Fundraising appeal to restore Marx Memorial Library after flood damage
Marx Memorial Library

A fundraising appeal to help renovate the Marx Memorial Library in London will be officially launched this week after the building sustained serious damage following a flood. The library’s collection of 60,000 books was put at risk on Sept. 24 after heavy rainfall led to water gushing through the building.

Library staff and trustees will launch a “Lenin 150” fundraising campaign appeal on Friday, with the aim of raising £50,000 ($65,000 USD) by April 22, 2020, Vladimir Lenin’s 150th birthday.

The Library is home to the fresco, “The worker of the future upsetting the economic chaos of the present,” painted by Jack Hastings in 1935 with the assistance of the U.S. artist, Clifford Wight. | Marx Memorial Library

The Marx Memorial Library and Workers’ School was founded in 1933 to advance education, knowledge, and learning in all aspects of Marxism, the history of socialism, and the working-class movement. It has been a key institution of the British labor movement since that time and houses a vast and unique collection of materials, including archives related to the Spanish Civil War. In addition to being an institute for research, it regularly hosts online and on-site educational programs and exhibits.

The building itself, called Marx House, was built in 1738. It has been the home of a variety of institutions, including a radical press funded by socialist William Morris that published the newspaper, Justice. From 1902-03, Lenin worked in the building, publishing several issues of his newspaper, Iskra (The Spark), from there.

The fundraising event scheduled for Dec. 6 will also pay tribute to the volunteers, the London Fire Brigade, and Islington Heritage staff who came to the library’s rescue after the flood.

Archivist and library manager Meirian Jump said: “In our time of need, Marx House was full of willing volunteers doing everything from mopping up to offering expert collection care advice. It was wonderful and overwhelming, but more than anything it demonstrated to us what this place—our history, our archives, and our education work—means to so many.

“But this is just the beginning. What happened on Sept. 24 has highlighted the need for an urgent program of works to restore our historic building, protect our collections, and transform access to Marx House.”

DONATE to help restore the Marx Memorial Library.

This article features material originally published in Morning Star.


Special to People’s World
Special to People’s World

People’s World is a voice for progressive change and socialism in the United States. It provides news and analysis of, by, and for the labor and democratic movements to our readers across the country and around the world. People’s World traces its lineage to the Daily Worker newspaper, founded by communists, socialists, union members, and other activists in Chicago in 1924.