As well as being the national library for the United Kingdom, The British Library also has a rather exciting exhibitions programme. I visited last weekend and walked around gasping at the amazing items that were on display. Oooo Aaaah…
Here are some of my favourites. (Pictures were not allowed so my sources are cited)
‘Hallelujah’ chorus from Handel’s ‘Messiah’, listen to it here and find it in the Sir John Ritblat Gallery. The Bible in English Illustrated from 1537 is unbelievably detailed and its hard to imagine how intricate the printing process must have been.
You can see Oscar Wilde’s ‘Ballad of Reading Gaol’ which is the last thing he wrote before his death. The original Paul McCartney lyrics for Yesterday are there along with an explanation that he woke up with the tune in his head one morning and was convinced it was already a song. This is the British Library but it is very easy to see that multiculturalism is nothing new. Image taken from wikipedia.org
The Magna Carta, created in 1215, was a charter limiting the powers of the King. Although the content is no longer relevant it did pave the way for constitutional law in the english speaking world. My thoughts instantly turn to..
At this time you can see Jack Kerouac’s original scroll copy of ‘On The Road’.On The Road portrays a mysterious, semi-nomadic subculture dramatically different from the conformist and materialistic American culture of the 1950s. Kerouac produced the 120ft scroll by taping pages of tracing paper together to feed the typewriter and write without interruption. The text was written in 3 weeks, it is single-spaced, without paragraphs, and edited in pencil by Kerouac. A lot of my friends love this novel, but I didn’t enjoy it. Give me Bukowski or Miller any day!
There is a lot more to see so make sure you go, its right next to Kings Cross Station. The cafe is jolly nice, I’d recommend the Walnut and Coffee cake if you’re feeling indulgent x
Entry Fee: Free
Location: 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB