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 Eric Gill’s eponymous sanserif 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.

Please inform us by email (library@sbf.org.uk) of your intention to visit us as space in the Reading Room is limited. There is no charge for the use of books on the open shelves in the Reading Room but a small fee (currently £1) is payable for items retrieved from our Closed Access collections. Browse our online catalogue and send us a list of titles you wish to see at least 48 hours ahead of your visit. This allows us to have the material you require available when you arrive so you can start work as soon as you are seated.

At present our catalogue, which you can find here, shows mostly printed materials. Please contact the library team (library@sbf.org.uk) for information about our Special Collections.

Enter a simple search here:

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