British Library visits
Two trips to the Library
(Photos/words ©urban75, January 2007, November 2008)
As national libraries go, the The British Library is definitely the new kid on the block, only coming into existence after The British Library Act was passed by Parliament in July 1973.
Initially scattered amongst a selection of institutions, a lack of storage space led to the building of a dedicated central library next to the Gothic splendour of St Pancras railway station.
Opened by HM The Queen in June 1998, the British Library can now claim to be one of the world's greatest libraries with 150 million items, in most known languages, dating from 300BC.
The Library is set back from the busy Euston Road, with visitors walking through a large portico into an enclosed courtyard to the main entrance.
The Piazza hosts a small amphitheatre for open-air performances and a number of sculptures.
See 360º panorama
Walking across the piazza.
The impressive entrance hall with a ceiling that 'ascends in a sequence of waves' to its full, five storey height.
Heading towards the exhibition space (to the left) and the cafe (at the far end).
Inside can be found priceless treasures such as the Magna Carta, the Lindisfarne Gospels, Leonardo da Vinci's Notebook and the first edition of The Times from 18 March 1788.
Visitors checking out Morgan's 'London Actually Survey'd' map of 1682 at the London: A Life In Maps exhibition.
A view of the exhibition space.
Checking out the maps.
Grabbing a coffee in the cafe.
The cafe area is shadowed by an enormous wall of ancient books.
Another view inside the map exhibition.
Looking across the entrance hall.
Bonkers chair in the entrance hall.
Information desk at the entrance.
Crowds leaving at the end of the day (note: the Library closes quite early - they were turfing us out at 5pm).
'Taking Liberties' exhibition, November 2008
We visited a fascinating exhibition at the British Library revealing Britain's '1,000-year struggle for our freedoms and rights.'
A tour of historic struggles for freedom, there's over 200 iconic documents and objects on display including the well known - like the Magna Carta of 1215, and the 1649 death warrant of King Charles I - and lesser known documents like the hand-written minutes of the Putney debates, recording the arguments between Cromwell's New Model Army and the radical Levellers.
Address: The British Library, St Pancras, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB
Trains St Pancras, King's Cross, King's Cross Thameslink and Euston
Underground King's Cross/St Pancras, Euston and Euston Square
Buses 10, 30, 73 and 91