The European Bookbinding course I was able to attend in July was a theoretical course. We took plenty of notes, watched plenty of slides and we got to look at plenty of books from afar. It included three library visits. Well, when I say visited, it really was more like sit in a room and look at books. The Prof was the only one examining the books; we were lucky if we could get a focused photo. However….
Lambeth Palace Library:
I arrived at Waterloo station amid the chaos of a station wide evacuation. I walked away from the very familiar wooping sound of fire alarms in a vain attempt to find the bus to take me to Lambeth Palace . The Palace was not far, but as time wore on and drizzle appeared I took a taxi. I arrived to find a wild garden.
I love gardening, and my Braidwood house was filled with cottage flowers. It was fantastic to see them run wild here amongst weeds and tall grass. So much for manicured english gardens! There was an exhibition and garden tour, but I, unfortunately, had little time for them.
As I waited in front of a nameless door, I was joined by Morgan and Diana. Security was tight: we had a hard time getting permission to find the toilet. After we had all gathered at the correct entrance we trooped to a small upstairs library room to view some of Lambeth Palace’s examples of laced-in cases.
Senate House Library:
The books came to us since we were in the building. I didn’t take any notes. I was too busy taking photos for which I now have no explanations. Ideally two of us should have taken this course: one to take notes, the other to take photos! It was one more book after the other, laced in bindings, mostly vellum, a few boards with interesting clasps.
Due to understaffing, we were not able to visit the Wellcome Library. I actually caught the bus there, not realising how close it was to my hotel room. We gathered instead at the Wellcome Institute next door. The Wellcome library is primarily a medical library. We were there to examine various manners of lacing in boards.
In the foyer there was an interesting glass sculpture
I had expected to be walking around the various buildings, so from a touristic aspect it was slightly disappointing not seeing the “behind the scenes” action. However we were able to view and discuss many old books with interesting structures.