We're the national library of the UK. We'd like to show you some of our beautiful collections and tell the stories of the people who use them.
‘For sale, the following slaves, Rachel, a good washer, and her son Anthony.’ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
This copy of the Antigua Gazette from 1816 offers a horrifying insight into the world of Caribbean slave society, with enslaved adults and children advertised alongside goods and merchandise. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The Gazette also offers a reward for the capture of an enslaved woman named Patty who had absconded. Escape was a dangerous but significant form of slave resistance in the Caribbean. Many who successfully escaped established independent communities. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Take a deeper look at the historical relationship between Britain and the Caribbean in our free exhibition, Windrush: Songs in a Strange Land. Find out more by clicking the link in our bio. #BLWindrush
There’s more to the Library than books. In fact, we’re pretty sure there’s something #ForEveryone here.
We really love seeing photos of what you love about the British Library. Thank you @taphotografik for sharing this snap of our Philatelic collections.
The magnificent painting in this book, Carmina Regia, was intended as a gift for Robert of Anjou, King of Naples from 1309-43. It illustrates a long poem that includes many references to classical mythology.
The illustration here is the Judgement of Paris, with the queen of the gods, Juno, crowned in the centre, Pallas Athena, the goddess of wisdom to the left, and Venus, to the right.
Paris indicates his choice of the most beautiful by giving an olive branch to Venus after she bribed him with the promise of Helen’s hand in marriage. Athena’s displeasure is noted not only in her expression but also the text on her dress, which accuses Paris of poor eyesight and Venus of cheating.
See these pages on display in our Treasures Gallery, free and open daily #ForEveryone. Explore the collection item further by clicking the link in our bio.
(Tuscany, c. 1335, Royal 6 E. ix, ff. 22r)
#Onthisday in 1772 James Cook’s ship HMS Resolution set sail from Plymouth. This was the start of Cook’s second voyage, in continued search of the mythical Great Southern Continent.
During the expedition, he circumnavigated the globe further south than anyone had done before, including crossing the Antarctic Circle three times. Click the link in our bio to learn more about the journey. #BLCookVoyages
(Image from Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales)
Two brave souls unfazed by heights. Five night shifts. 35 hours. That’s what it takes to clean the King’s Library Tower #ForEveryone to enjoy.
Window cleaners Bernie and Barry recently worked their magic so the tower remains suitably spick and span. ‘I don’t mind heights; the higher I am, the better I feel!’ Bernie told us.
Divorced, beheaded, died. Divorced, beheaded, survived. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
King Henry VIII married his sixth and final wife, Catherine Parr, on this day in 1543. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
This letter was sent from the King to Catherine in 1544 with news from Boulogne in France. (Cotton Caligula E. IV, f.56v)
The Library’s Entrance Hall was designed to be inviting #ForEveryone, with natural light and the scale of the building opening up as visitors get further inside – so as not to overwhelm them with a sheer size that could, in the first instance, seem threatening.
With this idea in mind, the scale of the building ascends in a sequence of waves to the full height at the centre of five and a half floors.
How do you feel when you step inside the British Library? #LibraryMemories
Here's something for map lovers. If you come to our Treasures Gallery you’ll now see this unusual moon globe. It’s made of glass and has a hole in the base to allow a candle to be put inside, highlighting the Moon’s features from within. Free and open daily #ForEveryone, what will you discover with #BLTreasures?
(Paris, around 1850. Maps G.41)
PS Our galleries are kept to 17-19 degrees centigrade to protect the treasures in the collection #heatwaveUK#justsaying
At 16, Jane Austen wrote a spoof History of England as told by ‘a partial, prejudiced, & ignorant historian’. From Henry IV to Charles I, turn the pages of her work through the link in our bio to enjoy her comical retelling of events.
You can see more Austen #BLTreasures like her writing desk in our gallery, free and open daily.
Still waiting for your fairy-tale moment this #InternationalKissingDay? Maybe it’s time to go back to basics with this Georgian guide to courtship.
Offering advice on embarrassment-free marriage proposals and ‘how to make a prudent Choice in a Partner for Life’, The New Lover’s Instructor contains fictional love letters and dialogues, intended as templates to use during courtship.
Essential reading. Only one shilling. (Link in our bio)
Opening today: Crystal Te Moananui-Squares's portraits of Pacific communities in the UK explore identity and connection between cultures while responding to historical interpretations of items in our #BLCookVoyages exhibition.
Free / Second Floor Gallery
This watercolour by John Webber depicts a Pā or fortified settlement at Queen Charlotte Sound in New Zealand. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The journal of David Samwell, the surgeon’s mate on James Cook’s third voyage, tells the story of the ships arriving at Queen Charlotte Sound in early 1777: the ship ‘became a second Noahs Ark, [and] poured out the Horses, Cattle, Sheep, Goats &c. with peacocks, Turkeys, Geese & Ducks, to the Great Astonishment of the New Zealanders’. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
They brought European livestock and crops as gifts for the people of New Zealand and Tahiti. Although well-intentioned, the introduction of new plants and animals could have devastating consequences for local species. #BLCookVoyages