The Hall was full and buzzing last night as members and their guests eagerly awaited two presentations relating to the Stationers' Archive and Company history. In the Court Room there was an exhibition of material from the Archive relating to early English newspapers, the career of John Walter II and the amalgamation of the the Stationers with the Worshipful Company of Newspaper Makers (see photo below).
Our Archivist Dr Ruth Frendo then spoke about the importance of the decisions made to keep or not keep certain artifacts and of the symbolic (if futile) destruction of material (the burning of books not approved of, or even no longer approved of by the monarch) to give an impression of power. Ruth also pointed out how seemingly ordinary documents could cast a powerful light on what was really going in in society and all those attending were relieved to hear that Mary Ann Booth was granted her late husband's pension from the Company because it really was for her the difference between a life and a poverty so harsh as to be hardly a life at all.
The second presentation was from Past Master Christopher McKane who spoke about the "The Making of The Thunderer": the early years of the Times. It was especially interesting to have in the Hall a portrait of John Walter I from archive of the Times. It sat on the stage alongside the portrait of John Walter II which the Company has on loan from the Times Archives and which usually hangs in the Court Room. (See photo below).
Past Master McKane spoke from a position of deep knowledge and obvious passion and anyone who caught the John Walter bug at the event will be interested in the forthcoming book! Click here for details.