The collection was independently compiled by schoolmaster and bookseller Aidan Mackey, one of the foremost Chesterton experts and among the only surviving individuals with connections to Chesterton’s family circle. An admirer of Chesterton since childhood, Mackey has made furthering the genius of Chesterton his life's mission.
As well as publishing numerous articles, reviews and a story book including Chesterton drawings entitled "Mr. Chesterton Comes to Tea", Mackey also spent many decades acquiring materials by and about Chesterton. His interest in the great author led him to become friends with Dorothy Collins, Chesterton's secretary and literary executor after his death in 1936. After her own death in the 1980s Mackey acquired many of Chesterton's own books. In the 1990's, the Collection grew again, when the British Library offered Mackey custody of a large quantity of Chesterton memorabilia.
For many years it was under the custodianship of Stratford Caldecott and Centre for Faith & Culture in Oxford (with support from the Chesterton Institute at Seton Hall and later the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts). The Trust was formed by Stratford Caldecott in 2008 with the object of safeguarding the collection and promoting "the study of G.K. Chesterton and other writers for the benefit of the public by activities related to the establishment and maintenance in England of a suitably equipped research library". In 2013, the collection moved to the Oxford Oratory library building.
The early influence of Stratford Caldecott was instrumental in Mackey's building of the collection and the efforts of Rev. Jerome Bertram and Dr. William Griffiths in housing it at the Oxford Oratory have also been significant.
The Trustees see this move to Notre Dame's London Global Gateway as the best way to further these aims and provide a safe and fruitful setting for the Collection in Chesterton's home country. Mackey is delighted about the move. "To watch as the trustees and Notre Dame have arranged the collection’s elevation to so prestigious a home as the London Global Gateway is, for me, warming beyond measure,” he said.