Volume 4 - Autumn 1997


The Institute of Bookbinding and Allied Trades

About the Institute

Our membership is made up of more than 100 professionals from Bookbinding and its allied trades, consisting of commercial and craft bookbinders, print finishers, suppliers, training establishments and publishers.

Our aims

  • To provide a forum with regular monthly meetings for the exchange of technical information from material and equipment manufacturers, updates on the latest training schemes and Health & Safety issues and many other items of general interest to

  • We invite speakers on a regular basis from both within and outside the Institute, to talk on a wide range of subjects connected with the industry or on topics of general interest to the members.

  • During the year, trips are made to various places of interest relating to our industry. These include visits to both trade and craft binderies, print finishers, machinery manufactures, suppliers of materials, etc.

  • Social events are held throughout the year. The most popular of these is the Annual Ladies Festival which is well attended by our members, their partners and friends. This event is normally held over a weekend at a scenic location on the coas
Our History

In 1904, a small gathering of the masters of the bookbinding trade met in the tap room of a tavern in Fleet Street, London EC4. They agreed to form a trade association which they named 'The Association of Machine Rulers and Vellum Binders'. They were masters, managers and foremen in that particular craft. Their first appointed president and chairman was a Mr. Frederick Peacock, who held this office until 1908.

Outside ImageThose were the days when the craft of bookbinding involved working with linen thread, webbing, animal glues, vellum, leather, millboards and handmade papers. Most work was done by hand at the bench.

In time, it was decided to change the name to ' Machine Rulers, Bookbinders, Printers and Kindred Trades Overseers Association'. After this, the membership grew to approximately 250 members and survived two world wars.

In 1962, it was thought that as the majority of the membership were bookbinders, the title should again be changed, thus giving the bookbinders preference in the title, to, 'Bookbinding and Allied Trades Management Association'.

Again in 1995, it was felt that we should broaden our scope to encompass more parts of the country in order to attract more like minded people into our membership. So on the 1st January 1996, the Association became the 'Institute of Bookbinding and Allied Trades'.

We are proud to state that after all these years and despite the diminishing number of bookbinding firms which has obviously resulted in a lower membership, we have a current membership of over 100.

Our general meetings are held monthly at the Clerkenwell Conference Centre, Clerkenwell Green, London EC1.

Inside ImageThe Clerkenwell Conference Centre

The old Middlesex Sessions House, was designed by Roland Gilbert in the Pantheon Style. Building work was started in 1792 and was completed in 1806. It was the main court of justice in the county until 1923 when the court was transferred to the Guildhall in Parliament Square.

The building originally consisted of two large court rooms, dungeons for holding prisoners, administration offices and living accommodation for the resident judges. Two further courtrooms were later added.

After the courts were moved to Parliament Square, the building was sold to the famous scale makers, Avery Ltd. and was used as their head office until the mid 1950's. It remained derelict until 1981.

Since its re-opening the building which has a grade 1 listed status, has been extensively restored and is now used as a conference and banqueting centre. The main entrance hall is particularly fine and now appears much as it would have done at the time when the original court house was opened. A number of the main rooms have also been restored, where possible maintaining their original period features.

For those interested in the paranormal, the building boasts two ghosts. On certain autumn afternoons around sunset, a lady dressed in grey has been seen sitting on a staircase adjacent to the main bar and after a few minutes gently floats up the stairs. A presence of the other spectre can be felt in one of the second floor rooms, which can feel damp, cold and forbidding to some!

The conference centre is conveniently situated in Central London, within easy reach of all public transport. There are also metered parking facilities available adjacent to the building.

For Further Information please contact:

The General Secretary
Institute of Bookbinding and Allied Trades
47, Springwell Avenue

Tel: +44 (0) 1923 777307 Fax: 01923 777339
E-mail: John Penny at jpenny@freeserve.co.uk


Skin Deep - Volume 4 - Autumn 1997

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