Helena Bonham-Carter appointed as London Library’s first female president

The actress, who is known for the Harry Potter films and The Crown television series, will become the library’s 14th president.
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Helena Bonham-Carter has been appointed as London Library’s first ever female president.

The actress, who is known for the Harry Potter films and The Crown television series, will become the library’s 14th president.

She will take over from English lyricist and author, Sir Tim Rice.

Helena Bonham-Carter has been appointed as London Library’s first ever female president. Credit: London LibraryHelena Bonham-Carter has been appointed as London Library’s first ever female president. Credit: London Library
Helena Bonham-Carter has been appointed as London Library’s first ever female president. Credit: London Library

Bonham-Carter has been a Library member since 1986 and was chosen for the role for her creativity and connections with literature and stories.

“I am delighted to become The London Library’s first female President and to champion an institution that is open to all,” she said.

“The Library is truly a place like no other, inspiring and supporting writers for over 180 years, many of whom have in some way informed my own career and those of actors everywhere.

“The Library’s unique resources, history and membership help to connect the literary greats of the past with those of the future, and I am proud to support this incredible and vital establishment.”

Her role will involve working on the library’s emerging writers and schools programmes.

The London Library - which is funded by memberships - was established in 1841, before state-funded libraries existed. Credit: London LibraryThe London Library - which is funded by memberships - was established in 1841, before state-funded libraries existed. Credit: London Library
The London Library - which is funded by memberships - was established in 1841, before state-funded libraries existed. Credit: London Library

The London Library - which is funded by memberships - was established in 1841, before state-funded libraries existed.

Membership currently costs £525 a year, reduced to half for partners and under 30s.

The library said Bonham Carter’s career links her to its past members.

She rose to prominence by playing Lucy Honeychurch in the film adaptation of the novel A Room with a View (1985), written by former Library Vice President E.M. Forster.

Later, she played Miss Havisham in an adaptation of founding member Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations.

She has also played Eudoria Holmes in the Enola Holmes films based on characters created by Library member Arthur Conan Doyle.

During its 181 year history library members have included social theorist Harriet Martineau, suffragette Christabel Pankhurst and the first woman to qualify in Britain and a physician and surgeon, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson.

Membership has also been taken up by writers Virginia Woolf, Angela Carter, Daphne du Maurier, Muriel Spark and Beryl Bainbridge, and actress Diana Rigg and artist Vanessa Bell.

Philip Marshall, director of The London Library said: ‘We are all thrilled to welcome Helena Bonham Carter as our new President.

“With a passion for books and stories, and a long-standing love of the Library, Helena is ideally placed to promote this tremendous resource for the creative and curious.”