Tired of London, Tired of Life - A website about things to do in London



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16 March 2010

Admire the British Museum's Great Court

The central court of the British Museum was redeveloped to a design by Norman Foster and Partners in the late 1990s. It reopened in 2000 as the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court.

The original court was designed to be a garden, but in the 1850s the Reading Room and a number of bookstacks were built in the courtyard to house the library department of the Museum and the space was lost. It wasn't until 1997, when the Museum’s library department was relocated to the new British Library on Euston Road that the opportunity arose to re-develop the court.

The court now houses ticket desks, gift shops, a bar and cafe and a lot of very pleasant space for milling around. On late openings, bands sometimes play and there are also twelve sculptures from the Museum collection, spotted around, including one of King Ashurnasirpal II or Assyria, two obelisks of the Egyptian King Nectanebo II and a pair of Chinese guardian figures.

The tessellated glass roof was designed by Buro Happold, and is made up of 1,656 pairs of glass windowpanes. The whole court project cost £100 million and was supported by grants from the Millennium Commission and the Heritage Lottery Fund. For more on the Great Court, see here.

^Picture by Ian Muttoo^


  1. The British Museum es lo más de lo más.
    Hay veces que me paso el día entero allí y mira que he ido veces...
    My fav: Ginger(mummy), so cute!

  2. Concordo inteiramente com Belén, quero também acrescentar que o blog é muito bom.

  3. I usually try to reply to comments, but I must admit that my language skills are very basic.

    Belén, the British Museum certainly is the best of the best, and I am pleased to hear you've spent a whole day there. The mummies are interesting.

    Violeta, I am pleased that you concur entirely with Belén, but that's about all I understand.

  4. Tom, your spanish is very, very good¡¡
    Violeta says: your blog is great

  5. The Great Court really is amazing. I think I went to it about two summers ago, and was hugely impressed, even with all the masses milling around. I found it was actually enough to see just that, and didn't bother with the museum itself; a cultural fix overload, if I recall. Nice to read your blog.

  6. British Museum is a wonderful place to visit. I have been here 4 times. Every visit was memorable and feel like coming back.It is storehouse of all artifacts from all around the world. If you are visiting British Museum, then Rosetta stone should be your 1st priority.I am sure everyone will have a wonderful time.It is a must visit place.

    British Museum London