Library

St Bride Library first opened its doors to readers in November 1895 and quickly established itself as one of the world’s most significant collections of books about printing, typography, paper-making and graphic design.

From the late 1950s, the collections expanded to include many of the physical objects of printing and type-founding, including presses, punches, matrices and type-casting equipment. Original artwork for Edward Johnsons London Undergroud designs may now be found alongside scale models for Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert’s UK road signs. Printed books include a substantial fragment of Caxton’s Consolation of Philosophy and William Morris’s Kelmscott Chaucer.

St Bride Library is also home to one of the world’s largest and most significant collections of type specimens, numbering some 10,000 catalogued items and many thousands more promotional pamphlets issued by type-founders. Over 200 Special Collections are held, including material relating to the American designer W A Dwiggins, English type-founders Caslon and Figgins, metal types from the Oxford University press representing many of the world’s languages and a substantial collection of broadsides published by James Catnach and William Fortey in the early part of the 19th century.

St Bride Library Crowdfunding Campaign

St Bride Library is celebrating its 125th anniversary on 20 November 2020. To coincide with this, we are running a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the Library and fund a year of special events and library projects. Any donations received will go towards funding our 125th celebrations, featuring an array of talks, new print workshops, events and exhibitions and most importantly the launch of our project to digitise our collections, bringing them to the global audience they deserve. 

Reading Room

  • Following government guidelines, we will be opening the library on Wed 9th and Thu 10th December.

    This is to reduce the risk of spread of infection before the Christmas travel window.

    The library will reopen again following the Festive break on Wednesday 6th January.

Catalogue

At present our catalogue, which you can find here, shows mostly printed materials.

Please contact the library team (library@sbf.org.uk) for further information about our Special Collections.

Enter a simple search here:

Alternatively a more structured exploration can be carried out using our online catalogue.