Well – that was some party! You can judge from the empties above. Celebrating a significant and pensionable birthday here at Tooting Towers last weekend. Highlight of the evening for me was one guest bellowing in my ear (to make himself heard) that he hadn’t been to a party like this since the sixties, while another was texting a friend to establish where the hell in the throng elsewhere in the house she might be. Last guest finally left at 3pm the following afternoon.
Rob Shepherd (Sangorski & Sutcliffe) & Angus O’Neill (Omega Bookshop)
“Oh, you booksellers”, I can hear you all say – don’t have proper jobs, don’t live in the real world, don’t know what day it is, will travel anywhere for a free drink. But, truth to tell, the turnout from the book-trade was a little on the thin side – and those booksellers that there were left fairly abstemiously before the real fun started. Some pretty lame excuses for absence on that front – but no need for a post-mortem.
The place was packed with old friends from schooldays and college days (both mine and Anne’s) , old cricketing chums, the wider and wilder elements of the family, and – oddly, bizarrely, but very happily – with lots of young people, charming young men and beautiful young women. “How lucky are we?”, murmured another old roué at one point.
Birthday cards were a little predictable and occasionally acid (sample shown – click to enlarge), although I was charmed by the Senior Moment Mints. Presents likewise – all booze, books and biscuits – perhaps people know me better than I’m entirely comfortable with. That’s all for now – tied up teaching at London Rare Books School this week and next – lectures to prepare, books to dig out to fox the students as interesting case-studies – here’s a picture of me giving a seminar on large-scale English county maps at the British Library yesterday. Guess the county? Guess the date?
Thank you so much to all who came to the party – a wonderful night.
About Laurence Worms - Ash Rare Books
Laurence Worms has owned and run Ash Rare Books since 1971. He represented the antiquarian book trade on the (British) National Book Committee from 1993 to 2002 and has been six times an elected member of the Council of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association. He was largely responsible for drafting the Association’s Code of Good Practice first introduced in 1997 (and its recent update), served as Honorary Secretary of the Association from 1998 to 2001 and as President from 2011 to 2013. He is a former member of the Council of the Bibliographical Society and continues to serve on the Council of the London Topographical Society.
He writes and lectures on various aspects of the history of the book and map trades, and has lectured at the universities of Cambridge, London, Reading and Sheffield, as well as at the Bibliographical Society, the Royal Geographical Society, the Warburg Institute, the National Library of Scotland and at Gresham College and Stationers' Hall. Published work includes the compilation of fourteen ‘lives’ for the “Oxford Dictionary of National Biography”, a number of articles for “The Oxford Companion to the Book” and the chapter on early English maps and atlases for the fourth volume of “The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain”. Essays on the British map trade are also appearing in “The History of Cartography” published by the University of Chicago Press. His long-awaited “British Map Engravers”, co-written with Ashley Baynton-Williams, was published to critical acclaim in 2011. He also contributed the numerous biographical notes to Peter Barber’s hugely successful “London : A History in Maps”, co-published by the British Library and the London Topographical Society in 2012.
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