Book conservation and repair: paper and cloth-bound books

Course Dates: 27/09/23 - 13/12/23
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: Keeley Street
Learn about the cleaning, repair and conservation of paper in flat documents and in book format, and the repair and conservation of paper and cloth-bound books. For those with some bookbinding experience.
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Full fee £649.00 Senior fee £519.00 Concession £422.00

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Course Code: VD202

Full Wed, day, 27 Sep - 13 Dec '23

Duration: 12 sessions (over 12 weeks)

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What is the course about?

A structured course in the repair and conservation of paper-backed and cloth-bound books. Paper repair will also be covered in the context of repairs both in situ and to flat documents.

What will we cover?

You will undertake rebacks and repairs to bound books and flat works on paper. Colouring of cloth and paper and repair to corners will also be covered. Paper repairs will be undertaken where necessary including the repair of dust jackets. Repair of documents and plates will be demonstrated.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Repair paper and cloth-cased books.
- Dry clean paper and cloth.
- Undertake paper repairs including in-filling and lining.
- Tone paper and linen.
- Re-back using paper or cloth.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

You are not required to have previous experience in repair and conservation work, but you will need a reasonable level of skill in hand bookbinding, ie. have undertaken a basic or introductory course in bookbinding. You will need some familiarity with the terminology used and to be confident in handling materials and equipment.

You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, hand-outs and health and safety information, and will be invited to take part in group discussion. You should be able to use numbers and be able to do simple measurements and calculations.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Group tuition and demonstration and individual attention as required. Some handouts will be given, but you will be expected to keep and use your own working notes at all times.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You must provide your own books for working on. The bindery is equipped with most tools but you will be expected to bring your own hand tools. Information and guidance as to special requirements will be given at the beginning of the course. Some materials will be available in class, and you will be encouraged to source your own.


When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Bookbinding: conservation and repair
- VD203 Book conservation and repair: leather bound books
- VD204 Book conservation and repair: vellum bound books
- VD245, VD246 & VD247 Book conservation workshop: intermediate and advanced.
Specialist skills
- VD412 Gold tooling on paper
- VD360 Bookbinding weekend: endband extravaganza
- VO113 Bookbinding:rare book design drop-back box (online).

Peter Spain

Peter has been teaching Book Conservation and Restoration at City Lit since 2007. He trained in Craft Binding at The London College of Printing and then went on to do an Honours Degree in Paper Conservation at Camberwell. Previously, Peter worked as a freelance photographer, travelling extensively and always featuring craftspeople in his portfolio. Trips to Japan led to an interest in Papermakers and Bookbinders and he began to collect early documentary photography at a time when this was still an affordable pursuit. Fortunately for his future direction in life, photo albums are amongst the most fragile of codices and therefore most needful of repair. What started as a practical dabbling became a consuming passion and he has now run the West Grove Bindery since the late 1990s. Peter has a particular interest in the ephemeral and the over-looked, and specialises in trade and temporary bindings from the hand-press period. His classes are based in practical study and instruction is through demonstration backed up with handouts. Students engage in individual practice on the items of interest provided by themselves.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.