Afternoon at the Hilton

Kensington FairPleasant little outing last weekend to the PBFA Bookfair at the Hilton London Olympia.  A nicely themed fair, forty or so dealers, but all (or nearly all) concentrating for the day on children’s books, illustrated books and modern firsts.  Everything visually attractive and interesting – and a lovely, friendly, welcome  from Deborah Davis (McHardy Rare Books), current chairman of the PBFA.

Deborah and Steve

Deborah Davis & Steve Liddle

What a hard-working and peripatetic bunch we are: here’s Steve Liddle up from Bristol and Anthony Smithson (Keel Row Bookshop) all the way down from North Shields, both last seen only a couple of weeks ago up in Edinburgh.  Peter Harrington, represented today by Kevin Finch, haven’t come quite so far, but they too were there in Edinburgh.  Lots of other friends and acquaintances too, some old some new – David Miles from Canterbury, James Pickard from Leicester, the Foster brothers from Chiswick (Paul Foster, Stephen Foster), Simon Patterson (Hyraxia Books) from Leeds.

The Penrose MysteryThe names are enough to tell you what a high standard of stock was on display. Difficult to know where to start, but I was pleased to get the cheque-book out for three nice and bright pre-war P. Wodehouse titles from Stephen Dick (Holybourne Rare Books) from Alton.  Mightily tempted elsewhere by all kinds of things, but ever judicious, ever cautious, ever mindful of my bank’s curious, unhelpful and frankly philistine attitude towards its money being spent on such lovely things, I resisted as best I could.  Couldn’t however resist this beautiful Austin Freeman classic from James Hallgate (Lucius Books) of York – this is just how sparkling we want our pre-war crime fiction to look, although it rarely does.

Ant AnticsNeither could I resist a truly bizarre book from Giles Lyon (World’s End Bookshop) – an anthropomorphic anthology (or ant-hology as it describes itself) on the subject of the antics of ants.  Absolutely barking.

Pleased to meet to some new people too.  Still positively drooling over a signed and dust-jacketed  copy of Nancy Mitford’s Christmas Pudding from John Atkinson of Darlington.  All in all, a very pleasant afternoon.

Kevin Finch

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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One Response to Afternoon at the Hilton

  1. SIMON POVEY says:


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