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

Harold Pinter’s Drafts of The Proust Screenplay

Monday, October 12, 2020

a guest blog by Patrick Armstrong, PhD Candidate at the University of Cambridge. Read more about the Library's collections relating to Harold Pinter on Discovering Literature. ‘In order that the film artist may create a work of art’, Rudolf Arnheim...

‘A Dittie most Excellent’: Catholic songs and poems from time of King James I

Friday, October 9, 2020

by Tabitha Driver, Cataloguer Modern Archives & Manuscripts. Add MS 15225 is a collection of largely religious songs and poems, many on Catholic themes, dating from the early years of the 17th century. It has now been made available online...

In Memory of Sir Ronald Harwood (1934-2020)

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

by Eleanor Casson, Cataloguer for Contemporary Archives and Manuscripts. The Ronald Harwood Papers are available to consult, for free, in the Manuscripts Reading Room at St. Pancras. Sir Ronald Harwood © Terry O'Neill Sir Ronald Harwood, celebrated playwright, novelist and...

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala: A Lifelong Refugee (1927-2013)

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

By Pauline McGonagle, Collaborative PhD candidate with the British Library and University of Exeter working on the Ruth Prawer Jhabvala archive. Pauline's work on Ruth Prawer Jhabvala has recently appeared in Wasifiri and formed part of a case-study on collaborative...

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.