Historical manuscripts, book rarities, a music archive and a collection of a postal printing house: under the "Book Spot" we talk about the unique libraries of the world. Today is about the British Library.
The National Library of Great Britain celebrated its 50th anniversary in July. It seems that this is a very short time for such a well-known institution. And this is true! The truth is that the library became a single structure only in 1973, uniting the Library of the British Museum, the National Central Library and the National Library of Scientific and Technical Literature.
The British Library is now the largest research base in the world. More than 170 million items are stored here, including artifacts from all eras of written civilization. Here you can, for example, get free consultations on the development of your small business or project. And a library ticket is issued to any visitor.
In 1997, the library moved to its own building, an enormous red-brick modernist building in St. Pancras, designed by Colin St. John Wilson and M.J. Long. Upon completion of the construction, Sir Wilson was even knighted! The Royal Library of George III has a special place here - a high glass tower in the heart of the building, where anyone can enter with a library ticket.
Until 1997, the library was located within the British Museum with its famous Round Reading Room, where Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Virginia Woolf, among others, used to read books. The library had the collection of King George III ("Royal Library"), the manuscripts of Sir Robert Cotton, and other collectors. Treasures in the Museum's Library include the Gutenberg Bible, first editions of Shakespeare, and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.
What else can you find in the library? For example, The British Library Sound Archive! Imagine 185,000 recordings ranging from classical and popular music to wildlife recordings and interviews.
The richest collection of newspapers and periodicals. Virtually EVERYTHING that has been published in Britain since 1840, as well as many publications from around the world. 52,000 titles in total!
There are also many separate collections, such as The India Office Records, an archive of the colonial administration in East India, or The Theater Archive Project, dedicated to the history of British theater.