Certain manuscripts in the Western Manuscripts collection, including most illuminated manuscripts, are not normally made available without a written letter of introduction or recommendation.
The letter should be from an academic colleague or tutor or other appropriate person. It should indicate the experience of the applicant in consulting, and the need for the applicant to consult, original material. This helps us assess whether a Reader needs to see particularly fragile, valuable or important manuscripts: surrogates in the form of facsimiles or microfilm may be issued in some cases.
The recommendation should be signed and indicate the name and status of the referee.
You must ensure that you keep a copy of the letter, as this will need to be seen by staff in the Manuscripts Reading Room if access to restricted material is required.
Potential Readers are encouraged to contact us in advance for more advice.
Manuscripts and Maps Reference Team
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7513 / 7702
Fax: +44 (0)20 7412 7745
E-mail: Ask the Reference Team