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Special Collections

Access and opening hours

Please note: The Foyle Special Collections Library Reading Room is closed from Wednesday 18 March, until further notice, due to the coronavirus outbreak.


Image of elephant from Ptolemy. La Geografia, 1548Welcome to the web pages of the Foyle Special Collections Library, where we hope you will find all the information you need about our collections and services.

Our collections, built up over centuries by purchase, gift and bequest, contain some 200,000 printed works, as well as maps, slides, sound recordings and manuscript material.

If you would like any more information or advice on visiting, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Introductory leaflet

A printed introductory leaflet describing our collections and services is available here and through the link showing the cover, below:

Cover of Foyle Special Collections Library leaflet, 2016












Visiting us

The Foyle Special Collections Library welcomes all King’s students and staff, and members of the public, to use our collections.

The Foyle Special Collections Library, The Maughan Library, Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1LR

A location map is available at the bottom of this page.

Opening hours:

Monday - Friday 9.30-17.00. 

We are closed on public holidays and over the Christmas and New Year period. Occasionally, the Reading Room is closed for visits and seminars.

King's students and staff

King’s students and staff must present their university identification card and sign the visitors’ book upon arrival.

Other users

All external users must present a photographic form of identification, e.g. passport, driving licence, university ID card, or a letter of introduction.

All visitors to the Foyle Special Collections Library are required to sign the visitors’ book upon arrival.

Entrance to the Foyle Special Collections Library

Finding material and using the Library catalogue

You are welcome to visit without an appointment and we are happy to help with your enquiry.

However, to help you make the most of your visit - and this particularly applies to visitors from outside King's - we recommend that you Contact Us to make an appointment at least one working day in advance, either by telephone, email, or in writing.

Full contact and address details are available here.

By consulting the Special Collections subset of the library catalogue before your visit and giving us full details of the material you would like to see, you can help us to ensure that we have items ready for you on arrival.

Please see the link to the catalogue here

Search tips for getting the best out of the catalogue are provided below:

Special Collections catalogue search hints

Alternatively, material can be ordered in person in the Reading Room. When you visit, we are happy to help you to search the catalogue in order to identify material relevant to your studies.

The Reading Rooms are supervised at all times.

Disabled readers

  • The reading room is wheelchair-accessible via the Maughan Library
  • A Topaz XL magnifier is available for visually impaired readers
  • The use of tape recorders for taking notes may be permitted at the discretion of the staff and with the agreement of other readers present
  • There are accessible toilet facilities within the department

It may be possible to arrange parking facilities if users Contact us in advance.

Travel information

The nearest London Underground stations are Chancery Lane (5 mins walk) Temple (10 mins walk), Holborn (10 mins walk), Charing Cross (15 mins walk), Embankment (15 mins walk), and many bus routes stop nearby on Fleet Street and High Holborn.

Please see the Transport for London website for more details.

Map showing the location of the Foyle Special Collections Library, and details of the surrounding areas


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