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The British Museum Reading Room is the subject of an eponymous poem, "The British Museum Reading Room", by Louis MacNeice. Much of the action of David Lodge's 1965 novel The British Museum Is Falling Down takes place in the old Reading Room. The 'Glass Ceiling' of Anabel Donald's 1994 novel is the ceiling of the Reading Room, where the denouement is set.

Alfred Hitchcock used the Reading Room and the dome of the British Museum as a location for the climax of his first sound film Blackmail (1929). Other movies with key scenes in the Reading Room include Night of the Demon (1957)

With its four vast wings, 43 Greek temples inspired columns, triangular pediment, and enormous steps, it's certainly not what you'd expect to see in central London.

Its grandeur was designed to reflect all the 'wondrous objects housed inside' by the architect Sir Robert Smirke in 1823. It emulated classical Greek architecture – a style that had become increasingly popular since the 1750s when western Europeans 'rediscovered' ancient Greece.

The building was completed in 1852.This building using the latest technology: concrete floors, a cast-iron frame filled in with London stock brick, and Portland stone on the front layer of the building.

The quadrangle building won the Royal Institute of British Architects' Gold Medal in 1853.

Since then, more recent developments include the round Reading Room with its domed ceiling and the Norman Foster-designed Great Court which opened in 2000.

The British Museum Reading Room is the subject of an eponymous poem, "The British Museum Reading Room", by Louis MacNeice. Much of the action of David Lodge's 1965 novel The British Museum Is Falling Down takes place in the old Reading Room. The 'Glass Ceiling' of Anabel Donald's 1994 novel is the ceiling of the Reading Room, where the denouement is set.

Alfred Hitchcock used the Reading Room and the dome of the British Museum as a location for the climax of his first sound film Blackmail (1929). Other movies with key scenes in the Reading Room include Night of the Demon (1957) and in the 2001 Japanese anime OVA Read or Die, the Room is used as a secret entrance to the British Library's fictional "Special Operations Division".

In Sir Max Beerbohm's short story, Enoch Soames, first published in May 1916, an obscure writer makes a deal with the Devil to visit the Reading Room one hundred years in the future, in order to know what posterity thinks about him and his work.

The British Museum and the Reading Room serve as the settings for An Encounter at the Museum, an anthology of romance novellas by Claudia Dain and Deb Marlowe, among others.

Virginia Woolf made reference to the British Museum Reading Room in a passage from her 1929 essay, A Room of One's Own. She wrote, "The swing doors swung open, and there one stood under the vast dome as if one were a thought in the huge bald forehead which is so splendidly encircled by a band of famous names." [14]

Richard Henry Dana, Jr. visited the Reading Room on 10 September 1860 with his London friend Henry T. Parker, and reported that

Parker calls & takes me to the British Museum, to see the Reading Room, wh. has been built since 1856 [Dana's prior visit]. It is the room where students & readers have their desks, & consult the textbooks, cyclopedias, catalogs &c., & from wh. they send orders for books to the Library – the Library not being visited, at all, for study. There is no such room as this in Europe. It is a circle, with a dome, lighted from above, & its diameter is 4 feet greater than that of the dome of St. Paul's. The autographs are now open to the view of all, spread out in glass cases, – as well as much other lit. curiosities. This is the grandest Literary & Scientific institution (

Alfred Hitchcock used the Reading Room and the dome of the British Museum as a location for the climax of his first sound film Blackmail (1929). Other movies with key scenes in the Reading Room include Night of the Demon (1957) and in the 2001 Japanese anime OVA Read or Die, the Room is used as a secret entrance to the British Library's fictional "Special Operations Division".

In Sir Max Beerbohm's short story, Enoch Soames, first published in May 1916, an obscure writer makes a deal with the Devil to visit the Reading Room one hundred years in the future, in order to know what posterity thinks about him and his work.

The British Museum and the Reading Room serve as the settings for An Encounter at the Museum, an anthology of romance novellas by Claudia Dain and Deb Marlowe, among others.

Virginia Woolf made reference to the British Museum Reading Room in a passage from her 1929 essay, A Room of One's Own. She wrote, "The swing doors swung open, and there one stood under the vast dome as if one were a thought in the huge bald forehead which is so splendidly encircled by a band of famous names." [14]

Richard Henry Dana, Jr. visited the Reading Room on 10 September 1860 with his London friend Henry T. Parker, and reported that

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Parker calls & takes me to the British Museum, to see the Reading Room, wh. has been built since 1856 [Dana's prior visit]. It is the room where students & readers have their desks, & consult the textbooks, cyclopedias, catalogs &c., & from wh. they send orders for books to the Library – the Library not being visited, at all, for study. There is no such room as this in Europe. It is a circle, with a dome, lighted from above, & its diameter is 4 feet greater than that of the dome of St. Paul's. The autographs are now open to the view of all, spread out in glass cases, – as well as much other lit. curiosities. This is the grandest Literary & Scientific institution (not for instruction) in the world. The Reading Room, I told Parker, was a temple to the deification of Bibliology.[15]

The writer Bernard Falk (1882-1960) quotes the British historian Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) as having declared that the Reading Room of the British Museum was a convenient asylum for imbeciles whose friends wished them out of mischief's way.[16]

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