Richard & Margaret Norman - Specialist Liturgical Bookbinders.
My wife and I qualified as book binders after attending a two-year, full time, City & Guilds course at
Brunel College, Bristol around 1985 as mature students.
Upon leaving college, we were invited by the Benedictine community at Downside Abbey in Somerset, England, to
set up a bookbindery
We were given a derelict barn on a very low rent, and over the years, we restored it. We re-discovered several
crafts and brought them to high standards of excellence.
Though primarily involved in book binding, we ran the workshop, along with a fine printing facility, paper
marbling studio and specialist box making department for nearly 25 years before moving to France for a better
quality of life and education for our daughter.
In 1997, the workshops were voted a national living treasure by Country Life magazine for their contribution to the
Our workshops were extraordinary. They were a product, partly of our own energy and partly of the
willingness the community at Downside Abbey displayed to encourage our endeavours, by giving us low rent, and in
some cases, free work space.
Since we went online 15 years ago, when the web was in its infancy, we have made many friends.
That an independent specialist site like this can exist and thrive brings us considerable satisfaction. it would
not be possible were it not for the hundreds of friends we have made over the years, the 3800 people plus who
subscribe to our newsletter and the 22,000 visitors we have each month mostly from the UK and USA.
Many years ago a photographer came into our workshop and explained he was putting a book together called The
living Crafts of England. He asked if he could photograph everything that went on in the workshop. I agreed,
provided he gave us a copy of the negatives for our own use.
I have put together a slide show using these high definition images, showing just what we got up to, featured is
craft bookbinding, paper marbling, letter-press printing and box making.
The audio that accompanies this slide show is Mozart's "Requiem For A Dream".
8 years after closing the workshops, and moving over here to France, the Eden Workshops at Downside Abbey seems
to have been a dream. You can download the video here.
Family Bible Repair
We have a great deal of experience with regard the repair and conservation of Family Bibles and other liturgical
We are also experienced in document conservation and can advise if parts of the book need cleaning or other
We now specialise in the restoration and repair of liturgical books, we still restore these important family
books for people in Europe and the USA. We send and receive these books via secure delivery all over the world.
If you feel you need this sort of service please feel free to contact me, Richard, at the email address given
If you would like to read more about family bibles and their repair, please visit
Other than liturgical binding, the only binding I carry out are small individual projects involving quality
leather bindings, I no longer carry out any case binding or general antiquarian book repair.
Regards: Richard, Margaret & Eden Norman
EVERY MONTH I SEND OUT THE BOOKBINDERS DIGEST. WHICH AIMS TO BRING YOU
INTERESTING ITEMS CONCERNING THE WORLD OF BOOKBINDING AND RELATED CRAFTS. IF YOU WOULD CARE TO SUBSCRIBE PLEASE
JUST MAIL ME PUTTING "EDEN" IN THE SUBJECT LINE.