Regular attendees at Education & Training Seminars in the pre-pandemic past will know about the non-competitive bookbinding challenge initiated by the late John Jameson.  It was an opportunity for binders at all levels, from beginner to Designer Bookbinder Fellow, to show their work in a friendly environment.  There are no judges, no prizes, and no rules.

The challenge had been organised by members in the Western region up to 2018.  East Anglia took up the task of arranging the competition in time for the 2020 Seminar, and we decided to give it a new twist.  Traditionally, the books had been works of a literary nature: Cider with RosieTarka the OtterThe Mayor of CasterbridgeSweet Thames Run Softly (you can read a blog about this particular project at, and most recently, Two Points East by Judith Ellis (herself an East Anglia region member).

For 2020, we chose Amusements in Mathematics by Henry Ernest Dudeney. This is a famous and popular book of recreational mathematical puzzles, problems and curiosities.  It was first published in 1917 by Thomas Nelson, and has been reprinted many times. It was reissued as a softback by Dover in 1958 with no changes apart from an extra section explaining British currency and the rules of cricket for the benefit of an American readership. 

There are 430 different puzzles, many with illustrations and diagrams, and complete solutions.  The 13 chapters include mazes; various game puzzles with cards, dominoes and chess pieces; river crossing problems like the three robbers whose boat will either carry two men or one of them and a swag sack.

We were sure that there is much to fire the imagination of a binder in this book, and we know that many people did actually bind copies for the Challenge: photos of some of them can be found on the East Anglia section of the SoB website. There is still time to rebind a copy if you want to join in.

            Global events conspired to prevent the display of members’ bindings at the (cancelled) 2020 seminar, but we are glad to announce that there will be a space at the Bath Conference in August 2022 to exhibit bindings. If you are coming to the Conference, please bring your work with you. If you can’t make it to the conference, please send your book to Paul Garcia, EA Chairman, 6 Westgate Terrace, Westgate Street, Long Melford, Suffolk, CO10 9DW and we will display it for you. We will return books by post after the conference.

Paul Garcia, East Anglia Region Chairman