St Bride Library

Category: Museums and libraries

St Bride Library was opened in 1895.

The library boasts a rare edition of Dr Johnson’s Dictionary and letters Charles Dickens wrote to his printer.

It was both a technical library and printing school; the school eventually moved out and is now the London College of Communication.

Among its nearly 200 collections are thousands of valentines, greetings cards, menus and posters, more than 1,100 printed ballads from the 19th century and the largest collection of British type specimens in existence.

From the beginning the Library served the printing trade but was also a great collection of typographic literature that incorporated the library of William Blades, master printer and author of a study of William Caxton. Other important collections were added, including those of Talbot Baines Reed, a type founder and historian, and John Southward, a technical print journalist.

These initial purchases gave the Library the basis of an excellent compilation of early printing, as well as unrivalled collections of catalogues, prospectuses and specimens.


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