From Beowulf to the Brontës, from Shakespeare quartos to Wendy Cope’s emails, our collections offer an unparalleled resource for the study of English literature and British theatre. They cover a range of formats including archives and manuscripts, printed books and sound recordings.

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

Birds, Bees and Waste in Christina Rossetti’s Nature Poetry

Thursday, July 8, 2021

a guest-blog by Clara Dawson, Lecturer in Victorian Literature at the University of Manchester. She is currently working on a project about birds and poetry from 1790 to the present. Twitter @DawsonClara. The blog is illustrated throughout by images taken...

Stories and Pictures: Women in Victorian Society

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

by Greg Buzwell, Curator of Contemporary Literary and Creative Archives, and a co-curator of Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women's Rights. Emily Mary Osborn’s painting Nameless and Friendless is on loan from the Tate to the British Library for the...

Olive Schreiner: Feminism from the Cape Colony

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

By Jessica Gregory, Curatorial Support Officer for Modern Manuscripts, 1601 – 1950. The British Library’s exhibition, Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women’s Rights, explores the history of women’s rights activism and is open now. Olive Schreiner first visited Britain from...

Charlotte Brontë’s miniature books

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

By Catherine Angerson, Curator of Modern Archives and Manuscripts. Manuscripts by Charlotte Brontë can be seen in two exhibitions at the British Library in London this summer: Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women’s Rights (until 1 August) and Miniature Books...

More blog posts

Related events

MA in Early Modern English Literature: Text & Transmission

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The British Library is working in partnership with King’s College London to teach an MA in English literature, entitled 'Early Modern English Literature: Text and Transmission'.

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Projects

National Life Stories: Authors' Lives

In-depth interviews with leading authors working in Britain today

Off the Map: Videogame & Interactive Fiction Design Competition

A videogame and interactive fiction design competition for UK higher education students

All projects

Case studies

More Case studies
…A PhD can be a lonely journey, but collaborative PhDs are certainly not that.…

Investigating constructions of identity in the works and archive of the writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.

…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.

…The research I did as an Edison Fellow at the British Library was invaluable for my PhD…

Alexis Bennett researched 1930s British film music as an Edison Fellow at the British Library.

…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.

Library experts

Jeremy Jenkins

Curator, Emerging Media, Contemporary British Publications

Stephen Cleary

Lead Curator, Literary and Creative Recordings

Alison Bailey

Lead Curator, Printed Heritage Collections 1901-2000

More staff members