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

MacDonald Gill: original drawing goes on show today

Thursday, December 8, 2016

One of the key exhibits in Maps & the 20th Century: Drawing the Line - in fact one of the key maps of the 20th century - is a world map of 1942 by MacDonald Gill. Called 'The "Time and...

Map: friend or foe?

Monday, December 5, 2016

Our relationships with maps changed very dramatically in many different ways in the 20th century. One of the important changes is not only that maps became more widespread and familiar, but how that affected our relationships with them. The examples...

20th Century Panoramaniac

Thursday, November 24, 2016

I love panoramas and this one inspired my love of the Alps and mountain mapping. Heinrich Berann, [Jungfraubahn mountain railroad, Switzerland], 1939. British Library Maps 1060.(4.). Panoramas form a fascinating niche collection within the 4.5 million maps in the British...

Pushing the Boundaries

Monday, November 21, 2016

The British Library’s new exhibition Maps & the 20th century: Drawing the Line will look at the tumultuous 20th century through the eyes of maps. It is a period which we recognise as one of incredible highs and unimaginable lows,...

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

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