Victorian London - Education - Libraries and Reading Rooms - Circulating libraries

LIBRARIES. The reading portion of the public who, if blessed with libraries, are upon a temporary visit to the metropolis, necessarily constrained to forego their enjoyment, may with the more numerous, but less fortunate class be fully gratified by a resort to either of the subjoined, amply supplied book establishments, where works by the month, week, or day, may be obtained at a very moderate charge these libraries being based upon a system that, while it advances the interests of the proprietors, mainly contributes to the comfort and convenience of all temporary sojourners in London. They are as follows: - Andrews's, Bond Street;  Booth, Duke Street, Portland Place; Bull, Holles Street, Cavendish Square; Cawthorn, Cockspur Street; Lowe, Lamb's Conduit Street; Cook and Ollivier, Pall Mall; Cotes, Cheapside; Churton, Holles Street, Cavendish Square; Cresswell, Crawford Street; Ebers, Bond Street; Hookham, Bond Street; Hodgson, Great Marylebone Street; Hebert, Cheapside; Loyd, Harley Street; Mitchell, Bond Street ; McClary, St. James's Street; Paine, High Street, Marylebone; Sams, St. James's Street; Seguin, Regent Street; Saunders and Ottley, Conduit Street; Spencer, Holborn; Swails, Great Russell Street; Wright, Crawford Street.

Mogg's New Picture of London and Visitor's Guide to it Sights, 1844

MUDIE' S.

FOR a number of years past, the name which stands at the head of this article has been growing more and more widely diffused, and more and more familiar in the mouths of the reading public. It greets us now, whichever way we turn--within doors and without, at our firesides in winter, at the tables of our friendly hosts when we visit, in our country trips and excursions, and on summer sea-side rambles. It is a part of the nomenclature of our domestic circles at all seasons, and whenever we hear it mentioned it is associated with some agreeable recollection or pleasant anticipation. Not a few of us, probably, have ceased to connect it with any idea of an individual ; it is rather to us the representative of an inexhaustible store of recreative literature -- a never-failing quarry of entertainment and information of all kinds, ever available for our use.
    We call to remembrance a very different state of things as regards books, in the domain of home, and the domestic appreciation of them; for we have recollections, dating very far back, of the old- fashioned circulating libraries of the days when the romance, gory and ghostly, and the novel, too often indecent and immoral, formed the principal if not the sole stock of the proprietors. These were clad in one stereotyped uniform of marbled paper covers ; and although they were constantly circulating, they may be said, so far as the more staid and sober part of the community meddled with them, to have circulated rather surreptitiously than openly. Even if the fashionable fair one read novels, she did not always care to make a boast of so doing ; if she pulled the check-string and drew up at the library for them, it was perhaps with the ostensible purpose of purchasing stationary, or even of giving orders for a new dress; for the marble-papered volumes were sometimes seen in those days ranged on the shelves of the mantua- maker, and Miss Gopher, who dabbled quite as much in sentiment as she did in quilted satin, was a distinguished judge of the merits of fashionable authors as well as of fashions. The capacious muff of those days was a convenient receptacle for three delicious volumes; and we have known them to be sent home in a parcel purporting to contain stuffs and bombazines. Frequently my lady's Abigail was the medium of transport, and then there was no attempt at disguising facts, as she would be pretty sure to dip into them, and pounce upon the tender passages, as she carried them through the streets.
    It was in those days that reading first became a passion with us ; and we remember well that the marble-covered books were expressly and most strictly forbidden—and not without reason, though we were sometimes guilty of transgressions against the parental law. With shame now we remember the contrivances to smuggle the contraband literature indoors. Once within the house, by hook or by crook, we had to lug it off secretly to some garret or lumber-room, there to "snatch a fearful joy" in devouring it alone. Thanks to an improved moral tone in our popular writers, the youth of our time have less temptation to practise such evasions. The supervision which their forefathers often exercised in vain, has become far less necessary than it was in their time; partly because the critical censors of the present day are less tolerant of immoral and questionable productions than their predecessors were, but chiefly because the public, which is the arbiter of a writer's reputation and fortune, will resent in an emphatic way any marked laxity in morals or breach of the social proprieties. It is, in fact, owing to the  improved common sentiment of the paying classes of the people, that, while books have multiplied so amazingly within the last two or three decades, they have become to so large a degree the instruments of good and not of evil not, however, but what there is still abundant room for improvement in this respect.
    Standing in front of Mudies counter, in that huge intellectual repository, (which, by the way, con- fronts its material antithesis, the grandiose slop emporium of Messrs. Moses,) one sees something of the operation of the great circulating system of which this is the centre, and something too which is very different from the experiences of those old days in the same walk. It is not madame, with her capacious and convenient muff, or the tripping Abigail in second-hand finery, who summons with a tap-tap on the counter the spectacled bibliopole from the back parlour, and whispers a solicitation for the third volume of the "Mystery of the Haunted Dell ;" but it is all the world and all the world's wife, in want of everything worth reading that has been published for these seven years past, keeping the swivelled doors in a perpetual swing, and a dozen or two of ministrant Mercuries perpetually on the alert. Books of all dimensions and hues are raining in and rippling out under a system of registration, by means of little scraps of paper hurriedly written, which are the vouchers for delivery. The applicants are the young and the old—the well-dressed and the "seedy"—the clergyman, the student, the author, the critic—forming a large section of the ever-reading and seldom-purchasing public. Then there are the representatives of May Fair and Belgravia, in the shape of a file of tall footmen, each with a whole shelf of mauve and magenta-coloured volumes, for which each expects and intends to carry away the change in a corresponding number of new ones, the list of which he has brought with him. Subscribers, or their messengers, who have trudged a long distance, are resting on the benches and looking on until their turn comes. Others, who have not made up their mind what to read next, are poring over the catalogue, and endeavouring to come to a decision. Meanwhile, the business does not slacken ; books come in and go out as fast as ever ; carriages draw up at the door, and gentle-folks alight to execute their own commissions and chose for themselves. It seems odd, amidst such a continuous influx of counter business, to hear no jingling of cash ; but that is a sound which one has no objection to miss.
    After all, this continuous influx and reflux over the counter gives but an imperfect and probably inadequate notion of the extent of the circulation radiating from this point. Much of the business is done by correspondence instead of personal application ; thousands of the books travel by rail, and cargoes are daily delivered in the suburbs of the metropolis by flying carts. Then there are the suburban agencies, where the well-known yellow label figures in the window, and invites you to the perusal of a new work almost before the newspapers have made you aware of its publication.
    The subscribers to Mudie's are not merely individuals, reading for pleasure or profit ; they are families ; they are friendly co-operating coteries, who combine together to pay the subscription, and pass on the books from one to another ; they are societies for mutual instruction ; they are publishers distributing the books among their compilers and editors ; they are institutes, reading-rooms, book-clubs, business-clubs, and social•clubs ; they are bankers subscribing for the benefit of their clerks, and they are heads of establishments concerned in the intellectual advancement of their " hands" and employees. Looking to the nature of the reading appetite, and recognising what a devouring element it is, we may be sure that when demands of such a multitudinous kind have to be met, it is not a limited selection from the literature of the country that will satisfy them ; and the difficulty must be with the man who caters for all classes of readers, and who is expected to provide nearly everything that issues from the press -- not what he shall choose, so much as what, for the sake of the general well-being, he shall reject. When Perthes, the famous Hamburg patriot and book-seller, first began business, he formed a resolution, which he never allowed to be shaken, that he would for no consideration be the instrument of producing or of circulating a work of questionable tendency. Whether Mr. Mudie has adopted any similar resolution we do not pretend to know ; but it would appear, from a late discussion in the literary organs of the day, that he has had the temerity to exercise some sort of supervision over the works he circulates, and, for reasons which we should be the last to impeach, has declined to place certain volumes upon his shelves. We cannot see that this affords to any man a just ground of com- plaint. A librarian, like any other tradesman, has a right to deal in what wares he chooses, and, if he have extraordinary facilities for disseminating them, is not only justified in making such a use of his facilities as shall be concordant with his own sense of right, but is morally bound so to do : he would not be an honest man if he did otherwise. It is open to objectors to such a course, to organize machinery for the dissemination of their own opinions and principles, if they choose : if they are  wronged, the public will assuredly set them right. But we have no desire to enter the arena in this battle of the books.
    Of the number of volumes which form the floating stock of this everybody's library, we can form not even an approximate idea, much less of the numbers annually passing from hand to hand. Some notion, however, of the amount of business may be gathered from the fact that frequently a large edition of a popular work is required for the use of this house alone. Sometimes as many as from two to three thousand copies have not been more than sufficient to meet the demand ; and even of works quite ephemeral in their character, hundreds of copies often have to be purchased.
    To meet the requirements of the increasing business, a large hall has lately been added to the premises, and appropriated to exclusively business purposes. It is an elegant structure in the Ionic style of architecture, affording space for some fifteen to twenty thousand volumes on the shelves, which run round the walls and galleries above.
    It is not easy to estimate at once the influence and effects of such an establishment as this. Perhaps no mere business speculation ever before produced results so pervading and so generally agree- able. After having Mudie in the house for the last ten years—often the last guest at night, and frequently the first in the morning---by the fireside in winter, by the open garden window and under the talking foliage in summer ; after travelling with him abroad, and sulking with him at home after reading hundreds of volumes which, but for him, we should never have had the chance of reading at all—we sometimes ask ourselves what we should do without him? Really we don't know; one thing we must do—we must make more use of that Museum Reading-room ticket which has grown almost mouldy in our pocket ; for we should not be able to transport the advantages of the Museum to our armchair at home.  

The Leisure Hour, 1861

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Libraries (Circulating). —The two principal circulating libraries for ordinary light literature, are W. H. SMITH and SON’S, Strand, with depots for exchange of Books at all their Railway Bookstalls, and MUDIE’S, Oxford-street. Terms for W. H. Smith and Son’s :— 1. Subscribers can only change their books at the depot where their names are registered. A Subscriber may exchange once a day; the Clerk in charge will obtain from London any work in the Library which a Subscriber may desire to have. Novels exchanged only in unbroken and complete Sets. London Subscribers transferring their Subscriptions to a country depot, will be entitled only to the number of volumes which the country terms assign to the amount they subscribe; similarly, Country Subscriptions transferred to Town become subject to the London regulations. Terms —
I. For Subscribers obtaining their Books from a London Terminus, or 186, Strand: 

 

Six Months

Twelve Months

1 Vol. at a time

£0 12s 0

£1 1s 0

2 Vols. at a time

£0 17s 6

£1 11s 0

4 Vol. at a time

£1 3s 0

£2 2s 0

8 Vols. at a time

£1 15s 0

£3 3s 0

15 Vols. at a time

£3 0s 0

£5 5s 0

II. From a Country Bookstall

 

Six Months

Twelve Months

1 Vol. at a time

£0 12s 0

£1 1s 0

2 Vols. at a time

£0 17s 6

£1 11s 0

3 Vol. at a time

£1 3s 0

£2 2s 6

4 Vols. at a time

£1 8s 0

£2 10s 0

6 Vols. at a time

£1 15s 0

£3 3s 0

12 Vols. at a time

£3 0s 0

£5 5s 0

MUDIE’S LIBRARY, 509, 510, and 511. New Oxford-street. Terms of Subscription for Subscribers obtaining their books from the Town Offices—Class A (All Books in the Library)

 

Three Months

Six Months

Twelve Months

1 Vol. at a time

£0 7s 0

£0 12s 0

£1 1s 0

2 Vols. at a time

£0 10s 6

£0 18s 0

£1 11s 6

4 Vol. at a time

£0 14s 0

£1 4s 0

£2 2s 0

6 Vols. at a time

£1 1s 0

£1 16s 0

£3 3s 0

8 Vols. at a time

£1 8s 0

£2 8s 0

£4 4s 0

10 Vols. at a time

£1 15s 0

£3 0s 0

£5 5s 0

2 Vols. for each additional Guinea per annum

Class B (Books of Past Seasons)

 

Twelve Months

1 Vol.

£0 10s 6

2 Vols.

£1 1s 0

City Office, 2, King-st, Cheapside. A supply of Books, consisting chiefly of Popular Works available for the immediate use of Subscribers, always kept in reserve and replenished from day to day. When the Books desired are not in stock, they are obtained from the Head Office with as little delay as possible.

 

Three Months

Six Months

Twelve Months

1 Vol. at a time

£0 7s 6

£0 12s 6

£1 1s 0

2 Vols. at a time

£0 11 0

£0 19s 0

£1 11s 6

3 Vol. at a time

£0 15s 0

£1 5s 0

£2 2s 0

6 Vols. at a time

£1 1s 0

£1 18s 0

£3 3s 0

2 Vols. for each additional Guinea per Annum.

Only one exchange a day allowed on Subscription. The leading Reviews may be obtained as volumes, but only one current Periodical allowed at a time.
The London Book Society for the weekly delivery of Books in London and the Suburbs:

 

Three Months

Six Months

Twelve Months

3 Vols. at a time

£0 15s 0

£1 5s 0

£2 2s 0

6 Vols. at a time

£1 1s 0

£1 18s 0

£3 3s 0

2 Vols. for each additional Guinea

For more substantial works, the LONDON LIBRARY, St. James’s square. Subscription, payable annually in advance, £2. Entrance £6, or £3 annually without Entrance Fee. Members may commute their Annual Subscriptions by payment of £20, or £26. Persons who wish to become Subscribers must send their names to the Librarian, to be submitted to the Committee. Members residing within 10 miles of the General Post Office, London, shall he entitled to take out ten volumes; and Members residing at a greater distance, fifteen at a time ; to be exchanged as often as required. Members desirous of taking out more may, upon payment of an increased subscription, claim an additional number of volumes of old works, or one extra copy of any new work in the Library for every additional pound per annum. The time allowed for the perusal of New Books (ie. books published within the last two years) is fourteen days, to be reckoned from the day of issue, without reference to any summons for the return of the Book.
LONDON INSTITUTION, Finsbury-circus, E.C.—The board of management of this institution are now issuing 300 annual subscribers’ tickets at the present price of £2 12s. 6d. each, giving personal admission for one year from the day of purchase to all lectures, or £2 2s. without lectures, to the use of the circulating library and to read in the reference library and reading-rooms. Lectures are given twice a week (on Mondays at 5 p.m., and Thursdays at 7 p.m.) during four months of the year by men of distinction on science, art, and literature. The circulating library (open 10 a.m. till 9 p.m.— Saturday, 3 p.m.) consists of nearly 4,000 volumes, in all departments, supplemented by an annual subscription of £200 to Messrs. W. H. Smith and Son’s for general literature, and special subscriptions to Messrs. Lewis and Son for scientific books, Mr. Rolandi for foreign books, and Messrs. Augener for musical publications. Each proprietor or annual subscriber may borrow five volumes (one of which must be a magazine or volume of magazines), which he may exchange as frequently as he likes. The reference library (open 10 am. till 9 p.m.—Saturday, 3 p.m.) contains about 60,000 volumes, arranged according to subjects. The best new books are added every month, and Parliamentary papers are taken in and may be consulted without difficulty. Intending annual subscribers are provisionally admitted at once to all privileges on deposit of £2 12s. 6d., are nominated at the next monthly meeting of the board, and balloted for at the second monthly meeting. All letters should be addressed “Principal Librarian, London Institution, Finsbury. circus, E.C.” Personal application may be made in the library between 10 am, and 9 pm. (Saturdays, 3 p.m.).
There are also several smaller libraries, which themselves subscribe to one or other of the large establishments, re-lending the books to their own subscribers.

Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879

LIBRARIES (CIRCULATING).

The principal circulating libraries for general literature, especially the more recently published works, are -W. H. SMITH AND SONS'S, 186, Strand; chief London exchange office Kingsway, W.C.; MUDIE'S, 30 to 34 New Oxford-st. Terms for W. H. Smith and Son's, payable in advance at any of the branches or the head office:-
    FOR EXCHANGING AT A LONDON BRANCH OR HEAD OFFICE.
    Class A.-The newest and all books in circulation

 

Six Months

Twelve Months

One vol.

£0 12s 0

£1 1s 0

Two vols.

£0 17s 6

£1 11s 0

Four vols.

£1 3s 0

£2 2s 0

Eight vols.

£1 15s 0

£3 3s 0

Fifteen vols.

£3 0s 0

£5 5s 0

    For these terms, also, books can be exchanged by post, rail, or any other available means desired from the Head Office to any part of the United Kingdom. A deposit, for cost of postage forward, is required for this. The expense of carriage and postage to and from is home by the subscriber.
    FOR DELIVERY AND COLLECTION (WEEKLY) TO AND FROM SUBSCRIBERS' RESIDENCES IN LONDON - Class A.-The newest and all books in circulation. 

 

Six Months

Twelve Months

Three vols. £1 3s 0 £2 2s 0
Six vols. £1 15s 0 £3 3s 0
Twelve vols. £3 0s 0 £5 5s 0
For every additional 3 vols. £0 12s 6 £1 1s 0

    PROVINCIAL BRANCHES - FOR EXCHANGING AT ANY OF THE SUBURBAN AND COUNTRY DEPOTS - Class A-The newest and ill books in circulation.

 

Six Months

Twelve Months

One vol.

£0 12s 0 £1 1s 0
Two vols. £0 17s 6 £1 11s 6
Three vols. £1 3s 0 £2 2s 0
Four vols. £1 8s 0 £2 10s 0
Six vols. £1 15s 0 £3 3s 0
Twelve vols. £3 0s 0 £5 5s 0

    SPECIAL TRAVELLING SUBSCRIPTIONS - Entitling subscribers to exchange at any depot without previous notice.

 

Six Months

Twelve Months

One vol.

£0 17s 6

£1 10s 0

Two vols.

£1 3s 0

£2 2s 0

Three vols.

£1 8s 6

£2 12s 6

The following are the addresses of bookstalls and bookshops London at which subscriptions can be paid and books obtained:-
     Brompton-rd Railway Station 
    Brondesbury, 352, High-rd. 
    Camden Town, Tube Station. 
    Cannon-st Railway Station.
    Chalk Farm, 168, Regents-pk rd, N.W.
    Charing +, Railway Station.
    Dover-st, Piccadilly.
    Down-st Tube Station.
    Earl's Court Railway Station
    Earl's Court, 166, Earls-ct-rd
    Fenchurch-st Railway Station
    Finsbury-pk Railway Station
    Finsbury-pk City Electric Railway Station.
    Golder's Green Tube Station
    Hampstead, 483, Finchley-rd
    Hampstead, 12, Swiss-ter, N W
    Hampstead Heath, 34, Rosslyn- hill.
    17, Hanover-st, W.
    Holborn Viaduct Railway Station
    Hyde-pk-corner Tube Station.
    King's Cross Railway Station.
    Kensington, Addison-rd, 4, Russsel-gdns.
    Kilburn, 103, High-rd.
    Kingsway, W.C.
    Liverpool-st Railway Station.
    London-br, L.B & S.C. Ry Statn.
    London-br, S.E. Railway Station.
    London-br, S. London Ry. Stat.
    Ludgate-hill Railway Station.
    Mansion House Railway Station.
    Marylebone Railway Station.
    Moorgate-st G.N. & C.R. Station.
    Mornington-cres. Tube Station.
    Monument Railway Station.
    Paddington, 19, Craven-rd, W.
    Salisbury House, London Wall, E.C.
    South Kensington Tube Station.
    St. Pancras Railway Station.
    St. Paul's Railway Station.
    Sloane-sq, No. 36.
    Tufnell-pk Railway Station.
    Uxbridge-rd, 161, Holland-rd, W.
    Victoria B. & S.C. Railway Statn.
    Victoria S.E. & C. Railway Statn.
    Waterloo-rd Railway Station.
    Waterloo-rd Loop Line Railway Station.
    Waterloo-rd South Railway Stat.
    West Kensington Railway Station.
    Willesden Green, 76, Walm-la.
    With 800 branches throughout England and Wales.

MUDIE'S SELECT LIBRARY, 30 to 34, Oxford-st, is probably the oldest institution of its kind in the world, being started in 1842 by Mr. C. K. Mudie. It claims to be to-day the largest, best equipped and most widely-known lending library in existence, and notes that it has in addition to current publications an unrivalled collection of standard works, accumulated over sixty years. Classified catalogues are issued at the beginning of each year, one of English and the other of foreign books, 1s. 6d. each, or 2s. 6d. the two. Supplementary lists are issued monthly, free to subscribers. It is probable that the advantage of getting the latest modern books of fiction is a great branch of all libraries' business, and certainly of Messrs. Mudies. The yellow label has been known now for generations. Terms for subscribers obtaining their books from the chief offices, i.e. 30 to 34, Oxford-st; 48, Queen Victoria-st, E.C., 241, Brompton-rd, exchanging as often as they like:

 

Three Months

Six Months

Twelve Months

1 vol.

£0 7s 0

£0 12s 0

£1 1s 0

2 vols.

£0 10s 6

£0 18s 0

£1 11s 6

3 "

£0 12s 0

£1 1s 0

£1 17s 0

4 "

£0 14s 0

£1 4s 0

£2 2s 0

8 "

£1 8s 0

£2 8s 0

£4 4s 0

10 "

£1 15s 0

£3 0s 0

£5 5s 0

    Books are delivered once a week in the suburbs at an additional fee to the above, and arrangements are made by which provincial subscribers may have them forwarded by rail as often as required.
   
For more substantial works the LONDON LIBRARY, 14, St. James's-sq, SW. Annual subscription, £3. Those who wish to become subscribers must send their names to the librarian, to be submitted to the committee. Members residing within 10 miles of the General Post Office, London, are entitled to take out ten volumes; and members residing at a greater distance, fifteen at a time; to be exchanged as often as required. Members desirous of taking out more may upon payment of an increased subscription, claim an additional number of volumes of old works, or one extra copy of any new work in the library for every additional pound per annum. The time allowed for the perusal of new books (i.e. books published within the last two years) is fourteen days, to be reckoned from the day of issue, without reference to any summons for the return of the book. Older books are allowed to be kept two months.
    LONDON INSTITUTION, Finsbury-cir E.C.-The London Institution "for the advancement of literature and the diffusion of useful knowledge" is an association of 950 proprietors, incorporated by royal charter, and extending their advantages to subscribers. No pecuniary profit accrues to the proprietors or any other persons concerned in its management. Subscribers pay £3 3s., £2 12s. 6d. or £2 2s. a year, according as they do or do not wish to attend the lectures. The circulating library consists of nearly 70,000 volumes, and is -supplemented by large subscriptions to trade circulating libraries, general, foreign, scientific, and musical. There are excellent reading-rooms for books, periodicals, and newspapers. The lectures are given twice a week (on Mon. at 5 p.m. and Thur. at 6 p.m.) during four winter months, by men of distinction in science, art, and literature. All letters should be addressed Secretary, London institution, Finsbury-cir, E.C. Personal application may be made in the library between 10 am. and 7 p.m. (Sat. 3 p.m.).
    LEWIS'S MEDICAL AND SCIENTIFIC LIBRARY, 136, Gower-st, W.C., established 1852, Contains about 10,000 volumes of works in medical literature, general science, etc., and new books and new editions are added as soon as published. Books may be kept as long or changed as often as desired. Library hours, 9 am. to 6 p.m.; Sat., 2 p.m.
    TERMS. For subscribers in town and country (the year Commencing at any date):

Per Ann.
£ s d
1 Vol. at a time 1 1 0
2 Vols. " 1 10 0
4 " 2 2 0
7 " 3 3 0
14 " 5 5 0
20 " 7 7 0
30" 10 10 0
3 Vols. for every additional guinea

Prospectus of the library post free. Catalogue of the library, 2s. to subscribers; non-subscribers, 5s.
    MITCHELL'S ROYAL LIBRARY, Ltd., 33, Old Bond-st. Subs. from 15s. per quarter.
    ROLAND'S FOREIGN SUBSCRIPTION LIBRARY, 20, Berners-st.- Exclusively for the circulation of foreign works.
    TERMS OF SUBSCRIPTION. 
    Commencing at any dale, and including books in the French, German, Italian, and Spanish languages:

One Year £2 2 0
Six Months £1 2 6
Three Months £0 12 0
One month £0 4 6
A Yearly subscription entitling to 1 work at a time £1 1 0

Library hours 9 am, to 6 p.m. Close on Saturdays at 2 p.m. 1. Yearly and half-yearly subscribers are entitled to 6 vols. at a time in town, or to 12 in the Country. 2. A guinea yearly subscription entitles to one work at a time. 3. Quarterly subscribers are entitled to two works at a - time in town, or to four in the country. 4. Monthly subscriters are entitled to one work at a time in town, or to two in the country. 5. Double subscriptions may he entered, allowing an increased number of books. 6. Expenses incurred for carriage porterage, booking, etc., are charged to the account of the subscriber.
    AUGENER & CO.'s UNIVERSAL CIRCULATING MUSICAL LIBRARY, - 6, New Burlington-st, W.- Established in 1853, now forms the largest and most valuable musical library in the world, Consisting of over 100,00 distinct works and embraces all the works of every eminent composer, both English and foreign. New compositions of merit and general interest, published in England or abroad, are from time to time added to the library. Subscribers, at the expiration of their subscription, are entitled to select from the works published by Messrs. Augener & Co., music to the extent of one-half of the amount of their subscriptions, at full price.
    TERMS OP SUBSCRIPTION.

Per Annum £2 2 0
Per Half-Year £1 8 0
Per Quarter £0 16 0
Per Month £0 8 0
Including the above mentioned presentation

Town subscribers are supplied with £2 2s. worth of music at a time, which may be exchanged once a week; country subscribers with £4 4s. worth of music at a time, which may be exchanged every month; or £6 6s. worth of music, which may be exchanged every two or three months. Subscribers buying music will enjoy the usual discount. The presentation music must be taken out at the end of every subscription.

Charles Dickens Jr. et al, Dickens Dictionary of London, c.1908 edition
(no date; based on internal evidence)