The British Library holds a wealth of resources relating to the history of the UK and Ireland, from printed books, newspapers and pamphlets to manuscript diaries, letters and maps.

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

Over 500 collection items from the British Library and institutions across Europe

Blog posts

Unfinished Business: finally giving black feminist history and contribution its due

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

A guest post by Dr Hannana Siddiqui Dr Hannana Siddiqui is a leading multi-award winning expert and activist on violence against black and minority women. She has worked at Southall Black Sisters for 35 years and is also a freelance...

Help trace the stories of enslaved people in the Caribbean using colonial newspapers

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

We are excited to launch a new crowdsourcing project that explores the links between slavery and newspapers in late 18th and early 19th century Barbados: Agents of Enslavement: Colonial newspapers in the Caribbean and hidden genealogies of the enslaved. This...

The Term 'Shater' and its Use in the India Office Records

Monday, July 19, 2021

Entry of the Shah of Persia, Fath ‘Ali Shah Qajar, into Tehran preceded by a long row of shaters. Morier, A Second Journey..., after p. 386. Public domain As part of cataloguing the India Office Records (IOR), we occasionally come...

Adding 1,277 East African maps to Georeferencer

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

I’m delighted that 1,277 maps from our War Office Archive have been added to the Georeferencer in the last few days. These military intelligence maps relate to Eastern Africa, particularly modern-day Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Somaliland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe and...

Latest modern history blog posts