Last Rites

A rather sombre end to the tour as we gathered with his family, his friends and his colleagues at the funeral of Roger Baynton-Williams in Chichester. A large turn-out for a widely respected and very much liked man. Standing-room only in the chapel – and many of our own were present: Philip Burden (Clive A. Burden Ltd.), Desmond Burgess, Philip Curtis (The Map House), Raymond Kilgarriff, Stephen Luck (Tooley Adams & Co.), John Orde, Jonathan Potter, Ray O’Shea, Nigel Talbot (Grosvenor Prints), and more.

A brief and simple ceremony at his own request, but time enough for some moving tributes. We may perhaps stand in danger of forgetting how prominent and influential a figure he was in shaping the modern map-trade – worldwide. He and the late R. V. Tooley were the great men. They were the ones we looked up to, the ones we tried to emulate. Theirs were the books we followed. 

We shall miss his knowledge, his expertise, his lightness of touch and his diffident charm. “One of life’s gentlemen”, as one the tributes so succinctly and so aptly put it. Our thoughts are with his family.

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 introduced in 1997, 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 and at Gresham College. He teaches annually at the London Rare Books School and also organises the monthly Book Collecting Seminars at Senate House, University of London. 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”. A major essay on the same subject also appeared 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”. More recently, he 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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