My day At The British Library
Compelling, absorbing and free!
The British Library is one of the reasons why I absolute love London. It has to be one of the most inspiring institutions in this city. If you are into books, need any research or just want some peace, quiet with a good Wi-Fi signal you should look no further. And as for the exhibitions (and I have been to some absolute rotters) they have be amongst the best in town.
Last week I went to see the Anglo-Saxon exhibition - which for the incredibly low price of £16 was an absolute bargain. They had on display just about every major manuscript from the era – including the Magna Carter, the Lindisfarne Gospels and the oldest letter sent from England (704). It had absolutely everything that a historical bookworm could want and after a couple of hours I was exhausted by the sheer volume of fascinating stuff. There was a pretty enthusiastic crowd but I did notice that most of them were Londoners – which tells me what I suspected in that this is a real hidden gem that visitors don't know about– you need to know your London or else you will miss out. There was also another exhibition going on next door -the Windrush generation – again loads of content and really compelling.
After information fatigue I managed a little picnic on the piazza – there’s a decent cafeteria as well inside and out of the building (a little pricy though). Come the afternoon it was time return to my research project and I went to one of the many libraries to pick up my books. You can join as a ‘reader’ which entitles you to study in one of the study areas and ‘take out’ up to 8 books a day – and its all free! The British Library seems to have an inexhaustible supply of books, manuscripts and documents for consumption. Basically every book published in the UK is here – and lots from overseas – so you will not be disappointed. What’s more it’s all free!
London is a wonderful City for learning all sorts of things – and the British Library just proves the point.