Archive News

The Stationers’ Company is one of the most important cultural institutions in British history. From its foundation from 1403, it has been the primary membership organisation for the English book trade. By the seventeenth century, practically every important printer, publisher, and bookseller in England was a member, and while the growth of the provincial book trade from the early eighteenth century onwards diminished its oversight of the national trade it nonetheless continued to include many key members of the trade amongst its ranks.

Stationers’ Hall contains archives for the Company dating back to the mid-sixteenth century: not only the famous Stationers’ Register into which members recorded their publishing rights but also membership records, financial accounts, minutes of meetings, property holdings, articles of governance, and so on. It is only one of several dozen London livery companies but, thanks to the scholarly interest in the books they printed, published, and sold, we know more about its members, their activities, and their associated artefacts than any other trade or craft in Britain. 

Taking place in the Company’s new Tokefield archive and research centre, this workshop will introduce you to the diversity and range of the Company’s records. It will explain the structure of the Company, what records it kept, and how to interpret the documents. Guidance will be given on using relevant reference works, catalogues, and other resources (including the latest digital tools), and you will be encouraged to come with your own research questions. Special attention will be given to the Stationers’ Register and the membership records. You will also be given three weeks of access to Adam Matthew’s Literary Print Culture which includes digitised scans of the vast majority of the Company’s records.

The workshop will be led by Ruth Frendo, the Company’s Archivist and two leading scholars of the Company and the book trade, Dr Giles Bergel and Professor Ian Gadd.

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. There will be bursaries covering attendance and travel expenses for graduate students, generously provided by the Bibliographical Society. 

Refreshments will be provided.

The workshop will be followed by the Company’s annual ‘Archive Evening’, running from 6pm to 8pm and including a wine reception and buffet. Participants in the workshop can attend the evening at a discounted rate. More information about the Archive Evening is available at


To apply, please send a brief biography along with a 200-word statement of how the workshop will be of benefit to you to Ruth Frendo at

If you are a graduate student, please provide your institution, degree and subject you are enrolled on, and if you would like to be considered for a bursary.

Applications should be received by Friday 13 April.


£40 for workshop and evening; £20 just for workshop

From L-R in the photo – Dr Giles Bergel, Professor Ian Gadd and Ruth Frendo

We’re delighted to announce that the Adam Matthew digital resource, Literary Print Culture: The Stationers' Company Archive, can now be accessed remotely by all members of the Stationers’ Company via the Members’ section of our website.

It’s very straightforward: log in as usual, and you’ll see that the final entry on the left-hand sidebar is ‘Access to Digitised Archive’. Click on this and you’ll be linked through to a document containing the Terms and Conditions of Access to the resource. Please do read through these, at least on your first visit, and make sure you understand them! If you’re happy to accept, click on the link at the bottom of the page, and you will be redirected to the Adam Matthew website.

Once there, if you are using the resource from the comfort of your own home (or any other favourite haunt) you will then need to log in with the details provided by Adam Matthew exclusively for members of the Stationers’ Company. You can view the log in details here.

And that’s it! The historical documents of the Stationers’ Company’s Archive are now at your fingertips.

You can navigate through the Introduction to the Resource, read essays about the archive and the history of the Stationers, or browse documents and images from the collection. The high-quality digitisation allows you to zoom in on texts, and the resource as a whole offers a fantastic entry point to the collections.

You may find the Search Directories section of the resource useful to help you locate documents. This uses some information derived from the archive catalogue, such as the names of record series, and some information, such as keywords and themes, which was created and added by the Adam Matthew Editorial Team. Free text searching of documents is available, and there is a search-bar on every page. This is a very convenient way to start your research. Please bear in mind, though, that free text searching only works on typed and printed documents – so occurrences of a name or term which appear in letters and manuscripts will not be picked up, unless those documents have been transcribed into print, or the relevant search terms are used in the catalogue description.

If you have any questions about any aspect of the resource, from the Terms and Conditions and what they mean to you, to how best to conduct a search, please don’t hesitate to email me directly at

Happy browsing!

Members will be pleased to know that they now have free access to the Adam Matthew Literary Print Culture: The Stationers' Company Archive 1554-2007 through the Members Only area on this site.  Terms and Conditions apply and access will only be possible once those have been accepted.  Members should log in and then click here to proceed. 

This blog post was written by Ruth Frendo, our Archivist. It is one of a series of blog posts on History Collections on the theme of Magic and the Supernatural, as part of History Day 2017.

What would Halloween be without witches? Easiest costume to cobble together, subject of some of the best horror films (from ‘Black Sunday’ and ‘Suspiria’ right through to last year’s brilliant ‘The Witch’), and those hats are the perfect shape to cut out of chocolate or cookie dough.

However, behind the broomsticks and black cats lies a more sinister story,

Members will be interested in the video which Adam Mathew created about their exercise to digitise the Company's archive. It can be viewed here.


A conservator’s job is to care for cultural heritage so that it is accessible now and in the future. The conservator must be respectful and humble when treating and caring for objects and yet have the confidence to be able to make informed decisions and judgements. I am a newly qualified paper conservator and am currently doing contract work for the National Conservation Service. I am sent for short periods of time to assist with projects at institutions that do not have conservators. The Stationers’ Archive are currently moving their collection from a safe store at Stationers’ Hall to an offsite storage space at Upper Heyford. My job was to assist the archivist, Ruth Frendo, in ensuring all objects were safely packed for the move.

The Stationers’ Company allowed me to spend a short but insightful week, in and around the Company’s building; and on Thursday, 13 July I spent the majority of my day in the Library and Archive. Whilst having a strong literary interest, I have never particularly had the opportunity to be at such close quarters to books that in their age, and in some cases rarity, between them and through the omissions and gaps in the documentation, begin to expose the interweaving social and cultural influences on the world from the times at which they were written. This opportunity gave me much to think about in terms of the place of these books in modern society and what that might mean to us.

Members might remember that in 2011 Freeman Richard Gilpin produced an article for Stationers' News about the Company’s garden and its history. 

A lot of important things are going on at Stationers' Hall, many of which entail people passing through, and using, the garden; so we thought that it would be worth making that article available again (here) along with these extra ‘thoughts’.

Almanacs have existed for as long as people have attempted to interpret the seas and the skies. The Babylonians compiled star catalogues, and the early Greeks and Egyptians knew the importance of correctly predicting the weather. Medieval almanacs introduced elements of divination to their texts. And, as early medicine associated human physiology with astrology, almanacs soon carried health advice too, with an edict of the University of Paris decreeing, in 1437, that all physicians must own a copy of the latest almanac. To read a bit more about the history of early English almanacs and their role in the practice of medicine, check out this fascinating blogpost from the Wellcome library.

The Stationers’ Company exhibition at Guildhall Library is now open. Claire Scott, the organiser, has found some beautiful pieces to display, including a selection of paper lace – apparently British paper-makers were renowned for the quality of their output. The exhibition is designed to be quite interactive, and younger visitors are encouraged to try their hand at printing with ink stamps.

The Worshipful Company
of Stationers
and Newspaper Makers

Stationers' Hall
Ave Maria Lane
London EC4M 7DD

Telephone: 020 7248 2934
Fax: 020 7489 1975