UK Travel Guide


British Library

Now partly ensconced in St Pancras, the British Library was established in 1973 on the amalgamation of the National Central Library, the National Lending Library for Science and Technology, the British National Bibliography and the collections of works from the British Museum. In 1753 the British Museum started its literary section with the acquisition of a collection of manuscripts and rare books. Continued growth through the years notably with the addition of the old Royal Library in 1757 and King George III’s library in 1823 as well as the legal requirement (dating back to 1911) that a copy of every book magazine and newspaper printed in Britain must be sent to the Library led inevitably to the demand for a new building. Much controversy has surrounded the construction which was initially expected to be completed in 1996. The headquarters are in the St Pancras building where there are reading rooms for information on the Humanities but there are also reading rooms in Euston Road London for information on other topics. The Library is the national centre for reference, study and bibliographical and other information services, in relation both to scientific and technological matters and to the humanities. The Library’s collection consists of over16 million books and magazines, 660000 newspaper titles, 295000 manuscripts etc stored on more than 360 miles of shelving in London and Yorkshire. Some of the manuscripts which are stored include original drafts of Beatles songs and the hand-written manuscripts of Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland", along with his original illustrations.

Located at: 96 Euston Road, London, WC1

Telephone: 020 7412 7000

Opens: daily but hours are varied

Cost: phone for information

Closest Subway Station: Euston Station (Click to see more atrraction at this station)