About this event

  • Date and time Fri 8 Feb 2019 from 11:30am to 8 Feb 2019 at 4:00pm
  • Location British Library
  • Organised by Retired Fellows Society

The British Library is so much more than the national collection of all books published in the UK. It started as the British Museum’s Department of Printed Books in 1753 and since then it has been legally entitled to copies of all UK journals, newspapers, maps and printed music. By amalgamating other collections, it has acquired priceless exhibits such as the Magna Carta, audio recordings and items belonging to famous writers, scientists and other historical figures. Formally recognised as the British Library in 1972, it is now housed next to St. Pancras Station and the building is worth a visit alone, packed with sculptures and paintings and with Paolozzi’s giant sculpture of Isaac Newton overlooking its piazza.

Designed by Colin St. John Wilson and opened in 1998, the building became controversial for its architecture and for running spectacularly over budget. It ended up over two thirds larger than the original plan and a guided tour is the only way to appreciate the extent of its collections.

The first half of the tour includes the history of the collection and visit to the Viewing Gallery. The second half of the tour is an introduction to the Library’s treasures, including the King’s Library (George III), the second largest atlas in the world and favourite items in the Sir John Ritblat Gallery.

There will be time to have lunch, in the Peyton & Byrne ‘Eateries’, however this is not included in the tour price.


British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB, United Kingdom

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