We have one of the largest collections of maps, plans and topographical views in the world, numbering some 4.5 million, with a chronological spread of over 2,000 years.

Collection guides

Maps reading room

Maps Reading Room

  • Find information on the shelves
  • Access online databases and electronic journals
  • Order collection items to the Reading Room via our catalogues

If you need help, ask our Information Specialists at the enquiry desk.

You’ll need a Reader Pass

Mon: 10.00 – 17.00
Tue – Sat: 09.30 – 17.00
Sun & English Public Holidays: closed

Mon 10.00 – 20.00
Tue - Thu 09.30 – 20.00
Fri – Sat 09.30 – 17.00
Sun & English Public Holidays Closed - See more at: http://www.bl.uk/subjects/news-media#sthash.Wb5AILRq.dpuf

Opening hours for all Reading Rooms

For enquiries, please contact the Reference Service

Blog posts

'Lhasa Englishman First'

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

One of the first users of the new telegr...

Old Europe

Thursday, January 5, 2017

We are pleased to welcome this guest post from the artist Justine Smith, whose work is included in our current exhibition Maps & the 20th Century: Drawing the Line. 'In my artistic practice I have always used collage and have...

Festive Fairyland

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Ancient Mappe of Fairyland was published in London in 1918. It shows a vivid fantasy island inhabited by a riotous range of make-believe characters from Peter Pan and Puss-in-Boots to Hansel, Gretel and Three Blind Mice. You can see...

Maps & scrap metal

Monday, December 12, 2016

As was announced here yesterday, the British Library has acquired important additions to its collection in the form of 9 sheets of copper, discovered in the possession of a scrap metal dealer. Scrap value £3.60 per kilo, but historical significance...

More blog posts

Projects

Georeferencing

Crowdsourcing location data to make a selection of its vast collections of maps fully searchable and viewable using popular online geotechnologies.

Off the map

An annual videogame design competition for UK higher education students

All projects

Library experts

Tom Harper

Curator, Antiquarian mapping

Case studies

…...Discovering a lost 15th-century city...…

Using our maps collection: Diana Newall, art historian

Related events

Exhibition

Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line

-

See how maps made the world we live in at our maps exhibition

Lecture

Maps and the 20th Century: Curator Talk

The story behind our Maps exhibition

Course

Drawing the Line: The Creative Potential of Maps

Home to over 4.5 million maps ranging from medieval Mappae Mundi to satellite imaging, the British Library documents an ever-changing world

Family Activity

Living in the Map

Create a giant 3D map through sculpture, collage and drawing with artists Judith Brocklehurst and Emma McGarry

View all events

External links

The British Library is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Charles Close Society

Dedicated to the study of OS mapping

Ordnance Survey

Ordnance Survey for Great Britain

Shop

Maps Shop Item: Exhibition Book

Maps Catalogue Maps and the 20th Century

A global story of the most turbulent century in history through its most powerful and important object: the map.

£25

Maps Shop item: Cross Stitch World Map

Cross Stitch Map

A world map printed on cross stitch fabric and mounted on a wooden frame.

£25

Maps Shop Item: Orange Globe Light

Globe Light Orange

See the world, see the light. A bold and elegant globe light.

£85