The British Library in London

Photo of The British Library in London, England
Photograph © London Tourist Board.
Photo of The British Library in London, England
Photograph © London Tourist Board.
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The British Library

96 Euston Road, London, England, Euston NW1
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The British are rabid collectors of information, artifacts, and antiquities. Many of the world's most important museums are on their island. They've been cataloging civilization longer than many countries have been in existence. So, why then, is something with a title as prestigious as "The British Library" in a building so modern? Because it used to be little more than a reading room in the British Museum. This building was erected in 1998 after more than 20 years of planning, bickering, and partisan shenanigans. Before this building was erected, the millions of books in the collection were scattered around the city in other libraries. Getting them all together in one place is a boon to readers and researchers, but was long delayed by design changes and cost overruns. The end result is a reddish-brown building that has not yet earned a soft spot in the public's heart. It looks something like one of the mills that used to line the banks of rivers all over Britain, churning out textiles two centuries ago. But now the product is knowledge, and the warehouse of information this building contains is enough to educate generations of eager learners.

Quick Facts
  • The British Library has 300 kilometers of shelves for underground storage.
  • The original cost estimate was £150,000,000.00.
    "[It looks like] an academy for secret police."
    -Charles, Prince of Wales

    "This labour of love must have seemed at times to be endless."
    -Queen Elizabeth II
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