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The London Book Fair this week was the perfect opportunity for Stationers from the publishing industry to get together and thanks to the generosity of Westchester Publishing Services we were able to meet at the Albion pub opposite the exhibition hall.

It was good to see Freemen Lorraine Shanley and Tyler Carey (from Westchester) both over from the US chatting with Past Master Helen Esmonde, Court Assistants Oliver Gadsby and Martin Woodhead. Liverymen Tej Sood, Jill Jones and Chris Jolly along with Deborah Rea from the Company’s office.  We were also joined by Jeremy Brinton representing Corporate Member Publishers’ Licensing Services. After the drinks, a number of us attended  the London Book Fair International Excellence Awards presented in partnership with the Publishers Association.

Liveryman Kevin Fitzgerald CMG presented an award; however we were there principally to support the London Book Fair Lifetime Achievement Award given to Sara Miller McCune the Founder and Chairman of Corporate Member Sage.

To read more about this important award please click here to go through to Sage’s site.

Finally, congratulations are due also to Freeman and Bursary Recipient Joshua Smith whose

Josh Smith

dissertation was nominated in the Association for Publishing Education Publishing Dissertations and Project Awards which were also presented at the event.

Sadiyah Mir, Assistant Director, Civitas Schools writes:

On Thursday 22nd March, Gerald and Marian Hill of the Stationers’ Company, very generously gave twenty-one children from Stationers’ sponsored Civitas Schools the opportunity to visit the Prince Edward Theatre in London and experience Aladdin- The Musical!

From the off, the children and teachers were buzzing with excitement- a few parents had even joked that they would be attending instead of their children! While we waited for the coach and a few stragglers, who were cutting it a bit fine, the kids were beaming, almost as bright as their fluorescent safety jackets! The anticipation heightened as the children looked on from the coach, whispering and giggling, as London whirled by in the chaos that is rush hour.

Finally, we’d arrived! Thrown into crowds around the theatre, we managed to make our way to our seats and settle in with only minutes to spare. The lights dimmed and the hall went silent. The first song: music, lights and applause! The children were absolutely enthralled! Having heard them discuss the various characters on the coach journey there, they clearly knew the story, and yet each child was mesmerised. Wide eyed and mouths agape, from the first sight of Agrabah to the final spell! 

The children themselves were just as entertaining to watch and listen to as the play itself! It was great to hear their gasps and giggles as the plot progressed. The audience around us laughed when the kids sighed and groaned, “Ew!” at Aladdin and Jasmine’s growing romance and when they cheered with delight as Genie gave “the schools at the back” a shout out! Their gasps of shock at sudden moments and exclaims in awe at the way the stage changed in each scene were a joy to everyone’s ears. One child was so astounded by the scenery of “A Whole New World”, he began to count the stars in amazement!

During the intermission, whilst the children were contently eating sweets given by Gerald and Marian, another child (having seen the price of the show on his ticket) asked for a pen and a napkin and spent his time, with the help of his maths teacher, using long multiplication to calculate the cost of the trip. It was a valiant attempt!

The coach ride back was a testament to their engagement; they were exhausted! As we arrived, parents eagerly asked if they’d enjoyed it, to which the children cried, “Yes!” as they rushed to join them.

The parents, teachers and I are extremely grateful to Gerald and Marian for giving the children such an opportunity! The next few English lessons will be centred around their experience of the play and the theatre.

The photo shows some of the lovely thank you letters written by the children who went on this wonderful trip.

At the Court meeting on Tuesday 3 April the Master not only chaired a meeting with a very full agenda but went on to oversee three very important ceremonies.

At the April Court meeting each year the Court has to re-elect the Clerk.  Having removed himself from the room there is a slightly nervy few minutes for the Clerk while the Court decides what to do!  The Beadle then takes the Clerk back into Court where, if all has gone well, he reads and signs a declaration the gist of which is that he will be a good Clerk for the next year!  Members will be delighted to know that all went well and the Clerk is on board for the next year!

Then two apprentices were bound.  Members will have been aware of the blogs from the Royal Bindery Apprentices and on Tuesday Ellie Lanham and Matt Stockl came to the Hall with their Masters, Past Master Helen Esmonde and Liveryman Robin Shearmur respectively to be bound.  The Ceremony is simple but harks back to an age when the apprentices were placed under Masters with the permission of their parents so both Ellie and Matt's fathers took part.  Each apprentice was presented with the traditional gift of a Bible and a Book of Common Prayer and we look forward to Ellie and Matt finishing their apprenticeship and coming back to be made Free.

In the photo you can see from Left to right Matt Stockl, Liveryman Robin Shermur, Ellie Lanham and Past Master Helen Esmonde.

Finally there were four cloathings. The new Liverymen are: (from L-R in the photo)

Cloathing Apr 2018

Rosemary Carpenter - retired journalist

Neil Richardson- retired lecturer at London College of Communication and former advisor to the Treasury on paper supply

John Rogers - retired Graphic Designer

Oliver Urquhart Irvine - the Librarian, and Assistant Keeper of the Queen's Archive







Freeman Bev Steele writes:

20 of us met at the Museum close to Acton Town Underground at 11am for this approximately 2.5 hour tour of the Museum. There was a preliminary safety brief, this was necessary as the museum is a working space with big vehicles being moved about in a vast workshop where underground trains, buses and trams are maintained in running order despite their age. The vehicles are from all periods

tfl buses

including some recent experimental prototypes.  Our guide's knowledge of all things to do with the underground system was nothing short of encyclopedic.

There was a comprehensive exhibition of poster art and tube maps from the past. This was both fascinating and evocative for those of us old enough to remember so many of them. Our guide was not only very knowledgeable but at the conclusion of the tour played the part as the gift shop sales person. He was thanked fulsomely for his extraordinary performance.

We repaired to a fish and chip restaurant just a short walk across the main road. The meal, during which a raffle was run for the Charity, was very good indeed . It was a most enjoyable day for which we thanked our organiser.


Photos by Mike James

Stationers' Hall is delighted that BOSS will be hosting its 2018 Members' Day at Stationers' Hall on 22 May 2018.  In a departure from recent years, when the event was open only to senior figures in the office  products sector, this year the ticket price has been pitched to make the event more accessible to the dealer community.  Click here to read the full press release.  It will be a great day as the Hall always has a special buzz when its own sectors are using it.

The Court Room looked splendid in candlelight last evening.  It was set up for the annual CEOs' Dinner at which the Company welcomes the CEOs' and other senior members of their teams to a Dinner hosted by the Master and with a speaker.  Last evening we welcomed representatives from Banner, VOW, the EO Group, Pöyry, Sage, Xerox, Heidelberg, Sun Chemical, Nectere, Premier Paper and Publishers' Licensing Services.  The speaker was Anton Mosimann OBE who regaled the gathering 

Anton Cropped

with tales from his long career and experiences as an absolutely top chef. Attendees, many of whom seemed to be avid consumers of TV's many cookery programmes, were intrigued to hear that Anton has a strict rule for his kitchens; no shouting!   

Photos by Giles Fagan

Members will be interested to read of  a workshop to be held in the Tokefield Centre on 23 April between 2-5 pm.  The Workshop  is aimed at graduate students, researchers, archivists, scholars and anyone else interested in learning more about the history of the Company, its members and their activities.  It will be run by our Archivist Ruth Frendo, Dr Giles Bergel and Professor Ian Gadd.  Full details can be found on the Archive News page of this website.

At the Master and Wardens' meeting on Monday, 19 March 2018 the Master made Georgina Brown free of the Company.  Georgina is Foundation Manager of the Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation.  We look forward to seeing Georgina at events at the Hall in the very near future.

It is with profound shock that the Company has learned of the death of Court Assistant Brenda Dean.  Brenda was taken ill on a business trip to Nottingham and died in hospital on 13 March 2018.  On learning this the Master, Nick Steidl, said “This is such tragic news - a great loss to her family but to the Stationers’ Company too. Brenda had the wisdom of King Solomon and with it charm and humour”.

Brenda, the Rt Hon The Baroness Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, joined the Company on 20 April 2009, was cloathed on 1 December 2009 and was made a Court Assistant four years later on 3 December 2013.  Her contribution to the work of the Court was, as Past Master Hempenstall has said “on the money”.  She cut through to the meat of any argument and presented her views with clarity and acuity.  Whichever side of the argument she was on all members of the Court valued her opinions and loved her company.

Brenda served on the Master and Wardens’ Committee from 2011 to 2012 and at the time of her death was a Trustee of the Stationers’ Hall Charity and Chairman of the Hall Fundraising Committee. 

Much will be written about Brenda’s work as General Secretary of  SOGAT and latterly in the House of Lords where, as ever, she championed the communications and content industries but it is as a member of the Stationers’ Company that we mourn her loss and our thoughts are with her husband Keith McDowall CBE and with Diane Russell, who had been Brenda’s PA for over 40 years.

Liveryman Christopher Roycroft-Davis reports:-

The imminent death of print journalism might be, as Mark Twain said of his own death, greatly exaggerated. But attendees at the Annual Lecture and Dinner on March 12 – among them a host of past and present Fleet Street journalists - were left in no doubt of the gravity of the prognosis by guest speaker Emma Tucker, Deputy Editor of The Times.


Her message was that in the long run, there was no question that print journalism was dying and she produced worrying statistics about sales and advertising revenue to support her warning that “the last two years have been brutal.”

The crisis wasn’t restricted to the national media, she said. The regional press too was facing an existential threat. The fact that the press benches in courts and council chambers were increasingly empty was bad news for all who cared about the need for a spotlight to be shone constantly on the workings of justice and democracy, she said.

Does this actually matter? Her answer was an emphatic yes, a view which was fully supported by questioners from the floor.

There was little light at the end of the tunnel. Some £1billion of revenue had disappeared from newspapers in eight years and income from digital activities was in no way making up the shortfall.

Today 85 per cent of advertising revenue was going to digital powerhouses like Facebook and Google, which did not accept they should shoulder the costs or the responsibilities of reliable, quality journalism.

 “Good journalists you can trust do not come cheap or free,” the speaker reminded us. “So the real question is can the worthy practices of print journalism survive? Is there a future for journalism you can trust?”

The thought-provoking evening, moderated by Court Assistant Michael Binyon OBE, a distinguished former Times journalist, was best summed up by the speaker’s closing warning: “You will miss us when we’re gone.”

Many of the attendees then went on to a sumptuous Dinner in the Court Room at which the Master thanked Emma and presented her with a book.

AL Dinner

Photos by Lucie McCord and Giles Fagan

The Worshipful Company
of Stationers
and Newspaper Makers

Stationers' Hall
Ave Maria Lane
London EC4M 7DD

Telephone: 020 7248 2934
Fax: 020 7489 1975