Department of Manuscripts

The British Library

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


96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB

Main contact

Telephone number


E-mail address
Opening hours

Tue-Sat: 9:30-17:00; Mon: 10:00-17:00


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


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.


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