on May 26, 2009
When I heard that the British Library would be hosting a special exhibition on Henry VIII, curated by expert Dr. David Starkey, I knew I could absolutely not miss it! I pre-booked tickets online and we went the morning after we arrived in London from Brussels. The exhibit was really marvellous! There were 500 year old documents, books with stunning illuminations, paintings, drawings and a few artifacts. There were also some interactive displays and apparently some sort of holograms of Henry that I completely failed to see, though Graham did. The audio accompaniment was narrated by Starkey himself. It was really amazing to see all these papers and letters that survived so long, some in King Henry's own handwriting. Seeing the documents that sent Anne Boleyn to her death or the divorce decree from Katherine of Aragon, things like that, just makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up when you think of how things changed because of it.The British Library is housed in a newish building, moved from the British Museum. It's next to St. Pancras and King's Cross train stations in the north part of central London, also a short distance from Euston station. The British Library also has a permanent exhibit of their "treasures", rare books and papers, original documents and books, such as Captain Cook's diaries, a copy of the Magna Carta, the sheet music for Handel's Messiah, etc. This exhibit is free. They usually do have several temporary exhibits like this in the library, some larger than others and some you might need to prebook, some you can buy tickets at the door. They have a cafe and they have the lovely reading room. The website has an online shop and galleries and information about all the exhibits.
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