A visit to British Library, London,UK

I fell in love with libraries of the Western world when I first visited University of Toronto's expansive Robarts Library in downtown Toronto where I took a few courses in mid-2000s. During the visit I laid hands on my life's first hard copy of 'Baburnama', the autobiography of Mohammad Zahiruddin Babur, founder of Moghul Empire. This re-triggered my high school interest in history that led to me to research the history of the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom. I started writing on various themes related to the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom for various publications- newspapers, popular magazines and my own blogs. The information was also used to further the cause of heritage education and conservation through Bengaluru by Foot, of which I am a co-founder with Mansoor Ali, an architect and another history and heritage buff. In tune with this need for continuous research I had been longing to visit the British Library, London, UK since a long time. I had the good fortune of spending a couple of days in London in November 2016 which I did to visit BL.

Here are a few images from the visit (and facts sourced from www.bl.uk):

A view of King's Cross St. Pancras station of London Tube, the nearest station to British Library

The historic St. Pancras hotel along the way to British Library from the London Underground

The walk to British Library from St. Pancras Underground station
Fallen maple leaves in the Autumn hue
Here are some facts* about the British Library at St. Pancras:
' - The largest public building constructed in the UK in the 20th century
 - The basements extend to a depth of 24.5 metres
 - A total floor area of over 112,000 sq metres spread over 14 floors - 9 above ground, 5 below
 - 10 million bricks and 180,000 tonnes of concrete were needed to complete the building
 - Awarded grade I listed building status in August 2015'

*Source: http://www.bl.uk/aboutus/quickinfo/facts/

The British Library at St. Pancras is 'the largest public building constructed in UK in 20th century'

Another view of British Library at St. Pancras
The library opens at 09:30 AM. Thankfully I reached the gates at 9 o' clock and saw a long line build behind me as I waited. 
The staff at British Library are very cheerful and helping. My purpose of visiting London was fulfilled as I could lay my hands on the images and documents I was looking for. 

The collection of Robert Arthur Ellis (1873-1962), Wesleyan Methodist Minister between 1898-1904 AD was donated to British Library, London by his son Arthur E Ellis. It contains rare images on south India, particularly Mysore Province, Nilgiris and Palni hills. 
Here are a few other facts on British Library, quoting its website*:
' - The collection includes well over 150 million items, in most known languages
 - 3 million new items are added every year
 - The collections require over 625 km of shelves, and grows by 12 km every year
 - If you see 5 items each day, it would take you over 80,000 years to see the whole of the collection
 - We have on-site space for over 1,200 Readers
 - Over 16,000 people use the collections each day (on site and online)
 - Nearly 400,000 visit our Reading Rooms
 - Over 100 million items have been supplied to users all over the world
 - Material over 3,000 years old (Chinese oracle bones) - and today's newspapers
 - Over 4 million maps'

*Source: http://www.bl.uk/aboutus/quickinfo/facts/


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