Arts Council England Designated Outstanding Collection Logo

The Linnean Society of London is the world’s oldest biological society and has in its care several important collections, including those of the Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus, and the Society’s founder, Sir James Edward Smith.

Designated a collection of outstanding national importance by the Arts Council England in 2014, the holdings of the Linnean Society (which include library, archive and biological material) provide an unsurpassed resource for the study of natural history.

Library Closed (Friday, August 19)

We regret that due to industrial action taking place on the London Underground, the library will close to the public on Friday, August 19. We hope to maintain a normal service on the previous day (August 18), albeit with a reduced staff due to industrial action on the national rail network.

We would like to thank all our readers for their patience and understanding throughout these disruptions.

Please note that in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we may need to revise our opening hours at short notice. Please check these pages for the latest information

The Library and Archives opening times are TuesdaysFridays, 10am–5pm.

If you would like to make an appointment, please email To ensure your visit is Covid-secure, and allow adequate time to retrieve material, we ask that appointments are made at least 48 hours in advance. All visitors to the Library will be asked to follow the Society’s ongoing Covid-mitigation guidelines (available here).

Visits to our biological collections must be overseen by our honorary curators, who work at other institutions. If you wish to arrange such a visit, please contact the Collections team at least a fortnight in advance.