Victorian London - Education - Libraries - Sion College 

Sion College, London Wall, was founded on the site of Elsynge Spital, in the year 1623, by the Rev. Dr. Thomas White, rector of St. Dunstan's in the West, for the general improvement of the London clergy. It is now held under two charters of incorporation, granted by Charles I. and James II. The whole body of rectors and vicars within the City are fellows of this college; and all the clergy in and near the metropolis may have free access to its very extensive and valuable library. The edifice is plain and neat, consisting of brick buildings, surrounding a square court; and under the library are almshouses for twenty poor persons.

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

SION COLLEGE, LONDON WALL. A College, Almshouse and Library, founded 1623; the college and almshouses pursuant to the will of Dr. Thomas White, vicar of St. Dunstan's-in-the-West, and the Library by the Rev. John Simson, rector of St. Olave's, Hart-street, and one of the executors of Dr. White. ... The Library of 40,000 volumes is chiefly theological, and is open to respectable persons of all classes - who have any particular object of enquiry in view - though the primary object of the founder was the formation of a Library for the clergymen of the city of London belonging to the Established Church.

Peter Cunningham, Hand-Book of London, 1850

SION COLLEGE, London Wall, is built on the site of the Priory of Elsinge Spital, and consists of a college for the clergy of London, and almshouses for twenty poor persons, founded 1623, by the will of Dr. Thomas White, vicar of St. Dunstan's-inthe-West; to which one of his executors, the Rev. John Simson, rector of St. Olave's, Hart-street, added a library. "Here," says Defoe, "expectants may lodge till they are provided with houses in the several parishes in which they serve cure ;" and the Fellows of the College are time incumbents of parishes within time City and Liberties of London. The library is their property: a third of the books was destroyed in the Great Fire, which consumed great part of the College. The collection contains snore than 50,000 volumes, mostly theological, among which are time Jesuits' books seized in 1679. By the Copyright Act, 8 Anne c. 19, time library received a gratuitous copy of every published work till 1836, when this privilege was commuted for a Treasury grant of 3631. a year, now its chief maintenance. It is open to the clergy of time diocese and their friends, and to the public by aim order from one of time Fellows; but books are not allowed to be taken out, except by Fellows. Here are several pictures, including a costume-portrait of Mrs. James, a citizen's wife in the reign of William and Mary.

John Timbs, Curiosities of London, 1867