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Wales Collections

We have extensive holdings of material published in Wales. Under the provision of Legal Deposit the Library is entitled to receive a copy of each work published in Wales: the collections cover a wide-range of subjects in both English and Welsh. 

In addition to books and journals, the Library has many manuscripts, maps and sound recordings of relevance to Welsh and Celtic studies research. We also collect research-level works published abroad relating to Wales and Welsh, and holds selected websites from Wales as part of our Web Collections.

A view of Conway Castle in North Wales by Loughborough, 1811; British Library shelfmark Ktop XL VI.

A view of Conway Castle in North Wales by Loughborough, 1811; British Library shelfmark Ktop XL VI.


Collections and Highlights

Select Bibliography

Links to British Library resources

External Links

Collections and Highlights

The Welsh collection originated mainly around the library of the Cymmrodorion Society acquired in the middle of the nineteenth century, but the vast majority of printed works have been acquired through Legal Deposit and this continues to this day. General books and periodicals are entered in Explore the British Library, with newspapers a subset. Manuscripts are catalogued separately.

Newspapers are typically an important source for Welsh local and family history, as are individual histories of Welsh companies, villages, towns and cities. A number of Welsh newspapers have been digitised as part of the British Newspapers 1800-1900 database for example North Wales Chronicle, Western Mail, Y Genedl Cymreig, Y Goleuad, and Baner ac Amserau Cymru. The Library also has extensive holdings of published anthologies of old photographs.

Special collections include a gathering of books, largely in Welsh, of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, formed by Bob Owen. These are held in the shelfmark range 1550/1-172. The Library also has a number of early bibles in Welsh, for example the first New Testament, London, 1567, shelfmark C.36.d.3, and the first complete Bible, London, 1588, shelfmark 1.b.13. Modern Fine Press Books are represented by the Library’s holdings, for example, the outstanding Gregynog Press as well as artist’s books, such as those by the Shirley Jones of the Red Hen Press.

Many literary authors from Wales are represented in the collections in modern times notably Dylan Thomas and Lynette Roberts.

In association with the National Library of Wales, the British Library also archives websites from Wales as part of its Web Collections.

Select Bibliography

A Guide to Welsh Literature (6 volumes). Cardiff: University of Wales Press. 1976-1998. Shelfmark HLR 891.66 Open Access.

Bartrum, Peter. A Welsh Classical Dictionary: People in History and Legend up to about A.D. 1000. Aberystwyth: National Library of Wales, 1993. Shelfmark HLR 942.901 Open Access.

Jenkins, Geraint H. A Concise History of Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Shelfmark HLR 942.9 Open Access.

Meic, Stephens. The New Companion to the Literature of Wales by. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1998. Shelfmark HLR 891.66 Open Access.

Owen, Edward, A Catalogue of the Manuscripts Relating to Wales in the British Museum, 4 parts, Cymmrodorion Record Series, 4. London: the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, 1900-22. Shelfmark AC.8227/10

Links to British Library resources

Images online
Sound Archive
Sounds Familiar

External links

Archives Wales
English and Welsh Newspapers on the internet
National Assembly for Wales
National Library of Wales
Welsh Books Council