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 a range of free Reader sessions and 1-2-1 consultations 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

Case of a destitute man in London

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

From time to time the Public Department of the India Office in London would receive desperate requests for help from travellers who had fallen on difficulties while in London. One such case was that of Francis Peters which came to...

Sources for Madame Cama, Indian Political Activist

Thursday, March 24, 2022

The struggle for Indian independence from British rule was not only carried on in India, but was eagerly pursued by Indian activists and revolutionaries across the world, particularly in Europe and America. The India Office Records contains some fascinating files...

Celebrating Beryl Gilroy

Monday, March 21, 2022

By Eleanor Dickens, Curator of Contemporary Literary Archives and Manuscripts. The British Library has recently announced the acquisition of the Beryl Gilroy Archive, which was donated to the library in 2020. Beryl Agatha Gilroy (1924–2001), was an acclaimed writer, teacher...

Recording of the Week: Filling in the gaps of the feminist movement in the 1980s – Southall Black Sisters

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

This week’s selection comes from Amal Malik, Community Research Intern for Unlocking our Sound Heritage. Content warning: this blog contains references to domestic violence. This Recording of the Week for International Women’s Day looks at the work of Southall Black...

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.

Projects

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.

Save our Sounds

Save our Sounds is our programme to preserve the nation’s sound heritage.

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