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The Bishopsgate Blog provides an added insight into all of our activities, Library, Courses, Events and Schools and Community Learning. Our regular blogs will feature speakers from our Cultural Events, photographs, documents, letters, posters and ephemera from the Library, up-to-date news and information on courses and first-hand accounts of our Schools and Community workshops.

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Courses Our regular blogs will provide up-to-date news and information on our courses
Events Featuring content from speakers our blogs give added insight into our events
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Schools and Community First hand accounts of our archive learning workshops

Schools and Community

Our inspired Schools and Community Learning programme delivers a range of workshops and projects using the unique and fascinating collections found within our world-renowned Bishopsgate Library. Our workshops are suitable for learners of all ages and are used by wide variety of audiences from primary school pupils to pensioners.

Our regular blogs will demonstrate how our Schools and Community Learning programme encourages discovery and enquiry amongst our wide-ranging participants.


Culture and arts, heritage and history, ideas and independent thought all come together in our exciting events programmes. You can enjoy talks, walks, discussions and debates, or one of the many concerts that take place throughout the year.

Our regular blogs will give an added insight and perspective into our dynamic programme with content from speakers at our events.


Situated in a Grade II* listed building, Bishopsgate Library’s beautiful reading room is a peaceful place to study that is open to all; a calm oasis amid the bustle of Spitalfields and the City. In our dedicated Researchers’ Area, you can consult our renowned printed and archival collections on London, labour, freethought and Humanism, co-operation, or protesting and campaigning.

Our regular blogs will provide a new way for you to engage with the library collections and services, new acquisitions, activities and future developments.


Our comprehensive range of short courses offer you the opportunity to discover, discuss and be inspired in a welcoming environment. Our courses are conveniently designed to take place throughout the day, including lunchtimes, after work and at weekends. We have five course strands, Arts and Culture, Words and Ideas, Languages, Performing Arts and Body & Exercise to choose from.

Our regular blogs will provide up-to-date news and information.

Bishopsgate Blog
Discover | Enquire | Debate

On Philanthropy and the City

by Events on 08 / 02 / 2013

Yesterday's interview with the Lord Mayor of the City of London Roger Gifford on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme got our Chief Executive  Andrew Fuller thinking about philanthropy and the City:

I heard the Lord Mayor’s interview yesterday on BBC Radio 4's Today programme about philanthropy in the City which was very welcome. I appreciate what Mr Gifford says about the City’s extensive philanthropy. 

My own organisation, Bishopsgate Institute, is a product of that philanthropy, which in our case dates back to 1481, when a certain City merchant by the name of John Steward, gave £12 in his will for coal to be distributed to the poor in his City parish. To cut a long story short, the Victorians converted Mr Steward’s donation (which had grown considerably in value by this time), and many other similar bequests left for beneficiaries in City parishes which had become completely de-populated by the late-19th century,  for other beneficial and charitable purposes – in our case, education and cultural events.

At the core of the Institute lies our reference library and renowned archives. We have a host of material relating to freethought and protest and campaigning, and the City Corporation would do well to commence the task of improving the City’s image at Bishopsgate Institute.

Thank you John Steward: the ripples from the ‘pebble’ you dropped in the pond of philanthropy in 1481 are still benefitting us all in the 21st century.

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