British Library (1)

I went to renew my reader’s ticket at the British Library today and realised that I have never actually used the new British Library, but am a veteran of the old Round Reading Room where I sat, but not every day, at S6 or thereabouts, until I discovered that the atmosphere was quieter and more rarefied in the North Library, where one had access to rare books. Luckily, my name was still logged on the system, except my birth date was recorded as 12th. December 1900. I understood why the lady at the desk looked at me a touch sceptically. It’s quite nice to be back in the special quiet of a library reading room, undisturbed by anything except the sound of distant coughs.


5 thoughts on “British Library (1)

  1. You are not alone without a new reader’s ticket for the BL. Although I have been to the cafe there several times, I failed to renew my reader’s ticket for the new premise in St Pancras. So my memory of the BL is always of the Bloomsbury one with the round reading room. I was also the regular user of the North Reading Room where the atmosphere was much nicer and I found more beautiful readers there!

  2. joan says:

    I too have only ever used the old library. My memories of it mainly concern the amazingly convoluted system of ordering books (especially if like me you were travelling from a different part of the country and had to send in slips in advance), the wonderful ladies’ toilets with a proper waiting room area and the notes left on my desk by bored male scholars asking me out for a drink (I was so much younger then!) Oh and the time I arrived from Manchester and it was closed due to heavy snowfall (evidentally not enough staff could make it in) and I think it was Raphael Samuel who was pretty much ready to man the barricades for us to gain entry!

  3. Barbara Bryant says:

    Looking forward to seeing you in the corridors of the BL which I find a delight to work in thanks in large part to the magnificent architecture of Colin St John Wilson and MJ Long’s building.

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