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British Library Review
This collection of around 18 million volumes, formerly in the British Museum, now has a home in state-of-the-art surroundings. The library's greatest treasures are on view to the general public: the Magna Carta, a Gutenberg Bible, Jane Austen's writings, Shakespeare's First Folio, and musical manuscripts by G.F. Handel as well as Sir Paul McCartney are on display in the Sir John Ritblat Gallery. Also in the gallery are headphones with which you can listen to pieces in the National Sound Archive (it's the world's largest collection), such as the voice of Florence Nightingale and an extract from the Beatles' last tour interview. Marvel at the six-story glass tower that holds the 65,000-volume collection of George III, plus a permanent exhibition of rare stamps. On weekends and during school vacations there are hands-on demonstrations of how a book comes together, and the library frequently mounts special exhibitions. If all this wordiness is just too much, you can relax in the library's piazza or restaurant, or take in one of the occasional free concerts in the amphitheater outside.
- Address: 96 Euston Rd., Bloomsbury, London, NW1 2DB | Map It
- Phone: 0843/208-1144
- Cost: Free, donations appreciated; charge for special exhibitions
- Hours: Mon. and Wed.--Fri. 9:30--6, Tues. 9:30--8, Sat. 9:30--5, Sun. and public holidays 11--5
- Website: www.bl.uk
- Tube: Euston, Euston Sq., King's Cross/St Pancras.
- Location: Bloomsbury and Holborn
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