Medieval manuscripts blog

Bringing our medieval manuscripts to life

01 April 2018

New regulations for consulting manuscripts

In accordance with the Public Health and Safety at Work Act, the British Library would like to remind its readers that new regulations will come into force this weekend in the Manuscripts Reading Room. Please study this notice carefully and share it with others who may be affected.

The British Library building at St Pancras and the sculpture of Sir Isaac Newton.

1.  Protective clothing must be worn at all times. For the avoidance of confusion, 'protective clothing' is interpreted here as comprising one or more of the following items: white gloves, hard hats, boiler suits, steel-capped boots, hi-visibility vests, helmets, bee-keeping outfits, coats of armour. Please note, the wearing of flipflops or snorkels is not permitted.

2.  Applications to view restricted manuscripts should be submitted in triplicate, on parchment, written in medieval Latin. Readers are advised to write clearly, preferably in uncial script. Applications in cursive minuscule will be rejected.

3.  Noise should be kept to an absolute minimum. Readers should especially refrain from tutting when they encounter a scribal error or discover that someone has miscopied an 's' as an 'f'.

4.  For a trial period only, readers will be able to make engravings and plastercasts of the manuscripts they are studying, upon presentation of two passport-sized photographs and a stamped addressed envelope.

5.  A trolley serving drinks and light refreshments will pass through the Reading Room at 11am and again at 3.30pm.

6.  The uv lamp can be booked for periods of up to 10 minutes at a time. Readers are reminded that the uv lamp is not a sunbed, and that towels and tanning lotion can under no circumstances be taken into the uv booth.

7.  Readers wishing to view papyri should report to the reference enquiries desk, in order to fill in a short questionnaire detailing their academic prowess, research credentials and medical history. There is no reason for this regulation, it just gives the staff something to do.

8.  These regulations shall apply only to customers using the Manuscripts Reading Room on Sunday, 1 April 2018.


By order of @BLMedieval.


Ridere! (trans: LOL!)

Happy A prim. Fools Day


No snorkels?! Well, we may have to take this up with the proper (or improper) authority.

Even if the other rules have passed away, please keep no. 5! It wouldn’t be the first repository where I’ve been offered a coffee next to my manuscript...

Brilliant, made me chorkel out loud!

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