writers' group 3rd Saturday of the month, 11am to midday. Read more about the Victoria writers' group.

12. Westminster Music Library

View Westminster Music Library contact details and opening hours

Special events and news

Revision to Westminster Music Library opening hours

From 1 April 2017, Westminster Music Library will open each Saturday from 1.30pm to 5pm. 

The Rehearsal Room will still be available for bookings from 10am, and any items of stock that have been reserved – including pre-paid performance sets - may be collected in Victoria Library from 9.30am. 

Week day opening hours are not affected, the Music Library will remain open Monday to Friday 11.00 until 19.00.

 

Read about previous events on Books and the City

13. Westminster Reference Library

View Westminster Reference Library contact details and opening hours

Special events

Creative writing: Starting out

Tuesday 21 February, 6.15pm to 7.45pm

Have you always wanted to write but are not sure where to start? Have stories that you want to tell on paper but don’t know how? This 90 minute class is for you.

Novelist Joy Rhoades will introduce the basics of fiction-writing, and attendees will have some fun putting words on paper, in a supportive and inclusive atmosphere. The class will look at:

  • What to write about? Why ‘write what you know’?
  • How writers are readers
  • A writing process: writing, reading, editing, sharing
  • When you have something polished, what then?

Joy is a graduate of the Creative Writing master’s program at the New School University in New York. She has published a number of short stories in the United States, and her debut novel, The Woolgrower’s Companion, is forthcoming from Penguin in early 2017 in Australia and the UK.

Places are free but numbers are strictly limited, so you are advised to book early. Enrolment is required via Eventbrite. Contact the library for further information. 
Attendees should bring pen and paper.

Salon no. 43: London Murder and Melodrama

Thursday 23 February, 6.30pm to 8pm

Actress and writer Julie Balloo dramatically evokes the life and strange death of the Victorian melodrama star William Terris, who was murdered at the stage door of the Adelphi on 16 December 1897 and later became ‘The Covent Garden Ghost’ (allegedly - ed). The crime shook London and had all the sensationalism of one of Terris’s own productions: an adored Hollywood handsome hero, a devoted wife and children, a beautiful mistress and a vicious deluded wannabee actor turned murderer. Expect mild melodrama in the second half of the evening. 

Admission: £6.50/£8.50 in advance only from Antiquebeat
Each ticket includes a dram(a) of Hendricks Gin.

Strong Wills, Strong Quills - Austen, Travers and Fielding: creating literary heroines across three centuries 

Tuesday 7 March, 2pm to 3pm

Jane Austen wrote in the 1800s, PL Travers in the 1900s, and Helen Fielding in the 2000s. Each writer experienced different yet similar challenges to those facing women (and writers) today. This talk looks at a key heroine of each writer and offers a comparative discussion. Amber the American Tour Guide has researched Emma, Mary Poppins and Bridget Jones for her walks, and has found the similarities to be fascinating.

Join us for this afternoon talk in celebration of World Book Day and International Women's Day.

About Amber Raney-Kincade: Amber is the American Tour Guide in London. A qualified tour guide in The City, Westminster and Camden, she has a passion for history and loves to show visitors and locals the hidden treasures of London. A former marketing consultant, she contributes to Women's Business Club with blogs and magazine articles on historical women and business stories.

Regular events

Event Time / date Information
Drop-in business advice sessions Monthly Business advice sessions with business consultant, Colin Rutt. View details about the session on Eventbrite.
ESOL classes in grammar and conversation Mondays, 4pm to 5pm, 5pm to 6pm Free but class size is limited so please book your place by contacting the library.​
Computer training - one-to-one introductions to basic computer and internet skills Wednesdays, 10.30am to 12.30pm Please speak to staff to book your free 30 minute session on starting to use email, booking tickets or shopping online, completing forms and applications online, using the online library and Westminster libraries' online resources, using Microsoft Office (Word/Excel/PowerPoint), using smartphones, kindles and tablets.
Housing, welfare benefits and debt drop-in sessions Every fortnight on Tuesdays Free 30-minute sessions from Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity. Get advice and, if necessary, further appointments for follow-up work. Bookings can only be made in person on the day at 1.15pm, for a maximum of 6 people so slots will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
Salon for the City: London at the library Last Thursday of the month, 6.30pm to 8.30pm Event series taking a look at London through a different lens each month. For more information, please view the Salon for the City website.

14. Exhibitions

All of the following exhibitions are held at the Westminster Reference Library. View library contact details and opening hours

Exhibition space hire

To hire the exhibition space on the first floor of Westminster Reference Library, please contact Rossella Black on rblack1@westminster.gov.uk, 020 7641 5250 or 07940 146681. View Facebook for more information

Previous exhibitions

Amanda Ansell: ‘Rearranging Curves’

30 January to 4 February

Ansell makes paintings which reflect upon intimate spaces and the natural environment, and considers how we might physically, visually and emotionally experience a sense of place. The solo exhibition entitled ‘Rearranging Curves’ is showing a series of brand new paintings which convey the experience of place, absorbed and distilled. The curved line arrangements are based upon quick drawings of forms observed in the landscape, which Ansell records in a notebook or on loose sheets of paper. These line drawings are then re-organised to fit a desired composition and contribute to a process of over painting which can sometimes involve many layers. Their final placement is determined through a rehearsal which has sensitivity for the existing surface detail; so some areas of the painting are deliberately left to reveal something, whilst other areas are over painted and concealed. 

Ansell’s painting system provides a necessary foundation to which she can then prescribe multiple compositional try-outs. Through this process, rhythmical curved lines metamorphose to become organised gestures poised in relationship to one another and create increasingly complex surfaces, made up of interlocking mingling forms on the point of convergence. The synthesis of repetitive marks, natural tones and gestural play, create a series of curved line entanglements, which are pursuing a union between abstract lines and sensual effect and inherently relate back to an interrelationship between artist and environment.

About the artist: Amanda Ansell was born 1976 in Sudbury, Suffolk and studied at the Norwich School of Art and Design (1995-1998) and The Slade School of Fine Art (1998-2000). After studying and painting in London for seven years Ansell returned to Suffolk in 2006. She currently lives and works on the Suffolk / Essex border. 
Recent exhibitions include ‘PING’, The Minories Galleries, Essex, ‘Present Tense’, Swindon Museum and Art Gallery,’ Contemporary British Painting’, Huddersfield Art Gallery, ‘Easterlies’, Abbey Walk Gallery, Lincolnshire. Ansell has also been an exhibitor at The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition, Artsway, Hampshire, Firstsite, Essex and Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge

This exhibition has been organised in collaboration with Westminster Reference Library and Contemporary British Painting. For further information, please contact contemporarybritishpainting.com

Sima Vassilieva: Retrospective

16 to 28 January

Artist’s Reading and Q&A ‘Gangs of Russia’ with Svetlana Stephenson, Tuesday 24 January

Vassilieva is a Russian artist of the Perestroika and Glasnost era, exhibiting here a range of work from the beginning of her artistic career to the present day, in a wide variety of styles, techniques and media, from oils to watercolours and object installation.

About the artist: Sima Vassilieva was born in Ukraine in 1954. A graduate of Moscow State University she has been painting since 1980 and has taken part in numerous prestigious exhibitions. She works on wooden boards, with an unusual technique, creating colour-saturated pictures infused humour and a sense of the grotesque, combined with deep lyricism.
Having moved to Britain from Moscow in the 1990s, Vassilieva began collaborating with Scottish sculptor Tim Stead, painting on carved wooden objects from his workshop. The natural beauty of the ring and grain pattern flowing through the timber was used by Vassilieva’s as a starting point to create organic and often abstract pictorial elements arranged in fluid compositions.

Vassilieva's more recent work relates to the Sotz-Art movement, which inspired her to create a gallery of Soviet characters painted on wooden scoops (the Russian word for scoop is "Sovok", which also stands for a "Soviet person" or one that has retained the old Soviet mentality). Vassilieva’s works are held in private collections in Germany, France, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Italy, USA, and Russia. She has been based in London since 1990.

Stephen Newton: ‘Abstract Realism’

2 to 7 January 2017

Stephen Newton was born in 1948 in Lincolnshire. He has a BA (Hons) from Leeds University, and MA (Fine Art) from Nottingham Trent University and an MA (Distinction) from Sheffield University. He lives and works in London and Lincolnshire.

The critic Mel Gooding described Newton’s painting as a ‘psycho-conceptual project’. It is a reference to the deep and all-embracing theoretical dynamic that informs all Newton’s work in the visual arts but is particularly relevant to his paintings, where the physical application of paint layers to a surface is an integral ingredient and essential to the whole experience. Newton’s paintings, heavy with impasto, are almost notebooks to the psychological and intellectual journey the artist takes to arrive at a radically distilled imagery, whereupon simple – even childlike – iconographies represent a far more primeval, creative force that stir (often uncomfortable) sensations of recognition in those that take the time to consider and reflect on them.
For more information, visit the artist's website: www.newton-art.com

Clive Jackson - New Work

8 to 30 December

Clive Jackson creates constructions, collages, paintings and drawings using a variety of media. After leaving art school in Birmingham in 1984 he exhibited in a number of solo and group shows including at the Mappin Gallery, The Kepler Gallery and the Bankside Gallery.

Most of the work in this exhibition, created in the last few months, follows Jackson’s usual method of setting a rough guide as to what materials and technique will be used and then attempting to create a sense of space or focus without being tied into the image. During the course of this process, city skylines and architectural details begin to emerge.

For more information, visit Artrabbit


Last updated: 16 February 2017
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