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

Recording of the week: Norman Beaton recalls Liverpool in the 60s

Monday, December 17, 2018

Our last Recording of the Week for 2018 comes from Stephen Cleary, Lead Curator of Literary & Creative Recordings. Actor, singer and writer Norman Beaton (1934-1994) recalls his early career steps in Liverpool, and how the production of his first...

Recording of the week: Island Grief after Hurricane Ivan

Monday, December 3, 2018

This week's selection comes from Dr Eva del Rey, Curator of Drama and Literature Recordings and Digital Performance. British-Caribbean poet, artist and theatre maker Malika Booker reads ‘Island Grief after Hurricane Ivan’ from her 2013 collection Pepper Seed. Recorded at...

Black History Month - The Gold Coast Police Band

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

By Jonathan Summers, Curator of Classical Music For Black History month in previous years I have highlighted the career and work of classical musicians such as Dean Dixon and Cullen Maiden. While considering people for this year’s blog, I received...

Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Black Britain and the Creative Industries book recommendations

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

As part of our Inspiring Entrepreneurs series, we hosted a panel of leading lights in the creative industries with stories of what can be achieved with the right attitude and determination to celebrate the success and cultural impact of 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.

Related events

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

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