Established in 1716 on the death of Dr Daniel Williams, the Trust’s original purpose was to assist in the provision of an educated Protestant Dissenting Ministry, for which aim Dr Williams also bequeathed his personal library. He left instructions for his trustees to house his collection as a public library and to make it available to nonconformist ministers, tutors and students in the City of London.
In 1889 the Trustees acquired University Hall in Gordon Square, London, where the Library opened in 1890. The Library is still administered by an independent Trust and receives no government or outside funding.
In recent times, Dr Williams’s Library has become the more prominent part of the Trust’s work and houses a significant and distinguished collection of books and artefacts relating to Protestant nonconformity.
In 1982 the Congregational Memorial Hall Trustees decided to transfer the management of the Congregational Library to Dr Williams’s Trust and the books and manuscripts were transferred to Gordon Square.
However following the closure of Dr Williams’s Library for refurbishment, the Memorial Hall Trustees decided not to renew the management agreement with Dr Williams’s Library. The Congregational Library collections and archives are presently in storage. Details of arrangements for access to the collections will be made available as soon as possible.