Chelsea Dreams


So – here I am (in my freshly tidied book-room) dreaming about all the treasures I’m going to find at this week’s Chelsea Book Fair.  Well – I say freshly tidied (see last post).  It just about passed muster at this morning’s inspection.  Just about.  The exact rhetorical diasyrm used was a kindly and encouraging, “Well, I can see you have been trying”.

Enough of that – I now have some freshly excavated shelf-space and I’ve found the cheque-book.  No other way this can end but in some determined book-hunting at Chelsea.  Better still, I don’t have to say too much this week because I’m going to see you all there – at least I hope so.  What excuse could you possibly have for not being there?

Chesea Town HallA lovely venue, books to suit all tastes, some of the best booksellers in the country (and a fair sprinkling from overseas) with the latest of their wares.  Whatever your interests, whatever your level of experience, whatever the breadth or depth of your pockets, there will be something there for you.  And as if that’s not enough, that bookselling genius Arthur Freeman will be signing his new book on Friday.  For those needing tips and pointers there will be  guided tours on Saturday (and flyers for the free monthly seminars on book-collecting can be picked up too).

Chesea Book FairFriendly faces all around (it’s always been the friendliest of fairs).  Old friends to see – and all the latest gossip to catch up on.  New friends to find – several people exhibiting here for the first time.  Good luck to them.

Chelsea TicketI can’t wait.  Booksellers love selling books, of course – but most of them prefer buying them. That’s the fun part.  And the joy of an event like Chelsea is the certain knowledge that you will find something.  I’ve found some fantastic things there over the years – the discovery of the book you didn’t know you were looking for – an experience you can’t replicate online.  Books to cherish, handle and talk about even if you can’t quite afford.  I guarantee you I will find something to blog about next week (I’ve had a dream).  And you will find something just as good – but only if you are there.   Just get on to the Chelsea Book Fair website ( and sort yourself out a complimentary ticket.  I’ll be touring around and looking for books on Friday afternoon and again on Saturday morning.  I’ll see you there – do say hello.


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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