Features

Ruth Frendo writes: In June I attended a joint meeting of the City, Cambridge and Oxford Archivists Groups, held at the Museum of the Order of St. John (photo above). The meeting was accompanied by a programme of talks and presentations on recent developments relating to archives held by some of the member institutions of the three different groups.

The City Archivists Group is a network for archivists working in the City of London, and also welcomes anyone with a professional or personal interest in the City’s archives. Group meetings provide a fascinating insight into the breadth and variety of these collections, which include archives of the livery companies, financial organisations, the Inns of Court, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. The Group has a special connection with the Stationers’ Company, as it was set up in 1986 by my predecessor as archivist, Robin Myers, with the support of the Master of the Company at the time, Alan Thompson. So it seemed particularly appropriate to give a presentation in which I talked about the fulfilment of another project initiated by Robin’s pioneering work: the improvements in preservation of, and access to, our records achieved by the construction of the new Tokefield Centre.

Talks on the programme varied as widely as the organisations represented, and included an inspiring presentation by the Salter’s Company Archivist and Public Programmes Manager, who described their work to widen educational access to their Company’s archive; an informative breakdown of digital project management by the Baring Archive’s Digitisation Archivist; and an introduction to the Institute of Historical Research’s Layers of London project, which is using historical property records held by London’s public and private archives to create a digital map which chronologically ‘layers’ the changing landscape of the city.

As well as offering a great opportunity to meet other professionals and discuss our work, the day gave us a chance to look around the fascinating Museum, which I had never visited, despite its nearby location in Clerkenwell. The Order of St. John’s established its Clerkenwell Priory in the 12th century, but the Order’s land was seized by the Crown during the Reformation, and the Clerkenwell property saw different uses over time (including providing the offices of the Master of Revels in the sixteenth century). The Museum’s collections chronicle the Order’s history and its role in cultural and medical developments, and is well worth a visit. Many thanks to Stationer Robert Athol for organising the meeting. Robert ran the City Archivists Group for the last three and a half years, and although he's now handing over this role, he will continue to play an active part in the Group's activities.

Members will be familiar with the story of the origin of the word ‘Stationer’ as the name those limners who stopped being peripatetic, and who set up stalls or ‘stations’ in St Paul’s Churchyard, were given.  Julian Venables who was made Free in January  writes on, amongst other things, astrology and is very interested in the Company’s almanacs and he has come up with an alternative theory about the origin of the word.  While we can’t see the  Company changing horses at this stage it is an absolutely fascinating theory as we are sure you will agree.  Please click here to read Julian's article

Bettine Pellant, CEO, PICON and Liveryman of the Stationers' Company outlines the relationship between PICON and the Company and how each benefits the other.

While the Stationers’ Company has its roots in history, it has worked very hard over the years to ensure that, unlike many other Livery companies, it remains very relevant to the evolving print industry. One way it does this is by maintaining close links with the industry’s trade associations. One of these is PICON which represents the suppliers to the printing industry in the UK and has had close links with the Stationers’ Company for many years. There is a nice and natural synergy between the two on many levels.  Whilst I am CEO of PICON, I am also very proud to be a Liveryman, so too is past PICON Executive Director Tim Webb who is a familiar face to many in the Company.

PICON is just one of several print industry trade associations that come together to support the Stationers’ Company’s events and awards. It provides a natural, neutral and historical hub for us all, bringing us together to meet, network and exchange ideas. One such event is the Winter Trade Association Meeting and Lunch on 22nd January when a number of trade associations will meet to discuss a variety of topics and listen to guest speaker Lord Triesman, a Labour Lord and recent Liveryman, talk about what we might expect from any change to a Labour Government should an election be called any time soon!  This is a key event in the Stationers’ calendar which not only facilitates the variety of print industry trade associations to network and discuss matters in confidence, but also provides a valuable forum to update Stationers’ on what is happening in various areas of the industry.

PICON also supports the Shine School Media Awards and the Innovation Excellence Awards.  Last year the PICON Shine Award for Best Business Strategy was won by St Paul’s Girls’ School for their school newspaper The Marble which turned a loss into a £1000 profit in just one year. The Innovation Excellence Awards recognise and celebrate innovation and the key role that our industries play in the UK economy. Tim Webb is on this year’s judging panel and the winners will be announced at an event on 26th June.

For PICON, the special link we have with the Stationers’ Company allows us to appreciate the past and celebrate the future.

Past Master Ian Locks recently came across an article, which he described as “the most powerful I have read for a long time which describes the history of the last 22 incredible years for the printed media”.  It is well worth the read and you can do so by clicking here.  With thanks to BoSacks & The Precision Media Group, America's Oldest e-newsletter est.1993.

The Clerk, William Alden, rightly insists on absolute black tie for gentlemen at livery dinners.  So it was with some trepidation that I asked if my guest, Mr Julius Mih, could come in colourful African robes!  To my delight he readily agreed.  For my guest, on his first visit to the UK, this became an amazing experience.

Mentoring at SCWA – an eye-opener.

It seemed like a no-brainer, in 2014.  The Company wanted volunteers to start a mentoring scheme at the Academy.  I had the time, and after completing the very thorough safeguarding checks, was delighted to be deemed eligible.

Stationers’ Hall has always been a place of debate and today is no exception with our round table events provoking discussion and often presenting two sides of an argument. One recent Digital Media Group event was a presentation on 3D printing and Members may recall the detailed report on the event from Past Master John Waterlow  in the April 2017 edition of Stationers’ News. This was just the Company’s latest foray into exploring 3D printing.

Since 2014, Adam Matthew have been working on the digitisation of the Stationers’ Archive.  The originals of the digitised items will from now on be handled and consulted less (thus reducing the opportunity for damage and deterioration) but academics, and indeed the public, will be able to refer to the digitised version much more easily.  We asked Claudine Nightingale to tell us more about the firm and their work.

It has taken many months but the Company has now reached an agreement with the Diocese of London to manage the Church of St Martin within Ludgate.This beautiful church stands close to the site of the west gate (Ludgate) in the Roman and medieval city walls of the city of London. It is dedicated to St Martin of Tours, who was a soldier and a patron saint of beggars thanks to the story that he cut his cloak in two in order to share it with a freezing beggar.

Members will be aware that the Company has an Honorary Almoner.  The Almoner, like many of those who work within the committees of the Company, undertakes the role for three years and last summer Mike Clark took over from Robert Sanger.  Big shoes to fill indeed!  We asked Mike about the work he does and initially to give an overview of the almoner's role.  

The Worshipful Company
of Stationers
and Newspaper Makers

Stationers' Hall
Ave Maria Lane
London EC4M 7DD

Telephone: 020 7248 2934
Fax: 020 7489 1975