A report from our Archive volunteer, Freeman Richard Gilpin:
If any members of the Company happened to be at the University of London’s Senate House on Tuesday 27th November for its History Day, they will not have failed to notice the Stationers’ Archivist, Ruth Frendo, promoting opportunities for researchers needing to access the Company’s Archive.
History Day, organised by the Institute of Historical Research, was aimed at researchers, and offered a series of high quality panel sessions. These included advice on using archives and libraries; exploring business records; a case study of information-gathering from University archives; the latest news about digital tools and methods (including an update on UCL’s Bentham Project on HTR – handwritten text recognition); researching people across collections; and different approaches to the use of sources.
It also brought together over seventy organisations and publishers, with their displays in three halls on the ground floor of Senate House, alerting visitors to the rich library, archive and digital collections that are held across London and beyond.
Ruth’s display, against a backdrop of images from the archive, included copies of the Company’s new colour leaflet The Stationers’ Company Archive at the Tokefield Centre. This describes the funding and construction of the Carfax Room and Gateway Room, both of them contained within the Tokefield Centre, and offers a brief history of the Stationers’ Company. It lists the records that are currently held within the Archive, including the Registers; the Court Books; membership records from 1555; English Stock records; property records from 1674; Company legal and financial records; many family papers; and a collection of ephemera such as invitation cards, programmes and menus.
The leaflet gives advice and guidance on using the Tokefield Centre’s facilities, suggests areas of research supported by the Archive, and gives days and times when the Gateway Room is open to researchers – by appointment only.
While other Livery companies were notable largely for their absence from the occasion, the Stationers’ Company was a conspicuous participant.
The Company’s display and leaflet, enhanced by Ruth’s enthusiasm, not only fitted in perfectly with the objectives of History Day, but succeeded in raising awareness of the Company’s contribution to research into the regulation of the book trade; copyright; publishing; and the technologies of communication.
In the photo you can see on the left Victoria West, Archivist for the Worshipful Company of Barbers and on the right Ruth Frendo.