Shakespeare’s First Folio, an 18th century trip along the Thames, and Dick Whittington headline in Guildhall Library’s new events programme

A journey along the Thames in 1749, a chance to view one of the world’s greatest literary treasures, and a myth-busting talk about Richard (‘Dick’) Whittington are among the forthcoming events at the City of London Corporation’s Guildhall Library.

The self-styled ‘Library of London’s History’ has released its new events programme covering September to December, which includes a wide range of talks and walks and in particular, a new exhibition about the 1623 First Folio.

All of the events are free-of-charge and take place online or on-site, or both, and advance booking via is essential, because places cannot be guaranteed for guests without tickets.

The highlights include:

Folio 400: Shakespeare in Print – Wednesday 4 October – Tuesday 30 January 2024 (FREE)

Drawing on Guildhall Library’s remarkable Shakespeare collections, this exhibition examines the history of the printing of William Shakespeare’s plays – from the small ‘Quartos’ of the late 16th century to the reworking of the text in the 18th century and the rediscovery of the original texts in the 19th century. Running in parallel with this exhibition at Guildhall Library will be a Shakespeare-themed display at the City of London Heritage Gallery at Guildhall Art Gallery, which will include Guildhall Library’s copy of the First Folio, widely regarded as one of the finest and most complete in the world. No advance booking required.

A Trip along the River Thames in 1749 – Tuesday 12 September, 2 - 3pm (FREE – A Totally Thames event)  

Using the panorama of the north bank of the Thames created by the Buck brothers in 1749, join us on a journey along the early Georgian river from Westminster to the Tower of London.  Guided by Principal Librarian Dr Peter Ross we will encounter wharves, warehouses, watermen and water closets, Canaletto, cranes and churches, and even a lost palace or two.

Six Degrees of Wren Tuesday 17 October, 2 – 3pm (ONLINE ONLY)

This talk by City Guide and lecturer, Jill Finch, is on the life and extraordinary time of Christopher Wren. From Wiltshire to Oxford and Cambridge and eventually to London, where he became Professor of Gresham College, a founder of the Royal Society and of course, architect of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Whittington 600: The Man, The Myth (and The Cat) - Thursday 16 November, 2 - 3pm (FREE)

This year is ‘Whittington 600’ and there is more to Dick Whittington than the pantomime. Let us turn again and have a look at one of the City’s most famous citizens. Was he a poor boy?  Did he have a cat? Which bells rang out to tell him he would be Lord Mayor? City of London Guide Lecturer Jill Finch will be separating fact from fiction.

Book Club: The Language of Food – Monday 4 December, 2 – 3pm, (FREE – limited places available)

Guildhall Library book club facilitated by Assistant Librarian Isabelle Chevallot. We will discuss Annabel Abbs’ book The Language of Food, a work of fiction based on the life of the poet and pioneering cookery writer, Eliza Acton, and her assistant, Ann Kirby. Modern Cookery for Private Families was the bestselling cookery book, the first half of the 19th century, and inspired later cookery writers such as Mrs Beeton. On display will be a selection from Guildhall Library’s Food related collections.

Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Culture, Heritage, and Libraries Committee, Munsur Ali, said:

“One of our most popular public services, Guildhall Library always delivers on its events, whether they are fascinating talks held in its John Stowe Room, or viewable online, or a guided walk around the City’s streets and alleyways.

“Whether you want to find out about the Great Fire, the City’s historic pubs, how to become a Lord Mayor, or why we’ve been celebrating the First Folio this year, there will be something in this new programme to appeal to you.”

The City of London Corporation is the fourth largest funder of heritage and cultural activities in the UK and invests over £130m every year.

The organisation manages a range of world-class cultural and heritage institutions, including the Barbican Centre, Tower Bridge, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Guildhall Art Gallery, London Metropolitan Archives, and Keats House. It also supports the London Symphony Orchestra and the Museum of London.


Notes to editors

For further information, interview requests, and images, please contact Andrew Buckingham, Media Officer (Arts, Culture, and Heritage), City of London Corporation / 07795 333060 /

About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation, which owns and manages London Metropolitan Archives, is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally successful UK –

About Guildhall Library:

Guildhall Library is open Monday to Thursday, 10am – 4pm. For further information and details of how to make a booking, please visit

Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury, London, EC2V 7HH