Message from the Chairman – Update on the Status of Key Activities of the Society

I am pleased to announce that one of our members, Magalie Briand from the Western region has come forward to take over the Society’s accounts and finances from Mike Summers. Magalie is from France, has lived in Gloucester for 12 years and is a qualified accountant. She has been shadowing Mike for a few weeks and will officially take over from the 1st January when Mike steps down. Magalie’s role will be Finance and her email address is

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mike for all his hard work in keeping the Society’s books in order for the last year despite having stepped down as Treasurer in 2020. 

The lawyers have given us feedback on our draft Constitution with a few suggestions and questions. George Davidson is liaising with them to resolve those points.  We have also asked the lawyers for some guidance on our proposed organisation and how it would best fit with the Charity Commission requirements. We hope to move on to the next stage, a review by the Council, early in the New Year.

The two new Newsletter Editors, Annie Overington and Samantha Kay have completed the December issue and it is now with the printers. Look out for it on your doormat along with all those Christmas cards.

There is a slight delay in producing the Bookbinder but it should be out in January.

The membership database has been overhauled by Wendy Meeple and is up to date. 

The two new Competition Organisers, Talitha Wachtelborn and Amy Kitcherside are on track to announce next year’s competition, Flyers are being printed, sponsors are in place and with a strong support team behind them they are planning the logistics. 

The following update reports are included below:

Outreach & Education (O&E) from Philippa Rader

Conference from Alan Hall

I am pleased with the progress we are making and I think the Society is in good shape for the coming year. If we can find an archivist to replace Helen Kendall please!…..

Enjoy the Festive season as best you can and a Happy New Year to all.

David Brown



Members will recall that as well as shadowing and standing in for the Chairman if needed, a significant part of the newly reinstated role of Vice Chair is to focus on educational matters for the Society. I am happy to provide a brief update of ongoing work in this area.

During the first Council meeting following the AGM and election, Dave Brown and I proposed the formation of a new national group led by the Vice Chair, to be called “Outreach & Education” (O&E) in order to highlight and pursue these two core elements of the Society’s charitable remit. This was approved and a following separate, wide-ranging session was held to discuss the group’s broad parameters, goals and potential activities.

Since then, I have been consulting on the potential of the new group and its composition with former E&T members, Conference team members and others, i.e., anyone whose ear I have been able to bend! I am delighted to say that the response has been overwhelmingly positive and an exploratory meeting of those who have expressed interest in being involved will be held in the new year. I hope this will lead to the establishment of a committed group as well as identification of initial priorities and roles.

My personal view is that O&E should largely exist to co-ordinate initiatives to promote the Society and bookbinding in general to the public; to support the regions in developing what works for them; to be a facilitating body for both regions and special interest groups, acting as a resource and information hub. Also, on a national level to provide education and training itself through continuing the biennial Seminar and expanding online ventures. The latter is particularly important in improving inclusivity by enabling more remotely located and international members to engage fully in the Society. I am additionally keen for the group to work on improving collaboration with allied and related organisations. Others will, of course, have their own opinions and ideas that will shape the way forward.

I will communicate the progress of O&E and details of the emerging programme on a regular basis. It is likely that as concrete plans take shape, there will be directed calls for members to become involved in particular areas, bringing specific skills, interest and experience. In the meantime, I encourage anyone who might like to play a part, provide advice or suggest ideas to contact me. Your input will be greatly valued.

Philippa Räder, Vice Chair


SOB Conference 2022 Bath University 

At last, we can move forward with re establishing the delayed 2021 conference. My Conference team have been working diligently to maintain the Lecturer base that was formed for 2021 and glad to say all wish to participate.

The lecture and presenters are as follows, in no particular order, which is being evaluated over the next few weeks when we can send out initial brochure to all members.

Stuart Brockman – Leather bound books – how to forward and cover (2 parts demo)

Hannah Brown – Embroidered bindings from design to sample board.

Mylin McColl – Decorative design used inside and outside the covers of a flexible binding.

Kathy Abbott – How things happen, design and realising your ideas.

Christopher Harvey – held to account. The history, making and repair of a ledger spring back bindings for the College of Arms Library, London.

Alan Fitch – Pop-up slipcase Box (2-part demo)

Julie Chen – Artists Books – via a zoom webinar on Saturday afternoon for all.

Gangolf Ulbricht – Making conservation grade papers

Pamela Richmond – Lighting up a book by tooling and working with gold leaf.

Kate Holland – Edge decoration within design bindings and more.

We have taken the precaution of establishing standby UK based speakers, if for any reason, due to the world problems with COVID and in case Government intervention on travel from overseas becomes an issue. 

We are working on setting up a workshop on the Thursday afternoon for up to 15 delegates for a hands on experience of painting on Vellum working with an illustrator of the Royal College of Arms.

I have changed the running order of the conference by moving the AGM to the Friday evening with the prize giving of the Major book competition.  This ensures that the due time that it deserves is given. I hope that the judges will be able to give a slide show of the award books on the specific details that made these books stand out from the rest.  

By using the IT systems in the lecture hall, we will be able to Zoom link those that cannot attend to be party to the proceedings for both the AGM and the Book Competition prize giving.

To give reassurance to all attending that we are achieving space for people to be comfortable, we will be holding the evening meal over two sittings thus giving space in the restaurant. We will alternate over the two nights of 18.30 and 19.30. The advantage of this is that the Trade stands can have more time with the delegates on either night.

The flyer will be out shortly, please bear with me on this as due to the sad unfortunate passing of Gene Riley, who prepared these and the conference main brochure we have established that the templates, luckily, are with the printers who are working with me to design the new leaflet.

We need to look forward to 2024 conference and the venue for same. I would welcome suggestions from the regions on this as we need to progress. I am quite happy to work with a region or regions i.e. combine regions like NE/Midland/Scotland, which may allow enough support between them.

I will support the 2024 Conference, but we need replacements for some of the Conference Team who have done sterling work to maintain their sanity through the last few years to keep conference alive and kicking.  It does not need to be personnel  from that region, with the internet it can be from anywhere even an overseas member, now there is a rational thought.

I look forward to helping build a new team for 2024

Best wishes to all

Alan Hall

Conference Organizer