British Library

Photograph of exterior of British Library, bronze statue in foreground
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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.

Venue Type:

Archive, Gallery, Library

Opening hours

Mon - Thu 09:30-20:00
Fri 09:30 - 18:00
Sat 09:30 - 17:00
Sun 11:00 - 17:00

Closed: 24 - 28 December, 1 January

Admission charges

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.

Collection details

World Cultures, Social History, Science and Technology, Religion, Personalities, Music, Literature, Decorative and Applied Art, Archives, Weapons and War

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

The Philatelic Exhibition

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

The Philatelic Exhibition of 80,000 items on the upper ground floor offers a unique opportunity to see many great rarities.

Currently on display are:
The Tapling Collection World to 1890; exhibited are countries M - Z on 2,400 pages (countries A - L are available to researchers by appointment)
The Mosely Collection of British Africa to 1935
The Bojanowicz Collection of Poland 1939 - 1946 stamps and postal history
The Model Collection of Germany 1945 - 1946 local provisional stamps
The Harrison Collection of die proofs 1911 -1937, engraved by J.A.C. Harrison
The Davies Collection of Libyan revenue stamps 1955 - 1969
The Fitz Gerald Collection of World Airmails to the 1930s (selected pages)
The Bailey Collection of Spanish Civil War stamps and postal history 1936 - 1939 (selected pages)
The Turner Collection of Great Britain and Ireland Railway Letter Stamps 1891 - 1940 (selected pages)
The Langmead Collection of Great Britain and Ireland Telegraph stamps, 1851 - 1881

An associated book, The British Library Treasures in Focus: Stamps, is available from the Shop.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

http://www.bl.uk/events/the-philatelic-exhibition

Treasures of the British Library

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

The Sir John Ritblat Treasures of the British Library Gallery hosts more than 200 beautiful and fascinating items: magnificent hand-painted books from many faiths, maps and views, early printed books, literary, historical, scientific and musical works from over the centuries and around the world.

Half of the items now on display have not been seen by the public for many years.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

http://www.bl.uk/events/treasures-of-the-british-library

Flyer from the Roxy Club Covent Garden London 1977

Punk 1976-78

  • 25 May — 2 October 2016 *on now

Starting with the impact of the Sex Pistols in 1976, the exhibition explores punk’s early days in the capital and reveals how its remarkable influence spread across music, fashion, print and graphic styles nationwide. Showcasing a range of fanzines, flyers, recordings and record sleeves from the British Library’s collections alongside rare material from the archives held at Liverpool John Moores University, including items from England's Dreaming: The Jon Savage Archive, it celebrates the enduring influence of punk as a radical musical, artistic and political movement.

The exhibition contains adult content.

Punk 1976-78 is part of Punk London, a year of events, gigs, films, talks and exhibits celebrating 40 years of punk heritage and influence in London

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

Free

Website

http://bit.ly/24NUWiK

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Punk Pop Up Shop

Punk Pop-up Shop

  • 25 May — 2 October 2016 *on now

To coincide with the Punk 1976-78 exhibition, the latest Pop-up Shop in the British Library Entrance Hall will be open until 2 October 2016. It's packed with vinyl, t-shirts, prints, books and exclusive prints by legendary music photographer Sheila Rock. Have your picture taken in our photo booth and experience our 70s listening booth, kindly lent by the Mick Jones Rock & Roll Public Library.

You can also buy the punk range online.

The Library has an amazing collection of punk fanzines, flyers, recordings and record sleeves which you can see in the free exhibition.

Part of Punk London, a year of events, gigs, films, talks and exhibits celebrating 40 years of punk heritage and influence in London

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free

Website

http://bit.ly/23HFUso

The Winchester: Legend of the West

The Winchester: Legend of the West

  • 29 September 2016 From 6:30pm *on now

The Winchester Rifle, the iconic gun made in New Haven, Connecticut, and sold in its hundreds of thousands around the world, mirrors American expansion at a key period in the young country’s history. The lethal repeating rifle became the defining image of America’s frontier – and was known amongst Native Americans as “the spirit gun”. It represented both the pioneering vigour and the brutal force which conquered the West.

Laura Trevelyan, BBC journalist, descendent of the Winchester family, and author of The Winchester: Legend of the West (I.B.Tauris, September 2016) will be in conversation with Reeta Chakrabati, BBC News presenter and correspondent. She presents the One, Six and Ten O'Clock News on BBC1 and also reports at home and abroad.

Sponsored by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Full Price: £8.00, Senior 60+: £6.00, Student: £5.00, Registered Unemployed: £5.00, Friend of the BL: £5.00

Website

http://bit.ly/2ctFDLs

Rose Tremain

Rose Tremain: Forty Years On

  • 29 September 2016 7-8:30pm *on now

Forty years ago Rose Tremain’s first novel, Sadler’s Birthday, was accepted for publication. Since then she has published 14 novels, five collections of short stories, and has worked in radio, television and film. In conversation with the Royal Society of Literature’s Literary Director, Maggie Fergusson, she talks about her latest novel, The Gustav Sonata, about why she searches for subjects outside her own experience, and why, even in a novel, truth is all.

Sponsored by the Royal Society of Literature

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Full Price: £10.00, Senior 60+: £8.00, Student: £7.00, Registered Unemployed: £7.00, Under 18: £7.00, Friend of the BL: £7.00

Website

http://bit.ly/2bMQqMG

Michael Kirk

Behind the Headlines

  • 5 October 2016 6:30-8:30pm

As Americans prepare to head to the polls, award-winning documentary filmmaker, and one of the leading lights of US broadcast journalism, Michael Kirk shares insights gleaned while crafting his intricate portraits of the nominees exclusively for PBS's landmark television series, FRONTLINE.

He presents video excerpts from his programme The Choice 2016, and is joined in discussion by Dr Clodagh Harrington, De Montfort University and Chair, American Politics Group of the UK, and Griff Witte, London Bureau Chief, Washington Post.

Sponsored by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library in co-operation with PBS America

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

Full Price: £10, Senior 60+: £8, Student: £7, Registered Unemployed: £7, Under 18: £7, Friend of the BL: £7

Website

http://bit.ly/2cJURt5

13 Presidents

13 Presidents

  • 10 October 2016 6:30-8pm

An evening talk to coincide with the publication of Futernick’s new book of short stories and photographs, 13 Presidents, which features each president from Herbert Hoover to George W Bush as a protagonist.

Webb is a presenter of Radio 4’s Today programme and the BBC's former North American correspondent. Futernick is a London-based American artist who recently drove across the US to visit all 13 of the nation’s Presidential libraries as research for the book.

A screening of photographs from the publication will accompany the talk, which takes place just weeks before the US Presidential election.

Sponsored by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Full Price: £8, Senior 60+: £6, Student: £5, Registered Unemployed: £5, Friend of the BL: £5

Website

http://bit.ly/2cwzyvr

Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Campaign! Make an Impact

http://www.bl.uk/campaign

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.

British Library
96 Euston Road
London
Greater London
NW1 2DB
England

Website

www.bl.uk

Shop

www.bl.uk/shop

E-mail

Customer services

Customer-Services@bl.uk

Telephone

Customer Services

01937 546 546

Events Box Office

01937 546546

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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