The intriguing title of the subject for our first “In” meeting of the year on February 2nd was “The Book Surgeon”, and intriguing it certainly proved to be. Bernard Holton, (aged 79), and his son Michael are both skilled craftsmen in the true sense of the word, and since 1976 they have been restoring books for book collectors, institutions, libraries and the church.They also bind new, one-off novelty books for any special occasion, such as weddings, retirements, degree theses, ledgers and books of condolence to name but a few.
Bernard is a fully-trained journeyman with over 50 years’ experience and the tools, materials and techniques he employs remain the same as those first used many centuries ago. Michael is learning the trade from his father, who is anxious to pass on his skills and preserve this dying craft for future generations.
Their work has attracted customers from as far away as Portugal and the United States, who have come over personally to have books bound and repaired. The largest book Bernard has bound measured 4 feet by 3 feet, and the smallest job was to bind a Bible for the church which measured 1 ¾ ins long by 1 ½ ins wide!
We were shown some of processes Bernard and Michael use to bind books, along with several examples of books they have made and restored. So impressed were we that a number of us may call on the services of the Book Surgeon to give our favourite old cookery books and photo albums a new lease of life!
The next meeting is our annual Christmas Meal on February 16th, which is to be held at The Brook, Washbrook.
Anyone interested in joining us or coming as a guest one Thursday will be very welcome! For further information please ring Di Barker on 311870.