Taking Liberties

November 2, 2008

Spent Friday evening at Late at the Library – an event to celebrate the opening of the British Library’s new exhibition, Taking Liberties:

We take our rights for granted. Free speech. A free press. The rule of law. The power to vote in those who make the laws and spend our taxes. And the power to vote them out.

These rights didn’t simply happen. They were hard won, the product of hundreds of years of debate, struggle, bloodshed and war. Many people died for them: heroes, villains, and some who were both.

Nor are these rights ours forever. They can be changed or removed, and at various times in our history, they have been.

The British Library’s free exhibition ‘Taking Liberties: the struggle for Britain’s freedoms and rights’ uncovers the roots of British democracy over a period of more than 900 years. (About page).

In order to catch the main entertainment, we only had time to see half the exhibition, so will have to return another day, but it was especially good to see items like Charles I’s death warrant and, showing my local loyalties, the Ayr manuscript.

Full list of “star items” here – part of the exhibition mini-site, which includes details of opening times and firther special events. You can also keep track of what’s happening via the Curator’ Blog.

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