Search Thomas Layton’s book collection of over six thousand books.
Thomas Layton collected books, coins, and archaeological items (usually described as ‘antiquities’) for 70 years. In that time he had accumulated what has been described as “probably the largest collection of London antiquities ever amassed by a single individual”.
The vast majority of items are believed to have been bought at auctions. Some came to him from his men working on the river. His businesses provided opportunities for finds from dredging, building of bridges and embankments along the banks of the Thames, for which Layton paid good money. Even by the standards of the day Layton kept poor records of where items were found. Despite this, the collection is considered highly important particularly to archaeologists and pre-historians.
Layton’s Library Film
Discover some of the treasures in Layton’s book collection in our new film commissioned with the help of the Lottery Heritage Fund.
Layton’s Library Online Exhibition
Explore part of the extensive collection of over 8,000 books which still survive, with important works on almost every subject.
Layton’s collection includes important gardening books. Discover some of these here.
Sponsor a book
See the transformation of restored books and when you sponsor a book, how your contribution is commemorated.