The Bindery
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Working in the Bindery


'The great thing about bookbinding was as soon as you went to a firm you had to
do two things: one was join a union and the other was to join a bowling club'

                                                                                                                David Nicol

As early as 1822 the bookbinders of Edinburgh combined to form the Edinburgh Society of Journeymen Bookbinders in an attempt to improve wages. 

A time served bookbinder after spending three years on forwarding and four years on finishing was able to bind a book from the flat sheet to completed volume.  Women served a four year apprenticeship and were considered semi-skilled and allowed to do simple quarter binding along with the male apprentices.  The majority of women workers were involved in the preparation of books prior to binding.  Women were concentrated on folding, gathering and stitching. 

Listen to a bookbinder talking about the role women undertook in the bindery.