Treasures of the British Library

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Treasures of the British Library. Discover stories that shape the world.

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From Magna Carta and Shakespeare to Ada Lovelace and The Beatles. Explore some of the world’s most exciting, beautiful and significant books, manuscripts and sound recordings.

Due to the on-going international situation, the British Library is currently closed. Stay connected on our digital channels.

Telling the remarkable stories of over 2,000 years of human experience, our Treasures of the British Library Gallery gives you a peek into the wonders of our vast collection:

Get a taste of what’s inside the Gallery in our accompanying Treasures website.

What’s new in Treasures?

From January 2020, you will find:

  • A completely new Printing case including the Gutenberg Bible, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and the world’s oldest dated complete printed book, the Diamond Sutra 
  • Leonardo da Vinci’s theatrical stage designs
  • A new case on contemporary female artists.

Temporary displays

We also have temporary displays throughout the year.  Delve into the life and writings of William Wordsworth from 17 January until 31 May 2020.

Art of the Book section

Notes about the gallery space

You may find the Sir John Ritblat Gallery cooler and darker than other areas of the Library. This controlled environment protects any items that may fade, discolour, or be damaged in bright light or humid conditions. We recommend bringing an extra layer for your comfort. 

Items are taken off display on a regular basis for conservation reasons and may also be lent to other institutions for exhibition. If you wish to be sure that a particular item is on display, please check in advance. Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7332

Journeying through history is thirsty work...

Need some time out? Refuel in our cafés and restaurant, or browse our range of books and gifts in our shop.


Name: Treasures of the British Library
Where: The Sir John Ritblat: Treasures Gallery
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show map      How to get to the Library
When: Monday to Sunday
Opening times and visitor information
Price: Free
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546

A sample of what you can see...

Magna Carta 1215

John, by the grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine and Count of…

Jane Austen's writing desk and spectacles

In 1794 Jane Austen’s father gave her this…

Lindisfarne Gospels

The Lindisfarne Gospels has long been acclaimed as the most spectacular manuscript to survive from Anglo-Saxon…

Shakespeare's First Folio

The First Folio is the first collected edition of William Shakespeare's…

Manuscript of Emily Brontë's Gondal poetry

In 1844, Emily Brontë began two new notebooks. In this one she…

Marlowe's Doctor Faustus, 1631

This is the 1631 edition of Christopher Marlowe’s best-known…

Captain Scott's diary, volume 3

Robert Falcon Scott (1868 - 1912) and his four companions reached the South Pole on 17 January 1912, just one month after…