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Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk



Early and Fine Printing Collection

This collection has now moved to the new Library of Birmingham.


These collections contain nearly 13,000 items, of which over 8,200 an unusually large number for a public library, were printed before 1701. Of these, 128 are incunabula (a book printed before 1501). More than 4,500 books printed after 1700 have been chosen due to their fine printing, illustration, binding or a combination of these for the Fine Printing Collection.

Early Printing Collection

The collection includes books, incunabula, manuscripts, atlases and maps. The collection includes two local parish libraries on deposit from Kings Norton and Sheldon, originally the libraries of Rev. Thomas Hall (1610-1665) and Rev. Thomas Bray (1656-1730).

Fine Printing Collection

Find out about Fine Printing - the Kelmscott Press and William Morris, other famous private presses and the William Ridler Collection that was deposited with the Library in 1988. There is an almost complete collection of books and ephemera printed by John Baskerville, the 18th Century Birmingham type designer and printer. Celebrate the private presswork of Bill Pardoe and David Wishart.

Illustrated Books and Binding

There is an outstanding collection of fine illustrated books, many hand coloured and a small group of early photographic books. The library is privileged to hold J. J. Audubon's "Birds of America" as well as many other beautifully illustrated natural history books.There are examples of bookbindings ranging from the 15th Century to the work of contemporary designers , and a small collection of miniature books,

John Baskerville
Two Birmingham Printers