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British Library Gets Listed Status

By August 3, 2015Libraries

Listed buildings usually have to be of a certain age, but not so for the British Library, which has just become one of the youngest buildings to be given Grade 1 listed status on the grounds of ‘outstanding architectural and historic interest’. The British Library isn’t only the largest library in the UK, but it’s also the largest public building to be built here in the 20th Century and now it will be preserved for future generations.

The British Library was designed by architect Sir Colin St. John Wilson and his partner MJ Long. Construction started in 1982 and the library finally opened its doors in 1997. However with the mammoth task of moving 14 million books into the library it was 2001 until it was fully stocked, giving some perspective to the library’s size.

The library has five public floors, eleven reading rooms, all surrounding the centrepiece of the King’s Library Tower, containing George III’s Library, but that isn’t its only feature as it is home to important documents such as the Magna Carta manuscripts, handwritten lyrics from the Beatles and other important documents.

The British Library is one of seven other 20th Century libraries given listed status with six others listed at Grade II. With so many libraries up and down the UK at risk, it seems a rather wise move to protect the important ones and their use.

The British Library has not been without controversy. A modern building it has divided opinion since its inception and no doubt this move will also have its lovers and haters. Whatever you feel about the building it will now be protected and around for generations to come.

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