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The Great Court

The British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG

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Access Guide

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Introduction

  • The Great Court is the largest covered public square in Europe. It is a central hub where visitors can find services and facilities to support their visit to the Museum. There is an Access Guide at the Information Desk and staff can provide further information if required. Audio descriptive guides and BSL guides are available from the Audio Guide Desk.
    The Great Court is the central circulation area on Level 0 of the museum.
    There is level access to the Great Court through the foyer from the Great Russell Street entrance.
    There is level access by lift from the Montague Place entrance.
  • For the British Museum - General Access AccessAble Access Guide please click here (new tab).
  • Comments View
    • The circular building at the centre of the Great Court contains the museum reading room.

Getting Help and Assistance

  • There is a member of staff available for help and assistance.
  • There is a member of staff trained in British Sign Language.
  • The alternative formats documents can be provided in include; Braille on request, large print on request, different languages on request and audio on request.
  • There is an assistance dog toilet or toileting area at the venue/nearby.
  • The assistance dog toilet or toileting area is located in Russell Square Park.
  • Water bowls for assistance dogs are available.
  • There are mobility aids available.
  • The mobility aids available include wheelchairs.
  • To obtain mobility aids please contact the museum in advance by emailing [email protected] or speak to a member of staff at either entrance foyer.
  • There are portable resting stools available to use when going around the museum.
    They are located on the ground floor in Rooms 6, 17 and 24 and on Level 3 in the South Stairs/Lift Lobby and next to the East Stairs landing.
  • There is a BSL Handset Guide of the museum available, which can be collected from the Audio Guide Desk in the Great Court.
    There is a Large Print copy of the Audio Guide available.
    There are free maps of the museum available, please speak to a member of staff.
    There is a large print map of the museum available.
    There are ear defenders available for visitors.

Inside Access

  • Access and Circulation View
    • There is step-free access throughout the area.
    • The type of flooring in corridors/walkways is stone.
    • There is poor colour contrast between the walls and floor in all areas.
    • The lighting levels are good.
  • Signage View
    • Wayfinding signage is provided.
    • The colour, design and typeface of signs is consistent throughout.
    • Dementia friendly signage is not provided.
  • Safe Place(s) View
    • There is not a designated place of safety which can be used by people with dementia, autism or learning disabilities.
  • Audio View
    • This venue does not play background music/sound.
    • There is a hearing assistance system.
    • The system is a portable loop.
    • The hearing loops are located at the information, ticket, family and audio guide desks.
  • Comments View
    • There is some bench seating around the edges of the Great Court and stool seating in the café areas. Portable, folding stools are also available.

Counter (Information)

  • Counter View
    • The counter is located to the right as you enter from the Great Russell Street entrance foyer.
    • The counter is approximately 35m (38yd 10in) from the Great Russell Street entrance.
    • The counter is clearly visible from the entrance.
    • There is step free access to the counter.
    • There is a clear unobstructed route to the counter.
    • The lighting levels at the counter are good.
    • The height of the counter is medium height (77cm - 109cm).
    • There is sufficient space to write or sign documents on the counter.
    • There is not a low section of the counter (76cm or below) available.
    • The counter is staffed.
    • There is a hearing assistance systemat the counter.
    • The type of system is a portable loop.
    • The hearing assistance system is signed.
    • Staff are trained to use the system.
  • Comments View
    • There is a writing shelf 82cm high on the front of the counter.
    • All maps and leaflets, including large print maps, are available from this desk.
    • A large print guide, tactile drawings and a Braille information guide for the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery (Room 4) Touch tour, as well as Touch tour identification are available from this desk.
    • Magnifying glasses are available to borrow.

Counter (Membership and Tickets Desk)

  • Counter View
    • The counter is located to the right as you enter from the Great Russell Street entrance foyer.
    • The counter is approximately 40m (43yd 2ft) from the Great Russell Street entrance.
    • The counter is clearly visible from the entrance.
    • There is step free access to the counter.
    • There is a clear unobstructed route to the counter.
    • There are not windows, glazed screens or mirrors behind the counter which could adversely affect the ability of someone to lip read.
    • The counter is not placed in front of a background which is patterned.
    • The lighting levels at the counter are good.
    • The height of the counter is medium height (77cm - 109cm).
    • There is sufficient space to write or sign documents on the counter.
    • The counter is staffed.
    • There is a hearing assistance systemat the counter.
    • The type of system is a portable loop.
    • The hearing assistance system is signed.
    • Staff are trained to use the system.
  • Comments View
    • There is a writing shelf 82cm high on the front of the counter.

Counter (Audio Guide Desk)

  • Counter View
    • The counter is located to the left as you enter from the Great Russell Street entrance foyer.
    • The counter is approximately 40m (43yd 2ft) from the Great Russell Street entrance.
    • The counter is clearly visible from the entrance.
    • There is step free access to the counter.
    • There is a clear unobstructed route to the counter.
    • There are not windows, glazed screens or mirrors behind the counter which could adversely affect the ability of someone to lip read.
    • The counter is not placed in front of a background which is patterned.
    • The lighting levels at the counter are good.
    • The height of the counter is medium height (77cm - 109cm).
    • There is sufficient space to write or sign documents on the counter.
    • There is a low section of the counter (76cm or below) available.
    • There is sufficient space to write or sign documents on the low section of the counter.
    • There is not a clear knee recess beneath the low section of the counter.
    • The counter is staffed.
    • There is a hearing assistance systemat the counter.
    • The type of system is a portable loop.
    • The hearing assistance system is signed.
    • Staff are trained to use the system.
  • Comments View
    • Audio guides, free audio descriptive guides, the free BSL guide and an interactive game-based family guide are available from this desk.

Counter (Families & Guidebooks)

  • Counter View
    • The counter is located to the left as you enter from the Great Russell Street entrance foyer.
    • The counter is approximately 25m (27yd 1ft) from the Great Russell Street entrance.
    • The counter is clearly visible from the entrance.
    • There is step free access to the counter.
    • There is a clear unobstructed route to the counter.
    • There are not windows, glazed screens or mirrors behind the counter which could adversely affect the ability of someone to lip read.
    • The counter is not placed in front of a background which is patterned.
    • The lighting levels at the counter are good.
    • The height of the counter is medium height (77cm - 109cm).
    • There is sufficient space to write or sign documents on the counter.
    • There is not a low section of the counter (76cm or below) available.
    • The counter is staffed.
    • There is a hearing assistance systemat the counter.
  • Comments View
    • There is a lowered writing shelf 82cm high in front of the desk.
    • Family trails and backpacks are available.
    • Guidebooks are available in several languages.

Book Shop

  • The book shop is located to the right as you enter from the Great Russell Street entrance foyer.
  • There is level access with no doors to enter the book shop.
  • There is a minimum opening of 80cm between fixtures.
  • The majority of aisles are 100cm+.
  • The till counter is low (75cm).
  • There is not a hearing loop at the counter.

Great Court Shop

  • The gift shop is on the opposite side of the Great Court as you enter from the Great Russell Street entrance foyer.
  • There is level access with no doors to enter the shop.
  • The minimum opening between fittings is 90cm.
  • There is ample room to manoeuvre within the shop.
  • The till points are 90cm high, with one at 79cm high.
  • There is not a hearing loop at the counter.

Collections Shop

  • The Collections Shop is located to the left as you enter from the Great Russell Street entrance foyer.
  • There is level access with no doors to enter the shop.
  • The minimum distance between fittings is 100cm.
  • The counter is 90cm high.
  • There is not a lowered section at the counter.
  • There is not a hearing loop at the counter.

Eating and Drinking (Great Court Café)

  • The following information is for the café.
  • The café is located to the far right of the Great Court, as you enter from the Great Russell Street foyer.
  • There is step-free access to the café.
  • Food and/or drinks are ordered from the service counter.
  • Food and/or drinks can be brought to the table.
  • The height of the service counter is medium height (77cm - 109cm).
  • There is not a lowered section of the counter.
  • There is not a hearing assistance system.
  • There is step-free access within the café.
  • There is ample room for a wheelchair user to manoeuvre.
  • The type of flooring in this area is stone.
  • All tables are permanently fixed.
  • No chairs are permanently fixed.
  • No chairs have armrests on both sides.
  • The standard height for tables is 70cm.
  • Plastic/takeaway cups are available.
  • Plastic/takeaway cutlery is available.
  • Drinking straws are available.
  • There are wall menus available.
  • Picture menus are not available.
  • Menus are clearly written.
  • Menus are presented in contrasting colours.
  • The type of food served here is hot and cold meals and snacks.
  • The lighting levels are good.
  • Comments View
    • At busy times, further serving counters and seating areas are opened up to the left of the Great Court as you enter from the Great Russell Street entrance foyer.

Accessible Toilet(s) (Great Court Level 0 - East)

  • There is an/are accessible toilet(s) for public use.
  • Location and Access View
    • The accessible toilet surveyed is not for the sole use of disabled people.
    • This accessible toilet is located to the right of the Great Court, next to the book shop as you enter from the Great Russell Street entrance foyer.
    • This accessible toilet is approximately 50m (54yd 2ft) from the Great Russell Street entrance.
    • There is step-free access to the accessible toilet.
  • Features and Dimensions View
    • This is a shared toilet.
    • A key is not required for the accessible toilet.
    • There is pictorial signage on or near the toilet door.
    • The door opens inwards.
    • The door is heavy.
    • The door is locked by a twist lock.
    • The width of the accessible toilet door is 88cm (2ft 11in).
    • The dimensions of the accessible toilet are 150cm x 280cm (4ft 11in x 9ft 2in).
    • The accessible toilet does have an unobstructed minimum turning space of 150cm x 150cm.
    • The toilet has a non-slip floor.
    • There is a lateral transfer space.
    • As you face the toilet pan the transfer space is on the right.
    • The lateral transfer space is 80cm (2ft 7in).
    • There is a flush, however it is not on the transfer side.
    • There is not a spatula type lever flush.
    • There is a dropdown rail on the transfer side.
    • There is an emergency alarm.
    • The emergency pull cord alarm is fully functional.
    • There is not a flashing fire alarm beacon within the toilet.
    • Disposal facilities are available in the toilet.
    • There is a/are female sanitary and general domestic waste disposal units.
    • There is a/are coat hook(s).
    • There are coat hooks in the toilet at 130cm and 175cm from the floor.
  • Position of Fixtures View
    • There is a/are wall-mounted grab rail(s) available.
    • As you face the toilet the wall-mounted grab rail(s) is/are on both sides.
    • There is a vertical wall-mounted grab rail on the transfer side.
    • There is a horizontal wall-mounted grab rail on the opposite side of the seat to the transfer space.
    • There is a mirror.
    • The mirror is placed at a lower level or at an angle for ease of use.
    • There is not a shelf next to the toilet.
    • The toilet does not have a backrest or a cistern.
    • The height of the toilet seat above floor level is 48cm (1ft 7in).
    • There is a toilet roll holder.
    • The toilet roll holder can be reached from seated on the toilet.
    • The height of the toilet roll holder is 105cm (3ft 5in).
    • There is a wash basin.
    • The wash basin can be reached from seated on the toilet.
    • The wash basin is not placed higher than 74cm (2ft 5in).
    • There are vertical wall-mounted grab rails on both sides of the wash basin.
    • The wash basin tap type is sensor.
    • There is a mixer tap.
    • There is a soap dispenser.
    • The soap dispenser can be reached from seated on the toilet.
    • The height of the soap dispenser is 100cm.
    • There is a towel dispenser.
    • The towel dispenser cannot be reached from seated on the toilet.
    • The towel dispenser is placed higher than 100cm (3ft 3in).
    • The height of the towel dispenser is 110cm (3ft 7in).
    • There is a hand dryer.
    • The hand dryer cannot be reached from seated on the toilet.
    • The height of the hand dryer is 80cm (2ft 7in).
  • Colour Contrast and Lighting View
    • The contrast between the external door and wall is good.
    • The contrast between the internal door and wall is good.
    • The contrast between the dropdown rail(s) and wall is good.
    • The contrast between the wall-mounted grab rail(s) and wall is good.
    • The contrast between the wash basin wall-mounted grab rail(s) and wall is good.
    • The toilet seat colour contrast is poor.
    • The contrast between the walls and floor is good.
    • The lighting levels are good.
  • Comments View
    • There is a similar accessible toilet to the west of the Great Court, to the left as you enter the Great Court from the Great Russell Street entrance.
    • This toilet has the transfer space to the left.
    • There is also a similar accessible toilet, with transfer space to the left, on level 1 of the Great Court.
    • There is level access to this toilet by the west lift.

Step(s) (Standard Toilets)

  • There is a/are step(s) located to the left of the bookstore, to the right of the Great Court at you enter from the Great Russell Street entrance foyer.
  • The step(s) is/are used to access standard toilets.
  • There is/are 15+ step(s).
  • The step(s) is/are not clearly marked.
  • The height of the step(s) is/are 14cm.
  • The going of the step(s) is/are between 30cm and 45cm.
  • There is a/are handrail(s) at the step(s).
  • The handrail(s) is/are on both sides going up.
  • Handrails are not at the recommended height (90cm-100cm).
  • Handrails do cover the flight of stairs throughout its length.
  • Handrails are easy to grip.
  • Handrails do extend horizontally beyond the first and last steps.
  • The lighting levels at the step(s) are low.
  • Comments View
    • There is a similar staircase to the left of the Great Court, to access a second area of standard toilets.

Standard Toilet(s)

  • Standard toilet facilities are available.
  • Access to Standard Female and Male Toilet(s) View
    • The female and male toilet facilities that were surveyed are located on level -1, below the Great Court.
    • The female and male toilets are approximately 50m (54yd 2ft) from the Great Russell Street entrance.
    • There is stepped access to the female and male toilet(s).
    • There is pictorial signage on or near the toilet door.
    • An ambulant toilet with wall-mounted grab rails is not available.
    • The wash basin tap type is sensor.
    • There is not a flashing fire alarm beacon within the toilets.
    • Lighting levels are low.
    • There is a/are similar standard toilet(s) available.
  • Baby Change Facilities View
    • Baby change facilities are located within the venue.
    • Baby change facilities are located next to the east accessible toilet at Great Court level 0.
    • There is step free access to the baby change facilities.
    • The baby change table is set against the wall, permanently fixed at 75cm from the floor.
    • The baby change table is not height adjustable.
  • Comments View
    • There are two sets of similar standard toilets.
    • Each is accessed from similar stairs to the west and east (left and right) sides of the Great Court as you enter from the Great Russell Street entrance foyer.

Other Floors (Ford Centre and Clore Education Centre)

  • Stairs View
    • Stairs can be used to access other floors.
    • The stairs are clearly visible from the entrance.
    • The floors which are accessible by stairs are -1 (Ford Centre) and -2 (Clore Centre for Education).
    • There are 15+ steps between floors.
    • The height of the step(s) is/are between the recommended 15cm and 18cm.
    • The height of the step(s) is/are 15cm.
    • The going of the step(s) is/are between the recommended 30cm and 45cm.
    • The steps are clearly marked.
    • There is a/are handrail(s) at the step(s).
    • The steps have a handrail on both sides.
    • Handrails are at the recommended height (90cm-100cm).
    • Handrails do cover the flight of stairs throughout its length.
    • Handrails are easy to grip.
    • Handrails do extend horizontally beyond the first and last steps.
    • Clear signs indicating the facilities on each floor are provided on landings.
    • The lighting levels at the steps are good.
  • Comments View
    • There are similar stairs to the left and right of the Great Court as you enter from the Great Russell Street entrance foyer.

Other Floors (Great Court - Upper Levels)

  • Stairs View
    • Stairs can be used to access other floors.
    • The stairs are clearly visible from the entrance.
    • The floors which are accessible by stairs are 0-1-3.
    • There are 15+ steps between floors.
    • The height of the step(s) is/are between the recommended 15cm and 18cm.
    • The height of the step(s) is/are 15cm.
    • The going of the step(s) is/are between the recommended 30cm and 45cm.
    • The steps are clearly marked.
    • There is a/are handrail(s) at the step(s).
    • The steps have a handrail on both sides.
    • Handrails are at the recommended height (90cm-100cm).
    • Handrails do cover the flight of stairs throughout its length.
    • Handrails are easy to grip.
    • Handrails do extend horizontally beyond the first and last steps.
    • There is a landing.
    • The lighting levels at the steps are good.
  • Comments View
    • There are similar stairs to each side of the reading room in the centre of the Great Court.
    • Level 1 gives access to Room 35 (The Joseph Hotung Great Court Gallery). This space is for special exhibitions.
    • This room is only in use when there is a special exhibition open.
    • The stairs arrive at the Great Court Restaurant on level 3.
    • There is then a bridge link to the main level 3 on the north side of the museum.

Lift (Great Court East Lift)

  • There is a lift for public use.
  • The lift is located to the right of the central reading room as you enter the Great Court from the Great Russell Street entrance.
  • Signs indicating the location of the lift are not available from the entrance.
  • The lift is approximately 60m (65yd 1ft) from the Great Russell Street entrance.
  • The lift is a standard lift.
  • A member of staff does not need to be notified for use of the lift.
  • The floors which are accessible by this lift are -2, -1, 0, 1 and 3.
  • Clear signs indicating the facilities on each floor are provided on lift lobby landings.
  • There is a clear level manoeuvring space of 150cm × 150cm in front of the lift.
  • Lift doors do contrast visually with lift lobby walls.
  • The external controls for the lift are within 90cm - 110cm from the floor.
  • The colour contrast between the external lift controls and the control plate is poor.
  • The colour contrast between the external lift control plate and the wall is poor.
  • The clear door width is 90cm (2ft 11in).
  • The dimensions of the lift are 170cm x 130cm (5ft 7in x 4ft 3in).
  • There are separate entry and exit doors in the lift.
  • There is a mirror to aid reversing out of the lift.
  • There is a list of floor services available within the lift.
  • The lift does have a visual floor indicator.
  • The lift does have an audible announcer.
  • The controls for the lift are within 90cm - 120cm from the floor.
  • There is a hearing loop system.
  • The lift does not have Braille markings.
  • The lift does have tactile markings.
  • The lighting levels in the lift are low.
  • There is a/are similar lift(s) available.
  • Comments View
    • There is a separate exit from the lift on level 1.
    • There is a similar lift on the west side of the Great Court.
    • The lift gives direct between the Great Court and the Great Court Restaurant on level 3.

Accessible Toilet(s) (Great Court Level 1 - West Lift)

  • There is an/are accessible toilet(s) for public use.
  • Location and Access View
    • The accessible toilet surveyed is not for the sole use of disabled people.
    • This accessible toilet is located on level 1 of the Great Court, off the lift lobby.
    • This accessible toilet is approximately 2m (2yd 7in) from the west lift.
    • There is step free access to the accessible toilet, via lift.
  • Features and Dimensions View
    • This is a shared toilet.
    • A key is not required for the accessible toilet.
    • There is no signage on or near the toilet door.
    • The door opens outwards.
    • The door is heavy.
    • The door is locked by a locking handle.
    • The width of the accessible toilet door is 83cm (2ft 9in).
    • The dimensions of the accessible toilet are 150cm x 230cm (4ft 11in x 7ft 7in).
    • The accessible toilet does have an unobstructed minimum turning space of 150cm x 150cm in front of the seat.
    • The toilet has not got a non slip floor.
    • There is a lateral transfer space.
    • As you face the toilet pan the transfer space is on the left.
    • The lateral transfer space is 82cm (2ft 8in).
    • There is a flush, however it is not on the transfer side.
    • There is not a spatula type lever flush.
    • There is a dropdown rail on the transfer side.
    • There is an emergency alarm.
    • The emergency pull cord alarm is fully functional.
    • There is not a flashing fire alarm beacon within the toilet.
    • Disposal facilities are available in the toilet.
    • There is a/are female sanitary and general domestic waste disposal units.
    • There is a/are coat hook(s).
    • There are coat hooks in the toilet at 135cm and 176cm from the floor.
  • Position of Fixtures View
    • There is a/are wall-mounted grab rail(s) available.
    • As you face the toilet the wall-mounted grab rail(s) is/are on both sides.
    • There is a vertical wall-mounted grab rail on the transfer side.
    • There is a horizontal wall-mounted grab rail on the opposite side of the seat to the transfer space.
    • There is a mirror.
    • The mirror is placed at a lower level or at an angle for ease of use.
    • There is a shelf next to the toilet.
    • The toilet does not have a backrest or a cistern.
    • The height of the toilet seat above floor level is 48cm (1ft 7in).
    • There is a toilet roll holder.
    • The toilet roll holder can be reached from seated on the toilet.
    • The toilet roll holder is placed higher than 100cm (3ft 3in).
    • The height of the toilet roll holder is 110cm (3ft 7in).
    • There is a wash basin.
    • The wash basin can be reached from seated on the toilet.
    • The wash basin is not placed higher than 74cm (2ft 5in).
    • There are vertical wall-mounted grab rails on both sides of the wash basin.
    • The wash basin tap type is sensor.
    • There is a mixer tap.
    • There is a soap dispenser.
    • The soap dispenser can be reached from seated on the toilet.
    • The height of the soap dispenser is 100cm.
    • There is a towel dispenser.
    • The towel dispenser cannot be reached from seated on the toilet.
    • The towel dispenser is placed higher than 100cm (3ft 3in).
    • The height of the towel dispenser is 115cm (3ft 9in).
    • There is a hand dryer.
    • The hand dryer cannot be reached from seated on the toilet.
    • The hand dryer is not placed higher than 100cm (3ft 3in).
  • Colour Contrast and Lighting View
    • The contrast between the external door and wall is good.
    • The contrast between the internal door and wall is poor.
    • The contrast between the dropdown rail(s) and wall is good.
    • The contrast between the wall-mounted grab rail(s) and wall is good.
    • The contrast between the wash basin wall-mounted grab rail(s) and wall is good.
    • The toilet seat colour contrast is poor.
    • The contrast between the walls and floor is good.
    • The lighting levels are good.
  • Comments View
    • There is a similar toilet with transfer space to the right in the level 1 east lift lobby.

Eating and Drinking (Level 3 - Great Court Restaurant)

  • The following information is for the restaurant.
  • The restaurant is located on level 3 of the Great Court.
  • There is step-free access, via lift, to the restaurant.
  • Full table service is available.
  • There is ample room for a wheelchair user to manoeuvre.
  • This area does not play background music.
  • The type of flooring in this area is tiles.
  • No tables are permanently fixed.
  • Some chairs are permanently fixed.
  • Some chairs have armrests on both sides.
  • The distance between the floor and the lowest table is 70cm.
  • The distance between the floor and the highest table is 100cm.
  • Plastic/takeaway cups are not available.
  • Plastic/takeaway cutlery is not available.
  • Drinking straws are available.
  • There are hand held menus and wall menus available.
  • Menus are not available in Braille.
  • Menus are not available in large print.
  • Picture menus are not available.
  • Menus are clearly written.
  • Menus are presented in contrasting colours.
  • The type of food served here is hot and cold meals and snacks.
  • The lighting levels are good.