Icons of England
  • Introduction
  • The Icons
  • Nominations
  • News
  • Learn & Play
  • Your Comments

British Museum

716 of 1169 nominations


British Museum

Is this an icon?


British Museum

Almost five million people visit the British Museum every year to see two million years of world history and culture. Around seven million objects are housed here, including the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles (the latter the subject of a continuing campaign for their repatriation to Greece).

Opened to the public in 1759, it’s the oldest museum in the world and its Reading Room has been used by the likes of Karl Marx, Mahatma Ghandi and George Bernard Shaw. Recent developments include the opening of Europe’s largest covered square, the Great Court, at the end of 2000, and the introduction of online resources like Turning The Pages, which allows internet users to leaf through documents like Leonardo da Vinci’s personal notebook, the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Qur’an.  To read more about the Lindisfarne Gospels, click here. The museum, on Great Russell Street in London, is open six days a week and admission is free, although there is a charge for special exhibitions.

Photo: Looking north from the South Portico into the Great Court.  © Nigel Young


Your comments

It houses treasures from around the world

sharon Adams

The British Museum is an icon for England, Scotland, Wales and Ulster that's why it's British and one of the best. So it can be an English Icon today and the rest of you can have it tomorrow. Stop quibbling. Boundaries don't exist for robins nor icons. It is a beautiful building full of mind-broadening smaller icons around every corner. The best corner to turn is the one where you come face-to-face with an Egyptian mummy - breathtaking, in more ways than one for the mummy and you. Great place. Great icon. Sylvia Spinks
sylvia spinks

The British Museum is certainly of national importance, but could not be classed an 'English icon'. Unfortunately, this nomination is yet another example of British institutions, culture and heritage being annexed to England.

View All Comments (5)



My nomination is the garden shed.