The British Museum (Biographical details)

The British Museum (institution/organisation; British; 1753)

Also known as

British Museum


Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, London, WC1B 3DG.


Founded by act of Parliament in 1753 following the acquisition of the collections of Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753) and incorporating those of Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford, and the library of Sir Robert Cotton. The collections were originally housed in Montague House, since demolished. The southern section of the current building was designed by Sir Robert Smirke and erected between 1823 and 1852. The natural history collections were transferred to a new building in South Kensington in 1881 to form the Natural History Museum and The British Library was formally created by act of Parliament in 1973.


The many histories include: Sir Frank Francis, 'The Treasures of the British Museum', London: Thames & Hudson 1971; Edward Miller, 'That Noble Cabinet. A History of the British Museum', London: Deutsch, 1973; David M. Wilson, 'The British Museum. A History', London: The British Museum, 2002; R.G.W. Anderson et al., 'Enlightening the British: Knowledge, discovery and the museum in the eighteenth century', London: The British Museum, 2003.