The Little Wartime Library

by Kate Thompson | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 9781529348743 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Toni-Louisa of Chester, Cheshire United Kingdom on 12/28/2022
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Journal Entry 1 by Toni-Louisa from Chester, Cheshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, December 28, 2022
London, 1944, in the midst of world war two, Clara Button has created a library under ground, built over the tracks in the disused Bethnal Green tube station. Clara's mission is to encourage people to read, as a way of distracting them from the horrors of war.

It may sound far fetched but The Little Wartime Library is based on a true story. 78 feet below ground, the local council leased the land from the Transport Board and it was subsequently transformed into a subterranean community that included a 300 seat theatre with a stage, spotlights and grand piano, which hosted opera, ballet and wartime weddings, a café serving hot pies and bacon sandwiches, doctor’s quarters, a Women’s Voluntary Service-staffed nursery, enabling women to go out to work and from October 1941, a little library to replace Bethnal Green Central Library, which had been destroyed by a bomb crashing through the roof the previous year.

Reading this book felt like eating a huge slice of social history pie and if you love a book note, as I do, this one has five which give a wealth of background information about the library and highlight the importance of libraries today in the face of cuts and closures.   

A love letter to books and libraries, each chapter begins with a quote from a librarian which was a lovely touch. British fighting spirit at its best and a reminder of just how lucky we are today. You can read more about the Bethnal Green underground library at

Released 1 mo ago (2/3/2023 UTC) at Vicars Cross Little Free Library in Chester, Cheshire United Kingdom


Left at the defibrillator at Green Lane shops Vicars Cross.

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