The British Library

Key Information

  • Collection Name: Department of Manuscripts
  • Reference Number: 002
  • Date of last revision: 13 December 2017
  • Address: 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB
  • Person in charge: Tom Harper
  • Contact telephone number(s): 02074127702
  • Contact email address:
  • Website:
  • Opening hours: Tue-Sat: 9:30-17:00; Mon: 10:00-17:00
  • Access: Access by reader’s pass. How to get a reader's pass -
    For selected material you will need a letter of introduction.
    Access to manuscripts and archives -
    For restricted material contact Reference Team at
  • Facilities for copying: Items in our collections can be copied, subject to UK copyright legislation and preservation guidelines. The Library provides a range of copying services, some available in the Library's Reading Rooms, others available to remote customers.
    Photography is allowed. Some restrictions may apply. Ask at the Reference Desk.


Post-classical, Medieval and Renaissance cartography; military, estate and architectural plans; nautical charts; and topographical drawings of Great Britain, the English-speaking world, Western Europe, the Mediterranean and oceanic areas.

Special collections include the RUSI MAP COLLECTION (approx. 900 items, l7th-2Oth centuries); the BAUZA COLLECTION of South American Cartography (ca.270 18th century manuscript maps); the COTTON 'AUGUSTUS' COLLECTION (ca.250 16th-17th century manuscript maps); and the maps of the parishes, baronies, counties and provinces of Ireland, mainly from William Petty's 'Down' Survey of 1655-58.

Catalogues available:

Explore The British Library; Archives and Manuscripts

Printed catalogues available in Manuscripts Reading Room

Published by: Clare Gordon

Clare Gordon