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Business

Print heritage archive named after ‘fire’ hero

The Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers (usually known as the Stationers’ Company) has opened a new archive room and reading room to house historic documents of the trade.

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Stationers’ Company’s London home is near St Paul’s Cathedral

The archive at the Stationers’ Company’s London building near St Paul’s Cathedral is named after the former Stationers’ Company clerk, George Tokefield, who heroically rescued hundreds of records from the company with a wheelbarrow during the Great Fire of London in 1666. The Stationers' Company was formed in 1403; and was given a Royal Charter in 1557 to enforce the trade’s regulations in a monopoly, until 1710 when the trade was opened up as the industry boomed. It continues to this day, although no longer has the monopoly it once had and generally is charged with good works, education and encouragement for those new to the trade, and keeping the archive of thousands of printed items for future generations and academics.

The new archive room and reading room includes documents from the former Times proprietor John Walter II. For those interested in scandal and high politics, the archive contains a book on the Profumo affair of the 1960s which blew the lid off the Government at the time.

The Stationers’ Archive is already known as a key resource to historians of the book trade. However, it also holds a wealth of records whose potential is yet to be explored

The Stationers’ Company archivist Ruth Frendo says: “The Stationers’ Archive is already known as a key resource to historians of the book trade. However, it also holds a wealth of records whose potential is yet to be explored.
“As custodians of the records, which we have inherited through the care and dedication of our forebears, we have a serious responsibility to maintain these documents for future exploration.”

The clerk of the Stationers’ Company, William Alden, comments: “Widening access to Stationers’ Hall for educational purposes is a critical objective of the Stationers’ Company. The opening of the Tokefield Centre marks the completion of the first phase of a broader Hall development programme, which we hope to complete by 2023, the 350th anniversary of the building of the Hall.”



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