Dome levels 4 and 5 will be closed to the public from Monday 13 May to Friday 24 May. Visit our refreshed World of the Book exhibition from Saturday 25 May.


We hold one of the world's largest collections of books and magazines on the card game of contract bridge, and its predecessors bridge, whist and auction bridge.

The collection was generously donated to the Library in 2008 by Tim and Margaret Bourke. The strength of their collection lies in its focus on the development of the game from 1894 to 1939.

The modern form of the game known as contract bridge was developed in 1925 by American millionaire Harold Vanderbilt while on a Caribbean cruise. Vanderbilt's new rules led to the game's golden age, particularly in the United States, in the 1930s and 1940s.

The collection includes many books by Ely Culbertson, a rather dashing and debonair showman who helped popularise the game and who founded the magazine The bridge world in 1929. We hold a complete set of this magazine, along with the works of other significant writers such as Vanderbilt, Charles Goren and Milton C Work.

The bridge collection is held in Rare Books and has strong links with the MV Anderson Chess Collection.