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Britain’s richest man Sir Leonard Blavatnik donates £7.5m to save the Honresfield Library Collection


Britain’s richest man donates £7.5 million to stop collection of literary treasures – which includes notebooks from the Bronte sisters and letters by Jane Austen – from being sold across the world

  • Sir Leonard Blavatnik, 64, donates £7.5m to save Honresfield Library Collection 
  • The priceless collection includes notebooks from Bronte sisters, letters penned by Jane Austen and original manuscripts written by Sir Walter Scott 
  • Sir Leonard’s donation ensured texts would not be split up and sold globally 










Britain’s richest man has helped save a priceless collection of literary treasures which were at risk of being lost to the nation.

Billionaire Sir Leonard Blavatnik, 64, donated half of the £15million needed to buy the Honresfield Library Collection – which contains valuable manuscripts from some of the country’s greatest writers.

The private collection – which had been hidden for more than a century – includes notebooks from the Bronte sisters, letters from Jane Austen and original manuscripts by Sir Walter Scott. 

Sir Leonard’s £7.5million contribution – the largest ever given by an individual in Britain for a literary treasure – has prevented the texts from being split up and sold around the world.

Billionaire Sir Leonard Blavatnik, 64, donated half of the £15million needed to buy the Honresfield Library Collection – which contains valuable manuscripts from some of the country’s greatest writers

Billionaire Sir Leonard Blavatnik, 64, donated half of the £15million needed to buy the Honresfield Library Collection – which contains valuable manuscripts from some of the country’s greatest writers

The collection was due to go to auction in July but Sotheby’s agreed to halt the sale so that charity Friends of the National Libraries (FNL) could raise the funds needed to keep it in Britain

The collection was due to go to auction in July but Sotheby’s agreed to halt the sale so that charity Friends of the National Libraries (FNL) could raise the funds needed to keep it in Britain

Now after an ambitious fundraising effort – which included donations from Prince Charles and the National Heritage Memorial Fund – the charity has managed to buy the entire collection

Now after an ambitious fundraising effort – which included donations from Prince Charles and the National Heritage Memorial Fund – the charity has managed to buy the entire collection

The collection was due to go to auction in July but Sotheby’s agreed to halt the sale so that charity Friends of the National Libraries (FNL) could raise the funds needed to keep it in Britain.

Now after an ambitious fundraising effort – which included donations from Prince Charles and the National Heritage Memorial Fund – the charity has managed to buy the entire collection.

It paid tribute to the ‘extraordinary donation’ made by Sir Leonard, who is worth £23billion and whose music group WMG represents artists such as Rita Ora.

The private collection – which had been hidden for more than a century – includes notebooks from the Bronte sisters (pictured)

The private collection – which had been hidden for more than a century – includes notebooks from the Bronte sisters (pictured) 

Geordie Greig, former editor of the Daily Mail and chairman of the FNL, said: ‘Rescuing [the collection] has seemed a little like opening an Egyptian tomb… Thanks to FNL’s successful campaign the collection will be shared by libraries and writers’ houses all across our island, restoring a treasure trove of manuscripts to their birthplaces.’

Prince Charles, a patron of the charity, said the acquisition was ‘tremendous news’.

He added: ‘I can only congratulate the chairman, Geordie Greig, and his team for saving the Blavatnik Honresfield Library for the nation, with its treasures now to be owned by some of our greatest national libraries across the UK.’

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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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