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020 7412 7332
Events Box Office
Visitor Information (fax)
020 7412 7340
The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom, and one of the world's greatest libraries. Set up in 1973, with galleries formerly in the British Museum building, it moved to its spectacular flagship new home at St Pancras in Central London in 1997.
The John Ritblat Gallery: Treasures of the British Library, PACCAR Gallery of Living Words and the Workshop of Words, Sound and Images offer permanent displays and a changing programme of special thematic exhibitions. We also have the best permanent display of stamps and philately in the world.
The King's Library, housed in a 17-metre glass-walled tower at the heart of the building, plus a number of major works of art, can be seen by all visitors. The Library also offers a wide programme of events, including talks, music and discussions, all developing themes and ideas associated with the collections.
Archive, Library, Gallery
Mon, Wed-Fri 0930-1800
Sun and English Public Holidays 1100-1700
Closed: 24 - 28 December
Closing at 17.00 23 and 29 - 31 December
FREE ENTRY to the Library
Major exhibitions are charged
Permanent Treasures Gallery FREE
The British Library is custodian of the most important research collection in the world, spanning almost 3,000 years and every continent. This covers books, journals, manuscripts, stamps, patents, sound recordings, printed music and maps.
The John Ritblat Gallery is home to a permanent exhibition of over 200 of the Library's most significant items. These include the Codex Sinaiticus (c. 350), Magna Carta (1215), the Gutenberg Bible (1455), and Shakespeare's First Folio (1623) as well as religious, literary, historical and musical works in the handwriting of Leonardo da Vinci, Lord Nelson, Lewis Carroll, Handel, Sir Paul McCartney and many others.
The award-winning Turning the Pages was developed by the Library and uses high quality digitised images to simulate actually turning the pages of a precious book. The PACCAR Gallery is home to temporary exhibitions. The Workshop of Words, Sound and Images is an interactive gallery which traces the story of book production and sound recording.
World Cultures, Social History, Science and Technology, Religion, Personalities, Music, Literature, Decorative and Applied Art, Archives
Poetry in Sound: The Music of Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)
Benjamin Britten is often described as the greatest English composer since Purcell. His compositional output spans almost every musical genre, from opera to string quartets to solo songs. Instantly recognisable, his music is imbued with the spirit of his time and place, yet it transcends cultural and geographical boundaries. This exhibition explores the poetic and literary influences on his distinctive musical sound world, including his creative collaboration with W.H. Auden and his settings of texts by such authors as William Blake, Wilfred Owen, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and William Shakespeare. Alongside the manuscripts of some of Britten’s most celebrated compositions, the exhibition will feature photographs, concert programmes, and hitherto unpublished recordings of his music.
Propaganda: Power and Persuasion
Propaganda: Power and Persuasion is the first exhibition to explore international state propaganda from the 20th and 21st centuries. From the eye-opening to the mind-boggling, from the beautiful to the surprising, posters, films, cartoons, sounds and texts reveal the myriad ways that states try to influence and persuade their citizens.
Over 60s: £7
Other concessions: £5
Under 18s: Free
More than making: grow your creative business
Many creative businesses are very small. How do you grow a creative one-person business? At this event, organised by The Design Trust, three experts will talk and discuss business growth models and income streams to take your business beyond making and designing your own products.
Creative entrepreneur and educator Paul Sturrock will give an introduction to creative business models, to grow your business and possibly to attract investors.
Business adviser, coach and mentor Yvonne Fuchs will talk specifically about branding, licensing and royalties. She will explain how they work, with the use of many case studies from her 20 year career.
Successful designer Ella Doran will be sharing her own story of how she has grown her own business over the last 20 years.
After these individual talks there will be a panel discussion and Q&A chaired by Patricia van den Akker, Director of The Design Trust.
This event is aimed at design and craft businesses with a minimum turnover of £50,000, and is not suitable for start-ups.
For more information and to book your free place, please see: http://bit.ly/12pSb8j
- Any age
Propaganda and Politics in the Modern Age
In association with The New Statesman as part of a series of events marking its centenary year.
£7.50 / £5 concessions
Picturing Propaganda: A Study Day
Effective propaganda relies as much on images as it does on words. This study day will bring together curators and researchers to explore the role that visual communication plays in influencing ideas and changing behaviour. Speakers will draw on the Library's collections of posters, pamphlets and ephemera, alongside films from the British Film Institute (BFI). Entry to the exhibition is included in the price. In collaboration with the BFI. The British Library collection includes paintings featured on the Your Paintings website.
- Any age
- Family friendly
Digital Theatre Screening: A Doll's House
Join us for a screening of the Young Vic's compelling production of Ibsen's masterpiece, A Doll's House, adapted by Simon Stephens and starring Hattie Morahan and Dominic Rowan. This event celebrates the addition of the Digital Theatre archive to our wonderful drama collections.
In partnership with Digital Theatre - Digital Theatre works with Britain's leading theatre companies to capture live performance authentically onscreen.
- Any age
Late at the Library: The Party Rules
Performing live on the night are band-of-the moment Public Service Broadcasting, who mix information films, archive propaganda and wartime broadcasts with guitar, drums and electronica to create thrillingly melodic soundscapes backed by spellbinding visuals.
Hot Chip are one of Britain’s most acclaimed electro-dance acts, and three of the band take time out from extensive international touring to bring us an extended eclectic DJ set featuring everything from minimal techno to classic pop.
Former British Library Artist in Residence, entertainment expert, and Olivier award-winner Christopher Green, together with his 'Party Police', will use a variety of propaganda techniques to ensure you have a good time. Using the same experiential theatre techniques that made his show Office Party such a hit, this will be night to remember.
Film Screening: Eisenstein's Strike
This special screening includes an introduction by Ian Christie, Professor of Film and Media History at Birkbeck College and live music from the Cabinet of Living Cinema.
In collaboration with the BFI
£7.50 / £5 concessions
Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Recipe for Success
Our Inspiring Entrepreneurs series of events in partnership with Barclays gives you the chance to hear from, and put your questions to, high-profile entrepreneurs and business leaders who will share the secrets of their success and inspire you to take the next step.
Join us and the UK's top entrepreneurs to learn their recipe for success in the food business. Restaurants, cafes, bars and food retail are all fantastic opportunities but with so much competition, staying ahead of the game and your competitors is essential.
Whatever industry you're in, our expert panel will give you the secret ingredient to business success.
Moderated by Real Business editor, Matthew Rock.
The Art and Business of Persuasion
Advertising legend Trevor Beattie, whose campaigns brought us ‘Hello Boys’ and ‘fcuk’ joins 'PR guru' Mark Borkowski, author of Improperganda and The Fame Formula, for a revealing conversation on how to make an impact in the fast-moving worlds of media and business.
Chaired by Carla Buzasi, Editor in Chief of The Huffington Post UK
£7.50 / £5 concessions
Enjoy a vibrant programme of free book launches, readings, discussions, performances, family activities and a book fair, showcasing the best established and rising literary talent from Africa and the diaspora.
This event is part of Africa Writes, a celebration of contemporary African literature from across the continent and the diaspora in association with the Royal African Society
Some events are free while others are charged for. Please see the website for details.
Two Writers, Two Generations: Ngugi wa Thiong'o and Mukoma Wa Ngugi
Acclaimed author Ngugi wa Thiong'o and his son, Mukoma Wa Ngugi, discuss their respective preoccupations and aspirations as writers of different generations, spanning the history of Africa's independence and its contemporary literary scene. Chaired by Ellah Allfrey, Deputy Editor of Granta Magazine.
£7.50 / £5 concessions
Matt Forde: The Political Party
Matt will open the show with a mix of topical stand-up and political impressions and then introduce a leading figure from the world of politics, to discuss and debate their views and beliefs, before throwing it open to the audience for their questions. Guests so far have included George Galloway, Jack Straw, Nigel Farage and Charles Clarke. Tonight’s guest is to be announced soon.
£14 / £12 concessions
Campaign! Make an Impact
This national cross-curricular programme uses history to inspire young people into active citizenship. Historical campaigns inspire and teach campaign skills, enabling children and young people to run their own campaigns about issues that affect them today. It’s based around a three step model on our website.
Students can explore campaign skills, and learn how campaigners have constructed their messages in creative ways. There is guidance on how to plan and carry out your campaign.
In the Teachers and Museums section you can find out more about how the model works and how your organisation can get involved.