British Library

British Library information

Location
London , England
Address
96 Euston Rd
NW1
Getting there
Tube: King's Cross St Pancras
More information
www.bl.uk
Prices
admission free
Opening hours
galleries 9.30am-6pm Mon, Fri & Sat, to 8pm Tue-Thu, 11am-5pm Sun
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Consisting of low-slung red-brick terraces and fronted by a large plaza featuring an oversized statue of Sir Isaac Newton, Colin St John Wilson’s British Library building is a love-it-or-hate-it affair (Prince Charles once famously likened it to a secret-police academy). Completed in 1998 it's home to some of the greatest treasures of the written word, including the Codex Sinaiticus (the first complete text of the New Testament), Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks and a copy of the Magna Carta (1215).

The most precious manuscripts are held in the Sir John Ritblat Gallery, including the stunningly illustrated Jain sacred texts, explorer Captain Scott's final diary and Shakespeare's First Folio (1623). Music fans will love the Beatles’ handwritten lyrics and original scores by Bach, Handel, Mozart and Beethoven.