September 2009

Two new DVDs from the Society of Bookbinders

Seventy Years in Bookbinding - A Portrait of Bernard Middleton

Multi Regional, PAL-NTSC, 4:3 format

Bernard C. Middleton, M.B.E., F.S.A is one of the most skilled craftsman of our time. His extraordinary career has now spanned some seventy years, as bookbinder, teacher and writer.

In this film, Bernard looks back on his long and varied life in bookbinding, which began at the Central School of Arts & Crafts in 1938. He remembers his apprenticeship years at the British Museum and reflects on his time spent as the manager of Zaehnsdorf's.

He talks about his early years of self-employment in a garret room in Soho, his American adventures and his experiences in the flood-damaged libraries of Florence.

Bernard shares some of his extraordinary techniques for restoring antiquarian books, including the best places to find dirt for ageing new bindings. He takes us on a tour of his bindery, with its huge collection of finishing tools and old paper and demonstrates his method of reproducing facsimile pages.

With his characteristically understated humour, his sharp mind and thoughtful observations on the he craft that he loves, Bernard gives us a truly fascinating, often moving and always enjoyable insight into his remarkable world.


Maureen Duke - The Life and Work of a Bookbinder

Multi Regional, PAL-NTSC, 16:9 format

Maureen Duke is one of the most respected bookbinders and teachers of our time. Over a career spanning more than sixty years she has introduced many students to this special craft. She has travelled widely, taking bookbinding to new audiences around the world, has written extensively on the subject and has been a pioneer in book restoration.

In this remarkable film, Maureen looks back over her career, which began under William Matthews at Guildford College of Art in 1946. She reflects on her early years of self-employment, her first forays into the world of teaching and talks with passion about her time leading the full-time course at Guildford.

In retirement Maureen has been busier than ever and we see her in action at Urchfont Manor and West Dean and meet some of her students, past and present, who have been inspired by her skills as a craftsman and communicator.

She takes us on a tour of her extraordinary bindery, which she has occupied for the last forty years and in a special feature demonstrates some of her favourite techniques which have evolved over many years at the bench.

With a combination of modesty, humour and sure command of her subject, Maureen gives us a rare glimpse into her fascinating world.


Cost £16.00 each

Both of these DVDs may be ordered online by clicking here

(subject to shipping charges and VAT where applicable)

Leather Conservation Centre

The Leather Conservation Centre undertakes practical conservation, training, research and analysis and consultancy work, and produces a number of publications on all aspects of leather conservation

The Leather Conservation Centre, in partnership with the University of Northampton, has recently appointed Anne Lama as a KTP Research Associate to research, design and implement a new generation of conservation material(s) to consolidate leather and combat red rot (acidic degradation of leather).

A KTP is a Knowledge Transfer Partnership and is partially funded by the Government.

Anne Lama has an MSc in Leather Technology and will be submitting her PhD thesis in November (entitled 'The Impact of the Leather Manufacturing Process on Bacterial Growth in Tannery Effluent').

As part of her research Anne wants to talk to and visit conservators, archivists, librarians, bookbinders and anyone else who deals with leather, and therefore may come across red rot. If you would be interested in helping with this project please contact Anne Lama by email at lcc@northampton.ac.uk We are also looking for samples of leather, old or new, with or without red rot on which to carry out various tests.

If you are able to supply any discarded leather, even small pieces, we would be very pleased to have them to assist with this research.

Yvette A Fletcher BA Hons, MA, ACR
Head of Conservation (Acting)
The Leather Conservation Centre
University Campus
Boughton Green Road
Northampton NN2 6QE
Tel: +44 (0) 1604 719766 e-mail:lcc@northampton.ac.uk