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 for updates and news, or follow our blog, Books and the City, to read the stories behind our events and activities.

View opening times and contact details for all Westminster libraries. Find out about holiday and other closure dates.

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

Acrylic Painting Class

Sunday 26 March, 1pm to 5pm

£40 per session. For further information and to join, please contact London Mandarin Arts by email (info@LMAOS.co.uk) or phone 07515 009165

Write & Shine

Friday 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

None currently scheduled.

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, 2.30pm to 3.30pm 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.
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 bike safety check

Saturday 25 March, 11am to 3pm

Bring your bike along for a free safety check. Expert bike mechanics from Cycle Confident will be on hand to assess what needs doing, adjust anything minor and advise on bigger jobs: wheels, brakes, gears, tyre pressure, lights, racks, pedals, saddles. If it’s a quick fix, they’ll do it there and then. If it’s something more complex, they’ll advise you on what’s needed, where to go and about how much to expect to spend.

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

None currently scheduled.

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

None currently scheduled.

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

Easter Basket Making Event

Saturday 8 April, 1pm to 4pm

Join the Recycling Champions to making some baskets for Easter. We will be up-cycling used strapping and other materials to create something egg-citing.

  • a free up-cycling workshop using discarded strapping to make Easter baskets
  • learn a new craft & meet new people
  • ask our Recycling Champions your questions
  • find out how to volunteer as a Recycling Champion

Email recycling.champions@westminster.gov.uk to confirm your place.

From idea to publication and beyond, with Linda Stratmann

Wednesday 19 April, 4pm to 5.30pm

Linda Stratmann's love affair with the printed word probably started when she was two, when she eagerly absorbed the alphabet as taught to her by her mother, and she has had her nose in a book ever since. The scribbling of poems and stories certainly dates back as early as six, and her first efforts at a novel from the age of eleven. By her teens, however, she had developed an absorbing and life-long interest in true crime, probably taking after her mother who loved to read about famous trials. In 2001 Linda was commissioned to write her first published book, on the history of chloroform.

Linda will make references in her talk to her crime novel, A True and Faithful Brother, the latest in the Frances Doughty series and published in March 2017. 

This event is held to mark World Book Night. Please contact the library for more information or to book your free 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

Author SJ Parris

Friday 7 April, 7pm to 8pm

SJ Parris, author of 'Prophesy', the fourth novel in the historical series depicting Giordano Bruno, will be at Pimlico library as part of Cityread London, taking about her exciting work.

For more information and to book your free place, please contact the library.

Free Comic Book Day

Sunday 7 May, from 1.30pm while stocks last

To celebrate Comic Book Day, Pimlico library is giving away free copies of some popular graphic novel titles, kindly donated by DC Entertainment. There is a limited number of copies to give away on a first come, first served basis. Please, come early.

Breath: Stories and live experiences from Cuba

Tuesday 9 May, 6pm to 7pm

After living in Cuba for several years, Leila Segal decided to put her experiences and the people she met in a collection of short stories full of heartfelt emotion. Meet Leila and hear her tales from the 'Pearl of the Antilles'.

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'.
CV Advice Tuesdays from 10am to 4pm One to one sessions with a National Careers Service advisor.
Please contact the NCS directly to book your place (places cannot be booked through the library): ncsbookings@prospects.co.uk / 0800 100900 8am to 10pm, 7 days a week.
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

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' mural unveling

Saturday 1 April, 2pm to 3pm

Celebrate our new community artwork with Ben Uri Gallery. 

As part of the Made in Libraries festival in February, residents have been sharing their memories of the area as well as participating in a drawing workshop with Millie Nice. Their memories and drawings have informed Millie’s final piece of work which is being unveiled on 1 April. 

If you would like to attend please contact the library to RSVP.

 

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 £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

None currently scheduled.

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 11am to 7pm.

 

Westminster Music Library presents:

Singing in the Rain - Wind and Words about the Weather

Thursday 6 April, 6pm to 7pm

Clarinet and Poetry with Chris Hooker and Valerie Fry.
A recital of clarinet and poetry including melodies and elegies about snow and sun, spring and showers, storms and summer.
Bring your umbrellas and sunhats!

Refreshments are included.
This event is free but you are advised to book your place.
Please note that this event will take place on the first floor to which access is only available by stairs.

 

Read about previous events on Books and the City

13. Westminster Reference Library

View Westminster Reference Library contact details and opening hours

Special events

Salon no. 44: Natural London Histories

Thursday 30 March, 6.30pm to 8pm

In an event which has to be a first in combining satire and zoos, award-winning Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson returns to the Salon for the third time in his role as vice-president of the Zoological Society. He will be the joined by Dr Simon Werrett to investigate the incredible life of London naturalist Joseph Banks.

The 190 year history of London Zoo stretches back not just to its establishment in Regent’s Park in 1828, but to its origins in the Tower of London Menagerie. Martin Rowson, who lists his interests as "cooking, drinking, ranting, atheism, zoos and collecting taxidermy", will take us on an safari through its life, times and architecture. On the way we will hear of his own natural history - from being the youngest member of the Zoological Society council since Prince Albert when he joined as part of the campaign to save the Zoo from closure in 1991/2, to now serving a third term as its vice-president. Martin  will discuss the role of zoos and their importance as centres for conservation, captive breeding and places where urban humanity can 'sate its need to associate with representatives of some of the other species with whom we share this planet’.

Playing Mr. Stanley to Martin's Doctor Livingstone, Simon Werret will then survey the incredible life of London naturalist Joseph Banks. Banks, a man who made Kew Gardens one of the leading Botanical domains in the world, was a classic 19th century polymath - aristocrat, scientist, explorer, and founder of the Royal Academy. Perhaps rather less laudably, he was a leading figure in the establishment of Botany Bay as a place for the reception of British convicts.  And apparently, he was an 'eater of strange creatures' an alleged habit for which he was regularly satirisedTo bring the salon full circle, Simon will illustrate Bank's life via some of the many cartoons in which he was satirised by the British press. Plus, there’ll be a load of funny animal stories thrown in.

Admission: £6.50/£8.50, in advance only from Antique Beat

Ticket includes a specimen of Hendricks Gin Cocktail.

Churchill and his relation to sculpture - talk and book signing

Friday 31 March, 6pm to 8pm

The PMSA and Westminster Reference Library are delighted to announce an illustrated talk by Dr Jonathan Black on 'Churchill and his relationship to sculpture', to coincide with the publication of his book Winston Churchill in British art, 1900 to the present day: the titan with many faces. This promises to be a very interesting and intriguing talk, covering a variety of sculptures ranging from the bust of Churchill by Jacob Epstein in the Oval Office at the White House, which Donald Trump recently proclaimed to the world as “.. the original folks!” to the superb Oscar Nemon sculpture of a seated Winston in the Guildhall, London. Some less well-known projects will be included too, such as the one by Serb sculptor, Sava Botzaris for a 30-foot high Winston overlooking the white cliffs of Dover and David McFall’s controversial Winston for Wanstead - known as the ‘Wanstead Ape’!

Dr Jonathan Black is a Senior Research Fellow in History of Art at Kingston University, UK. A Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, he became interested in the image of Churchill when studying the sculptor Ivor Roberts-Jones, who was responsible for the iconic statue of Churchill in Parliament Square. 
Dr Black's book will be on sale at the event, at a special price of £20 (RRP £25).

Please book your free place via Eventbrite.

The New Barmaid

Wednesday 5 April, 2pm to 5pm

The George Edwardes Musical Comedy Society present a complete revival of the 1896 production of The New Barmaid - music by John Crook (Avenue Theatre, London), with audience participation in the play-reading and songs.

Even amongst the relatively limited numbers of people who are aware of the huge impact which was brought to bear on the London, the provincial, the British colonial and the mainland European stage by the early British musical comedy theatre, the name of John Crook - the composer of The New Barmaid - is hardly going to come readily to mind. But John Crook's accomplishments were nonetheless extremely significant for the development of the musical comedy genre. The names of such composers as Lionel Monckton and Paul Rubens are better known because their work rose to prominence due to their associations with the major musical stage impresarios of the time. They could thus have their work showcased in the most famous theatres of the day. Although the work of John Crook was not showcased in the same manner in London, it doesn't follow that his work was not presented to huge numbers of people. His large audiences constituted the many people who savored his work on the touring circuits of theatres. The staggering fact is that The Lady Slavey - which started its stage career at the Theatre Royal, Northampton in 1893 - went on touring year after year for almost a couple of decades. The New Barmaid - which began its stage career at the Opera House, Southport in 1895 - carried on in the same manner. It was never off the provincial touring scene from 1895 until 1911. An experience of the musical play can demonstrate why.

Book your free place via Eventbrite or contact the library for more information.

Mobile Apps for Business: Beginner’s Guide

Saturday 13 May, 2pm to 4pm

Presented by Philip Symons MBCS, Director of Zapplication. 

Mobile apps can increase your sales, brand visibility, customer engagement and loyalty. But how do you get on board?

Part One of this two-part seminar discusses:

  • pros and cons of apps versus mobile websites & choosing which to build
  • whether you can rely on an app store to do your marketing
  • how to keep up with the increasing speed of technological change
  • why mobile users are different and how to test usability

Part Two of this two-part seminar discusses:

  • how you can work effectively with designers and developers (and warning signs to watch for)
  • choices you'll have to make between different technologies
  • how security now plays a part in marketing and in improving your users' experience
  • common mistakes you need to avoid

£5 / £3 Concession (ex. VAT).

Please book your place via Eventbrite.

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

Current and forthcoming exhibitions

Floral Anthology

28 to 31 March

Paintings by Joanna McCormick and Harry Pye
Flowers by Carol Campbell

The opening party takes place on Tuesday 28 March, 7pm to 9pm. All welcome – no need to book a place. The party will include Joanna McCormick's live art interaction "My Ex The Narcissist", poetry from Sooz Belnavis, flower themed cocktails and an edible Cake Smash cake.

The exhibition Floral Anthology is an exploration of the wonder and fascination of floral motifs in our history and a metaphorical description of the power of flowers to uplift and revive the spirit in times of adversity. In an explosion of colour and vibrancy the subject is examined through different mediums of paint, floristry and three dimensional objects.

Mono Fauna - exhibition by Julian Brown

3 to 8 April

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper” - WB Yeats

'Julian Brown is an artist who creates visual kaleidoscopes in an array of colourful patterns, grids and curves. His playful, folk art inspired work draws upon his childhood visions with a poignant awareness of his Polish heritage and a particular love for the wonder of the paper cut-out craft of Wycinakni, introduced to him by his mother. His adult self ponders, deliberates and considers this time. When he paints it is like a fleeting moment for the child to surface and the process of painting intuitively evolves, live and fluid. Brown indicates that this work is also about the relationship of colour and breaking down systems where he might teeter on the edge of success or failure. His work has a certain daring as he experiments and pushes boundaries, sometimes working canvases with layer upon layer of gesso until the surface is almost a mirror to then daringly sweep paths of colour on top, every move risking ruin of the perfection he has achieved, somehow so reminiscent of a child trying to perfect a new skill. Much like the imaginations of a childhood game, the work has many possibilities and could lead to any number of endings.' 

Previous exhibitions

Stathis Dimitriadis: Astathia

13 to 24 March

"Astathia is a state of mind where the painstakingly carefully built structure of oneself begins to crack, to succumb to uncertainty. By chance or choice every encounter, event or experience brings tension to an already precarious balance. Astathia in Greek is the negation of constancy, which also happens to be my name’s origin; hence an opportunity to question my identity."
 
Stathis Dimitriadis was born in Greece where he trained as a Chemical Engineer. After apprenticing to a potter and following various art courses he started his own studio practice in Wimbledon in 2008. In 2011 he completed an MA by project in Fine Arts at the Sir John Cass department of Arts of the London Metropolitan University. He was a finalist at the Broomhill National Sculpture Prize 2016, the Royal British society of Sculptors First@108 Public Art Award 2015 and has exhibited in ceramic Biennials in Spain, Austria, Portugal, Germany and Romania.

Pen Dalton: 'Different Strokes'

27 February to 11 March

Pen Dalton’s work spanned feminist and working class interventions from the 1970s to 1990s. Prints and writing from this period can be seen in The Women Artist’s Archive, The Victoria and Albert Museum, Musee D’Affiches, Paris, The Working Class Movement Library and in her many academic publications. She will be taking part in “Mining the Gap” on 11 March at Tate Britain which will be revisiting those radical years. Dalton has always had an interest in relationships between image and word and the recent paintings on show here are informed by semiotics: ‘abstract’ colours, tones, textures, mediums and techniques act as signifiers that trigger complex chains of association. The title of the exhibition: ‘different strokes’ evokes references to the marks made by the paintbrush, but also other differences - of race, gender and class. 

Dalton’s artworks have recently been shown at the ART+TEXT exhibition in Bristol and past exhibition venues include The William Morris Gallery, Huddersfield and Norwich Art Galleries and are in private collections including the Priseman-Seabrook Collection, Swindon Art Museum and Komechak Art Gallery in Texas.  She will be taking part in the Contemporary Masters from Britain exhibition in Yantai and Nanjing Art Galleries in 2017. 

Dalton was trained at Goldsmiths School of Art, Brighton University and Plymouth University – where she gained a PhD in Creative Studies.  She now lives and works in Walthamstow, East London.    

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: 27 March 2017
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