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The Institution was established for educational purposes in an era of radical thinking in science, literature and the arts, known as The Enlightenment.

School group readingThis aim was further strengthened when the DEI became an Educational Charitable Trust in 1989.

Learning and Engagement is still the beating heart of the Institution today where the library is used for study and research on a daily basis.

We run a programme of educational activities, cultural events and lectures which is listed here and a bespoke service for schools and community groups.



“Thank you so much for today. The children have had a fantastic experience and have been buzzing about it all the way back to school  They absolutely loved the reading rooms and really wanted to be able to stay longer.

Thank you so much for all the work you put into the day; it really is appreciated, and we hope to make use of your fantastic resource again and again in the future.

You may well have inspired some new members today!”

Year 5 Teacher, March 2016


“It was great to explore the reading rooms and they have definitely left a lasting impression on the children.  We spent the next 2 literacy lessons producing diaries as if the children were exploring a new continent for the first time and this idea was completely based on your brilliant day.

Thank you so much again – what a great resource to have on our doorstep!  We really hope to visit again.”

Year 6 Teacher, March 2016