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Graeco-Roman antiquity, from the middle of the 2nd millennium BC to your end regarding the century AD that is 6th.

Medieval and early modern Britain

British historical and manuscripts that are literary 600–1600

Modern British history

British history from 1600 to the present

Contemporary Britain

Collections reflecting contemporary British society and culture

Literature and drama

Collections relating to literature that is english British theatre

The British Library collection of maps, plans and views is one of the largest within the global world, numbering some 4.5 million

The British Library has a world-famous collection of music

Arts and humanities

Collections for the study of history, culture and society

Social sciences

Research resources on politics, economics, law, sociology along with other subjects.

Digital scholarship

Undertake research that is innovative our digital collections and data

Law and legal studies

Historical and resources that are current the research of law, legislation and society

Genealogy and family history

Primary sources and reference material for family history and genealogy research

Manuscripts Reading Room

The Manuscripts Reading Room could be the enquiry point for the Library's western language manuscript collections (in other words. published by hand, not printed). The collection includes literary, historical manuscripts and private papers.

  • Find information on the shelves about the Library’s collection that is british of manuscripts and those held elsewhere
  • Access online databases and journals that are electronic books associated with archives and manuscripts
  • Order collection items towards the Reading Room via our Explore Archives & Manuscripts Catalogue

Some of our manuscripts may require a Letter of Introduction, or could have other Access Conditions.

You can expect free Discovery and 1-2-1 Sessions to assist you make the use that is best of this Library's collections.

For enquiries, please contact the Manuscripts Reference Team

Blog posts

The Theatre Censors Part 2: William Bodham Donne

William Bodham Donne became Examiner of Plays in 1857. He officially assumed the role following the death of John Mitchell Kemble, but Donne had been already plays that are examining his behalf since 1849. Donne was dedicated to his job and.

James Knight’s “History of Jamaica”

We are delighted to generally share this website by Jamie Gemmell. Jamie is a third year undergraduate at the University of Edinburgh and was awarded a Carnegie Vacation Scholarship to produce a partial digital edition of James Knight’s “History of Jamaica”.

New Anglo-Saxon acquisition on display

Earlier this current year, the Library that is british reddit was to get a leaf of an Anglo-Saxon benedictional (a service book employed by a bishop). This manuscript was of great significance for at the time we reported that, despite its fragmentary nature.

Writing Wyatt

Have you ever wondered how a poet that is 16th-century their works together? A writer with an optical eye to posterity could have followed the exemplory instance of Sir Thomas Wyatt (c. 1503–1542), poet, ambassador and lover that is rumoured of Boleyn. In the.

Case studies

Exploring how the Anglo-Saxons used manuscripts to experience Rome from afar.

Exploring the working lifetime of a scientist that is twentieth-century the archive of John Maynard Smith.

AHRC Innovation Placement Fellow

Investigating constructions of identity in the ongoing works and archive regarding the writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.

The British Library houses one of the world's greatest collections of illuminated manuscripts, and Janet Backhouse has drawn about this rich resource to make an array of outstanding examples that span over 800 years of medieval book production.


A History for the Book in 100 Books (hardback)

From inscriptions on tombs to the first writings on papyrus; from scrolls towards the first bound codex books in Roman times.

Codex Sinaiticus: New Perspectives regarding the Ancient Biblical Manuscript

Codex Sinaiticus the most important books in the entire world.