GB 0210 BIRING
Birdsall Bookbinding Company Collection,
- 1823-1986 (predominantly 1880-1962) / (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
0.657 cubic metres (21 boxes, 6 box files, 3 volumes, 1 roll, 5 framed items)
Name of creator
Birdsall & Son, Northampton, was one of the main bookbinding firms in Great Britain from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. In 1792 William Birdsall ([c. 1750]-1826) bought the bookselling and bookbinding business of John Lacy & Son in Northampton. The business also included a stationery section, a post office and a circulating library. William Birdsall was followed in the business by his sons, Robert and James, and later by James's widow, Ann, who sold the business in 1844 to William's great-nephew, Anthony Birdsall the elder (1819-1893). The bookbinding side was expanded during this period, becoming the firm's main activity. Anthony Birdsall was succeeded by his son, Richard (1842-1909), under whose aegis the premises were twice enlarged and reorganised in 1882 and 1888. Of Richard Birdsall's three sons, it was Anthony Birdsall the younger (1877-1972) who was chiefly responsible for maintaining the family tradition of fine binding, especially following the early death of Herbert Birdsall in 1924. The company finally ceased trading in 1961.
The company records and papers were destroyed or dispersed following its dissolution and passed into various hands.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Purchased from Patrick King Rare Books, Stoney Stratford, 1982, and from Mr Archie Veryard, Northampton, 1991.
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Birdsall family papers and records of Birdsall & Son Bookbinders, including personal papers, 1889-1972, photograph albums, [c. 1886]-1918, albums of press cuttings, 1856-1960, rubbings of miscellaneous printed books, 1823-1942, glass negatives, [c. 1862]-1904; miscellaneous finishing tools and samples of binding work, 1902-1949, and a framed testimonial presented to Richard Birdsall on the occasion of his marriage, 1872.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
Action: The company's archives represent an important part of the history of bookmaking, and were collected by the National Library of Wales on that basis, although there are no important links to Wales. All records purchased by the National Library of Wales have been retained..
Accruals are not expected.
System of arrangement
Arranged by type into the following boxes: Box 1, Photograph albums; Box 2, tool sketches, design layouts and binding rubbings; Box 3, tool trials and samples; Boxes 4-6, printed books; Box 7, addresses by the Mayor of Northampton and others; Box 8, finishing tools, designs, samples; Item 9, album of binding rubbings; Boxes 10-14, binding rubbings and articles on the history of bookbinding; Box 15, press cuttings; Item 16, catalogue cuttings of armorial bindings; Box 17, documents relating to history of the company; Boxes 18-19, photographs of bindings; Box 20, photographs of illuminated addresses; Box 21, photographs of the factory and staff; Box 22, printed trade catalogues and articles on the trade; Boxes 23-24, albums collected by Andrew Birdsall' Box 25, Material collected by Anthonay Birdsall; Box 26, Birdsall family papers and books; Box 27, family photographs; Boxes 28-29, negatives of family photographs; Box 30, historical material assmebled by Archie Veryard; Items 31-35, framed bindings and other documents.
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to sign the 'Modern papers - data protection' form.
Conditions governing reproduction
Usual copyright regulations apply.
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
A hard copy of the catalogue is available at the National Library of Wales.
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
Title supplied from contents of fonds.
Virtua system control number
Genre access points
Description control area
Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = The National Library of Wales
Rules and/or conventions used
Description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.;AACR2; and LCSH
Level of detail
Dates of creation revision deletion
Compiled by Richard Burman for the ANW project. The following source was consulted in the compilation of this description: NLW, Birdsall Bookbinding Records.