At the British Library


I have wanted to have a look at the British Library, in its new building for quite a long time. It was opened in 1998 and the architecture of it is resolutely modern, and has been much criticised.

The British Library

The yard and the entrance to the BL

In fact, I thought it did fit reasonably well in the neighbourhood, considering it’s almost next to Saint Pancras station.

The new and the old

Saint Pancras, seen from the British Library yard

The courtyard has places where people can sit, read, have lunch or simply enjoy the sunshine.

reading in the courtyard

Reading in the courtyard

It features this bronze statue of Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton by Eduardo Paolozzi

The inside is spacious and attractive. This photo cannot do justice to the huge glass structure which shelters thousands of books.

Books and computers

A row of laptops along the glass structure sheltering books

There are people studying all over the place, of course

School children at work

School-children at work

But what I most enjoyed, I cannot show you as photography was not allowed, was the Sir John Ritblat Gallery, featuring the Treasures of the British Library, from sacred books to Pinter’s manuscripts, with manuscripts by Jane Austen. Do click on the Link and have a virtual visit. It’s well worth it.


8 thoughts on “At the British Library

  1. I enjoy seeing your photos… I’ve not visited the new library and London architecture always makes me think of Prince Charles’ statement awhile back about modern architecture being a carbuncle. I think he was referring to a specific building but how the old blends with the new is an interesting idea that I’ve followed ever since seeing how Santa Fe’s architecture blends the old adobe into modern times.

  2. I really like the look of the new British Library. Anything next to St Pancras is going to have a visual fight on it’s hands, and this building holds its own. I is nice to see that there is some sunshine in the UK. Someday we’ll have some in Scotland and we’ll be able to read books outside too. 😉

  3. Thanks for the link to the BL. I would love to see some of the exhibits in person. Especially the Magna Carta and Shakespeare. And Wordsworth. And, and, and………

  4. Pingback: Dickens Museum « Blogging in Paris

  5. It is so exciting to read you and Autolycus on the British Library, to see the beautiful photos you’ve taken, and to go to the links you’re offering. From my first visit to the Montreal Public Library at the age of five, libraries have been a devouring passion for me. At 78, I still enter a library with a pounding, feverish heart, looking at the full bookshelves with hunger, afraid that I will miss one book, or that all will disappear forever.

    The term “virtual visit” did not exist for me 6 months ago! Today I’m in London, sitting on a bench, next to Isaac Newton, ready to enter the British Library, through your link. It’s incredible! Merci de tout coeur!

  6. more great photos…makes me want to up and go!

    though i definitely support the non-taking of photos in museums, had a great moment with granddaughter at william steig show (jewish musem, nyc) recently. panels designed to be opened to reveal illustrations where just her 14-month height and she did delight in them.

    i did behave, however.

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