The Homeless Library

The first history of homelessness in Britain

Interviews, poems, artworks

The Homeless Library gathers the stories of homeless people, stories until now held in living memory, and lost when those who remember are gone.

It is a history told by contemporary homeless people — and also older people who witnessed or experienced homelessness from the 1930s onwards. Along with interviews, there are artworks and poems, the deep, emotional currents of these stories. Many people involved found that these discussions and making the artworks and poems were a transformative experience

“It’s put me back on the ladder to life,”  Danny.

Homeless people often die young. If you live on the street, your life expectancy is 48. This is fragile heritage and the books themselves are delicate. Each has been handmade, often recycled from secondhand, making the point that homeless people have been crowded out by other voices. The Library celebrates resourcefulness, bravery and tenacity – and the insights that those on the edge of society can bring to the heart.

The Homeless Library is supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund and partnered with The Booth Centre, The Wellspring, and Bury Art Museum. The Library debuts at The Houses of Parliament 23-27 May 2016 and will be on public exhibition at the Poetry Library, Southbank 9 July-18 September 2016.


An ebook featuring interviews, artwork, photos will be available when The Homeless Library launches at the Southbank, 9 July.