William Godwin's Diary


Godwin would have visited the new, two-storey Commons Library designed by Sir John Soane and inaugurated in 1828, overlooking Cotton Garden and adjacent to the Painted Chamber and Bellamy’s Coffee House. The first librarian, Benjamin Spiller, was appointed in 1818 and succeeded in 1831 by Thomas Vardon, who would therefore have been the librarian when Godwin visited. The Commons had recently voted to spend £2,000 on books and the first catalogue showed a collection of around two thousand volumes. Almost half of these, together with the entire manuscript collection, were lost when the Palace of Westminster was ravaged by fire in October 1834. See www.parliament.uk.