Maughan Library and Special Collections at King’s College London


Interesting Facts:

  • Holds over 180,000 items ranging in date from 1500s to present
  • Very broad focus with an emphasis on the humanities
  • Was instrumental in the 1916 celebration of William Shakespeare

The collections held at King’s College surprised me with how interesting they were! We started our tour with a room filled with treasures ranging from this fascinating medical text that mixed the fantastic with the scientific


A collection of Allen Ginsberg’s poetry humorously inscribed to a professor at the college


And most interesting, and chosen particularly for the group of American students visiting their collection, an original copy of Common Sense by Thomas Paine where the printer has left perfectly spaced blank portions of the text that were later filled in by hand. A clever way to avoid being considered treasonous!

“I’ve been reading ‘Common Sense’ by Thomas Paine so men say that I’m intense or I’m insane. You want a revolution? I want a revelation! So listen to my declaration…” excerpt from “The Schuyler Sisters” by Lin-Manuel Miranda in his gorgeous musical “Hamilton”.


We were treated to tea and biscuits and given a bit of time to peruse an exhibit on…you guessed it the great Bard himself! It was fascinating to listen to the curator of the exhibit, John Wilby, talk about the process he went through to create the exhibit. I spent so much time talking to him about the things he left out, and looking carefully through each item that I practically swallowed my tea in one gulp–shameful, I know–and ate my biscuit quickly as we toured the rest of the library. We were able to see the original shelves which served as a support for the building, and then treated to an incredible view of the city. I am fairly certain all of our jaws dropped when we walked into the gorgeous reading room. We made a quick and silent turn around the room, and all too soon we were leaving.
For more information on this charming collection, click here!



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