The British Library

British Library

The British Library re-located to new premises near St Pancras Station, Euston Road in 1997. The building is an expansive state of the art premises utilising hi-tech book storage and retrieval systems. It also offers free seating and Wi-Fi for around 300 people – many are students, but you’ll be very welcome. No special pass is necessary to take a seat and log on at this quiet place to work in London.

Whist you are at the British Library visit the exhibitions and see some of the treasures permanently on view to the public, such as one of the four original copies of the Magna Carta (1215) and the Gutenberg Bible (1455); probably the most famous Bible in the world.

The British Library is the largest library in the world, measured by number of items (170 million items occupying 10 kilometres of shelf space!). The library receives copies of all books produced in the United Kingdom and Ireland (a legal deposit obligation stretching back to 1610).

Until 1997 the British Library was based at the British Museum. The old Reading Room is still the centrepiece in the Great Court of the British Museum.

The core of the library’s historical collections is based on a series of donations and acquisitions from the 18th century, known as the ‘foundation collections’. These include the books and manuscripts of King George III and Sir Hans Sloane – as well as the Old Royal Library donated by King George II. (A six-storey glass tower ‘statement’ at the centre of the library contains the collection of King George III.  The building was Grade I listed in 2015).  A quiet place to work in London among the modern architecture.

The British Library
The British Library Piazza and entrance

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