We have one of the largest collections of maps, plans and topographical views in the world, numbering some 4.5 million, with a chronological spread of over 2,000 years.

Collection guides

The Maps Reading Room in the British Library

Maps Reading Room

  • Find information on the shelves
  • Access online databases and electronic books and journals
  • Order collection items to the Reading Room via our catalogues

If you need help, ask our Information Specialists at the enquiry desk or contact the Maps Reference Service Team.

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

Mon: 10.00 – 17.00
Tue – Sat: 09.30 – 17.00
Sun & English Public Holidays: closed

Mon 10.00 – 20.00
Tue - Thu 09.30 – 20.00
Fri – Sat 09.30 – 17.00
Sun & English Public Holidays Closed - See more at: http://www.bl.uk/subjects/news-media#sthash.Wb5AILRq.dpuf

Opening hours for all Reading Rooms

Blog posts

The Ultimate Tourist Souvenir: John Rocque’s 1750 Map of Rome

Monday, January 29, 2018

For many of the thousands of British men and women who ventured abroad during the eighteenth century, travelling to Italy was the highlight of the trip. To some it was even considered an essential activity for any aspiring socialite or...

Captain Wellby and his 1,000-mile march

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Captain Montagu Sinclair Wellby (1866-1900) was already a veteran of several exploratory expeditions when he set out from the Abyssinian (now Ethiopian) capital Addis Ababa on his marathon journey in December 1898. Along the way he produced a series of...

Shoreditch according to Goldfinger

Monday, October 16, 2017

A remarkable new acquisition has arrived! Planning your neighbourhood is a proposal on twenty display boards for post-war reconstruction produced by an architect Ernő Goldfinger and Ursula Blackwell in 1944 for the Army Bureau of Current Affairs. Planning Your Neighbourhood....

Maps in GCSE resource cupboards

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Yesterday I gave a keynote presentation at the RGS-IBG Schools event 'Looking ahead at GCSE geography and history: getting the best results' with the Historical Association. If you did a Venn diagram of history and geography you’d get a historic...

More blog posts

Projects

Georeferencing

Crowdsourcing location data to make a selection of its vast collections of maps fully searchable and viewable using popular online geotechnologies.

Off the map

A videogame design competition for UK higher education students

All projects

Library experts

Tom Harper

Curator, Antiquarian mapping

Case studies

…...Discovering a lost 15th-century city...…

Using our maps collection: Diana Newall, art historian

External links

The British Library is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Charles Close Society

Dedicated to the study of OS mapping

Ordnance Survey

Ordnance Survey for Great Britain

Shop our maps-inspired range

Maps Shop Item: Exhibition Book

Maps and the 20th century

A global story of the most turbulent century in history through its most powerful and important object: the map.

£20

Maps Shop item: Cross Stitch World Map

Cross Stitch Map

A world map printed on cross stitch fabric and mounted on a wooden frame.

£25

Maps Shop Item: Orange Globe Light

Globe Light Orange

See the world, see the light. A bold and elegant globe light.

£85