Rare books guide

We hold over 200,000 printed and rare books dating from 1471 to 1900. Our major collections of rare books are categorised thematically below. Search our book catalogue FindIt@bham for details of the books the CRL holds. 

Parish library collections

These collections were formed to support the theological and pastoral work of English parish churches.

Fine printing and private press collection

This collection holds examples of fine printing and private press books.

The Boulton D.H. Lawrence collection

Over 300 books acquired to support the work of Professor JT Boulton in his role of editor of Lawrence's letters and as general editor of the D.H. Lawrence at the Cambridge University Press.

The Havelock Ellis collection

Approximately 85 of the personal copies of books published by Henry Havelock Ellis (1859-1939), writer and sexologist. Many of the items are inscribed and some are annotated.

The Hensleigh Wedgwood collection

Over 550 books from the library of Hensleigh Wedgwood (1803-1891), an important philologist, grandson of Josiah Wedgwood and cousin and brother-in-law of Charles Darwin.

New and withdrawn items 

If you already know the items you wish to consult, please check our new and withdrawn items before visiting to avoid disappointment.