In November last year I got the chance to go and visit Simon Goode up at the London Centre for Book Arts to mainly say hello and lend a hand. It was a week after Simon had began his move to Fish Island up in Hackney and I really wanted to see the space and give a hand if possible. Simon has set up the UK’s first open-access educational book arts centre. They offer workshops and classes in papermaking, letterpress printing, bookbinding and book arts, as well as a membership scheme, and volunteering opportunities.
When I arrived most of the heavy work had been done (thank goodness, as I wasn’t allowed to lift anything due to some knee-knack) and the space looked amazing. Simon showed me around an amazing array of presses, type, bookbinding tools, a paper pulper, foil presses and more. It was heaven. Our job for the evening was to get ‘Ted’ working. Ted was a beast of a guiloutine that belonged to Ted Hughes and it needed the freshly cut blade putting back on. Scary.
Anyway, a few hours of adjusting later and some perilous moments moving the heavy blade (and with NO CUT FINGERS) we had Ted up and running. The blade cut amazingly clean and level. Too well, in fact. We ended up chaining the flywheel and covering the cutting area with wood so that no-one got their hands stuck under the blade.
Since my visit, Simon has opened the doors and received amazing praise for what is a great resource for printers, bookbinders and the general public. I’d definitely recommend popping over to have a look or enrol on a course. Even better, you could become a friend of the LCBA and enjoy access to the presses on an hourly basis.