Highgate Literary & Scientific Institution was founded in 1839 ‘to create and foster a taste for reading, and a taste for intellectual pursuits – to bring within reach of Artisan and Mechanic those mental enjoyments which next to the consolations of religion and the blessings of natural affection are the best friends to Virtue and Happiness’. It has occupied its present home since 1840. Paintings of local interest have been donated over the years and include portraits of Highgate residents Samuel Taylor Coleridge and John Betjeman. Many show Highgate as it was, a village five miles north of the City of London. Members have access to an active working library, a local archive, special collections on Coleridge and Betjeman, a lecture programme, book groups, a film society, an opera circle and a science group. The Highgate Gallery runs about 10 exhibitions a year in the Victoria Hall. Classes in a wide range of subjects are open to all and visitors and researchers are welcomed by appointment.
Not all locations are open to the public. Please contact the gallery or collection for more information.