British Library

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

Website

www.bl.uk

E-mail

Visitor Enquiries

visitor-services@bl.uk

Telephone

Visitor Services

020 7412 7332

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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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, Library, Gallery

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

Lines in the Ice: Seeking the Northwest Passage at the British Library

Lines in the Ice: Seeking the Northwest Passage

  • 14 November 2014 — 29 March 2015 *on now

Lines in the Ice examines why Europeans are drawn to explore the Arctic and, in particular, the fabled Northwest Passage. Arctic exploration has influenced our culture, changed the societies of indigenous peoples, and had a powerful effect on the making of the modern world.

The exhibition displays early European maps of the Arctic, Inuit accounts of the coming of the explorers, writings from the search for Franklin, early Arctic photography and much more. It also unearths the history of the North Pole’s most famous resident – Santa.

We uncover the beauty, drama and importance of the Arctic, from the distant past up to the present day.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://www.bl.uk/events/lines-in-the-ice-seeking-the-northwest-passage

Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy

  • 13 March — 1 September 2015

Marking the 800th anniversary of the granting of Magna Carta, we are holding a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition exploring the history and significance of this globally-recognised document. The exhibition is sponsored by Linklaters.

When granted by King John in 1215, Magna Carta was a practical solution to a political crisis, but in the centuries since it has become a potent symbol of liberty and the rule of law. This exhibition takes us on a journey from its medieval origins to the modern uses of Magna Carta.

The British Library, as the custodian of two original Magna Carta manuscripts, is drawing on its rich historical collections to bring to life a story that remains relevant today. Also on display is Thomas Jefferson’s handwritten text of the Declaration of Independence, an original copy of the US Bill of Rights, together with other key documents and artefacts.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Admission

Full Price: £12.00; Under 18: Free

Website

http://www.bl.uk/events/magna-carta--law-liberty-legacy

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.
Trapped in the Ice, Frozen in Time event at the Britisih Library

Trapped in the Ice, Frozen in Time

  • 5 February 2015 6-8:30pm

An evening of performance and talks hosted by the British Library's Interactive Fiction Writer-in-Residence Rob Sherman. Exploring themes connected to his research into the infamous lost Franklin expedition of 1845-6 and creative responses to this historical event.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/trapped-in-the-ice-frozen-in-time-tickets-13817970923

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Made in Chelsea: the music of Mozart's London

  • 6 February 2015 6:30-8pm

Cliff Eisen and conductor Ian Page, artistic director of Classical Opera, discuss Mozart’s musical development during his 15-month stay in London, in particular surveying the operas and symphonies with which he became acquainted.

The talk incorporates live and recorded musical illustrations from works by Abel, Arne and JC Bach, with harpsichordist Steven Devine.

In partnership with Classical Opera.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Full Price: £10.00, Senior 60+: £8.00, Student/Registered Unemployed/Under 18: £7.00

Website

http://www.bl.uk/events/made-in-chelsea-the-music-of-mozarts-london

Portrait of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1763

Mozart in London

  • 6 February 2015 6:30-8pm
  • 13 February 2015 6:30-8pm
  • 2 March 2015 6:30-8pm

Leading Mozart scholar Cliff Eisen, Professor of Music King's College London, discusses Mozart's london in dialogue with three experts, exploring people he met, the places he visited and the music he heard.

In partnership with Classical Opera.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Admission

£7/£8/£10

Website

http://www.classicalopera.co.uk/british-library/

Author AL Kennedy

The WG Sebald Lecture: AL Kennedy

  • 16 February 2015 6:30-8pm

Award-winning writer and performer AL Kennedy gives the annual Sebald Lecture on an aspect of literature in translation. She explores translating human experience across the inevitable boundaries between individuals and considers the forces in play which make that more and less possible.

Presented in association with BCLT, Britain’s leading centre for the development, promotion and support of literary translation.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£10/£8/£7

Website

http://www.bl.uk/events/the-wg-sebald-lecture-al-kennedy

Magna Carta: old and new

Magna Carta: old and new

  • 13 March 2015 6:30-8pm

Why did a 13th-century peace treaty agreed between King John and his rebel barons in a field near Windsor come to be seen as a founding statement of the rights of man? And why have recent discoveries fundamentally altered the way that we understand its context? Join us for this lively talk and discussion.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£5/£6/£8

Website

http://www.bl.uk/events/magna-carta-old-and-new

The Future of the Arctic

The Future of the Arctic

  • 16 March 2015 6:30-8pm

Marking the United States’ 2015 role as Chair of the Arctic Council, this panel discussion will consider the future of one of the planet’s last great frontiers. Our panellists explore the political and environmental challenges and opportunities arising from increases in Arctic activity as sea ice diminishes and a new Arctic environment emerges.

Sponsored by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library in collaboration with the United States Embassy, London

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£10/£8 (senior 60+) /£7

Website

http://www.bl.uk/events/the-future-of-the-arctic

Author Howard Jacobson

Authors' Lives: Howard Jacobson in conversation with Alex Clark

  • 19 March 2015 6:30-8pm

Howard Jacobson, award-winning writer, columnist and broadcaster, published his first novel, Coming From Behind, in 1983. He is the author of 12 further works, among them The Mighty Walzer, Kalooki Nights and the Man Booker Prize-winning The Finkler Question. His most recent novel, J, has been hailed as the dystopian British novel of our times.

In 2009 Howard Jacobson was approached by the oral history charity National Life Stories to contribute to its Authors’ Lives archive. Bringing together in-depth life-story recordings with the nation’s leading contemporary writers, Authors’ Lives is an archive unlike any other, containing biographical interviews of unrivalled scope and depth. This vast body of material will be made available to listeners today and in perpetuity through the British Library’s Sound Archive.

Howard Jacobson's contribution is closed until his death, but at this event he will talk about his life and writing career, making his recording, and the publication of J.

Supported by Friends of the British Library

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£5/£6/£8

Website

http://www.bl.uk/events/authors-lives-howard-jacobson-in-conversation-with-alex-clark

The Folio Prize Fiction Festival

The Folio Prize Fiction Festival

  • 20 — 22 March 2015

The Folio Prize celebrates English fiction from every country, in every genre, in every form. Sponsored by The Folio Society, publishers of beautiful books, the Prize has created an Academy of the world’s most eminent writers and critics to seek out and share the best novels and short stories of our time.

In the weekend leading up to the 2015 prize announcement, The Folio Society and the British Library are hosting a festival of the art of storytelling. The six events will explore some of the great themes and elements that propel and punctuate a story: Betrayal, Desire, Inheritance, Conflict, Wit and Endings. The judges of the Prize, the shortlisted authors they have chosen, and members of The Folio Prize Academy – among them Val McDermid, Neel Mukherjee, Eimear McBride and Jeanette Winterson – will come together to explore in depth the art of writing fiction.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£7 - £40

Website

http://www.bl.uk/events/the-folio-prize-fiction-festival

TalkScience: Scientists in extreme environments

TalkScience: Scientists in extreme environments

  • 25 March 2015 6-8pm

Scientists travel to the tops of mountains, the polar regions and even outer space in order to conduct experiments, make observations and set up instruments. What have we learned from doing science in extreme environments? Is what we gain worth the high financial, and sometimes human, cost? Does exploring these places also make science a vehicle through which geopolitics is played out? Do we need to explore for the sake of exploration?

Journalist and Antarctic veteran Alok Jha (ITV) will chair a discussion with Director of the British Antarctic Survey Professor Jane Francis, UCL anaesthetist and space medicine expert Dr Kevin Fong and University of Cambridge historian Dr Michael Bravo.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£7

Website

http://www.bl.uk/events/talkscience-scientists-in-extreme-environments

Writer Anthony Trollope 1815-1882

A celebration of Anthony Trollope

  • 23 April 2015 6:30-8pm

This event celebrates the life and work of the writer Anthony Trollope (1815-1882).

2015 is the bicentenary of Trollope’s birth and this event is part of a national programme to celebrate and re-examine Trollope’s life and literary legacy. He was a remarkable man: prolific 19th-century novelist, travel writer and Post Office employee (credited with the invention of the pillar box).

Join our esteemed panel of speakers who will give their personal reflections on the significance and impact of Trollope and his work. There will be an opportunity for discussion and questions from the audience.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£10/£8/£7

Website

http://www.bl.uk/events/a-celebration-of-anthony-trollope

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.

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