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

Tales of Terror and Wonder – A Gothic Legacy

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

by Greg Buzwell, Curator of Contemporary Literary and Creative Archives. In this final blog highlighting our digital collections, Greg reflects on curating the popular exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination, and its online legacy. You can’t keep a good...

“To Mr Pope att Button’s Coffee House”: translating Homer on scraps

Friday, June 19, 2020

by Tabitha Driver, Cataloguer Modern Archives & Manuscripts. Find out more about the Library's collections of material relating to Alexander Pope on Discovering Literature. Though we have been unable to explore physical collections directly during the last few months, their...

‘For it was the middle of June’: Dalloway Day

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

By Laura Walker, Lead Curator of Modern Archives and Manuscripts. Discover more about the British Library’s Virginia Woolf collections on Discovering Literature and find the three manuscript notebooks containing drafts of Mrs Dalloway on Digitised Manuscripts. See the Royal Society...

The Gersum Project: A New Resource to Dig Up Viking Treasure amongst English Words

Friday, May 29, 2020

a guest blog by the Gersum Project Team. Read more about the Gersum Project and the Library's work with contemporary accents and dialects. When we think about Viking treasure in Britain, images of swords, coins and jewellery often spring to...

More blog posts

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.