The British Library offers many resources for the study of Black and Asian history, politics, culture and creative arts in Britain. Our collections also reflect the long and turbulent histories of race and empire, as well as post-colonialism. They include music, books, journals, archives and manuscripts, newspapers, maps and photographs, prints and drawings, web pages and stamps. We also offer a range of relevant events.

Collection guides

Reading Room  Paul Grundy

St Pancras Reading Rooms

At St Pancras we have 11 Reading Rooms, each specialising in a different subject area or type of material and with different opening hours. In our Reading Rooms you can:

  • Consult books, journals and other items from our collections
  • Access a wide range of electronic resources and electronic journals
  • Consult subject guides, bibliographies and other research aids

If you need help, please ask our Reference Specialists at the enquiry desks or contact the Reference Service.

We offer free Discovery and 1-2-1 Sessions to help you make the best use of the Library's collections.

You’ll need a Reader Pass

Opening hours for all Reading Rooms

Blog posts

Cataloguing James Berry

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

By Callum McKean, Curator of Contemporary Literary Archives and Manuscripts. The James Berry Archive, which was acquired by the Library in 2012, is comprised of twenty-eight boxes containing drafts, notebooks, diaries, correspondence and audio-visual material spanning Berry’s fifty year career....

New black Britain and Asian Britain web pages launched

Friday, July 6, 2018

The British Library holds rich resources for the study of black Britain and Asian Britain. A new suite of web pages highlights the wide variety of material available, including printed, archival, visual, music and oral history collections. The development of...

Explore the British Library’s collections for Black British and Asian British Studies

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

With the launch of the Black Britain and Asian Britain subject hub, we are offering a resource to help researchers find and engage with our collections and activities in these areas. First edition of the classic autobiography of Olaudah Equiano...

Introducing the Women of Windrush

Friday, June 22, 2018

Guyana-born writer and teacher Beryl Gilroy with her pupils, image courtesy of the Estate of Beryl Gilroy. On Monday 25 June the British Library in association with Wasafiri, the Magazine of International Contemporary writing, will be hosting Windrush Women: Past...

More blog posts

Case studies

…The UK Web Archive is a fantastic resource for researchers…

Neema used the UK Web Archive to explore how ethnic minorities voted in the EU Referendum.

…Everyone is really willing to help each other out…

Melissa is doing collaborative PhD research on photographs of the British West India Regiments between 1865-1914.

…A collaborative PhD with the British Library gives me the means to access a public audience…

Ruth uses the digitised newspaper collection to explore attitudes towards immigration in nineteenth century Britain.

…The archival material provides fascinating insights…

Christian is evaluating the archival material of Dutch ethnomusicologist Arnold Adriaan Bake.

…we felt like we had a bond with everybody…

Jessica Rodgers took part in our Writing London project in 2012 engaging young people aged 16-24, outside of formal education, with library and heritage collections.

…It will be in the British Library for eternity!…

Hannah's collaborative PhD research will lead to a new archive on black British poetry in performance.

Related events

Exhibition FREE

Windrush: Songs in a Strange Land

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A free exhibition

Workshop FREE

Write Here: Windrush Stories - Sessions for Secondary Schools

Monday to Friday

Creative writing workshops exploring the exhibition Windrush: Songs in a Strange Land

South Asia

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Celebrate South Asian culture

Workshop FREE

Write Here: Windrush Stories - Sessions for Primary Schools

Monday to Friday

Primary school sessions exploring the exhibition Windrush: Songs in a Strange Land

View all events

Projects

Africa's Sons Under Arms

Exploring the history of the British West India Regiments to understand changes in racial thought

Two Centuries of Indian Print

An international collaboration to digitise South Asian printed books

Community Engagement

Community Engagement works closely with local community groups and residents to develop collaborative British Library projects. We share with them our exciting collection and expertise and celebrate all of the great ideas and talent on our doorstep.

West Africa community project

Film series from the recent West Africa Community Project

All projects

External links

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

Making Britain

Discover how South Asians shaped the nation, 1870-1950

Black Cultural Archives

Collecting and celebrating the heritage and history of Black people in Britain

George Padmore Institute

Research materials relating to the black community in Britain and Europe

Institute of Race Relations

Research and analysis in the struggle for racial justice in Britain and internationally

Stuart Hall Foundation

Supports creative and challenging thinking, debate and research

The Nehru Centre, London

The cultural wing of the High Commission of India