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 4800 people plus who
subscribe to our newsletter and the 28,000 visitors we have each month mostly from the UK and USA.
We do not sell rubbish to bookbinders for profit like some well-known suppliers I could mention, we do
not supply the everyday requisites that they do , we do not supply cheap imitations, replica's or copies,
everything we supply is often rare, like our world renowned collection of period book fittings, unique top quality
period antique book fittings from all periods of history which focus on early to late medieval fittings, these hand
made solid brass hand engraved and forged fittings are simply the best in the world, we supply book restorers,
bookbinders, book dealers, book collectors, conservators, why we even supplied the film company who made Game of
Thrones for all their seasons, we supply everybody from the single bookbinder who needs a relatively inexpensive
replacement book corner for perhaps £65.00p plus shipping and VAT To large film companies who make massive
blockbuster hits for TV and soon to be world film, our recent sale to the Game of Thrones studios saw us invoice
them for £32.000! A staggering sum when you consider the tiny market involved.
No we don't supply cheap things at all, except the Family Bible pages that I sell for a few pounds, a profoundly
cheap way to get a bookbinder to provide some authentic Victorin Family Bible and photograph pages, cheap at only
the few pounds that I am asking and a series of about a dozen free to download .pdf manuals, written by an expert
these detailed and profusely illustrated technical and crafts manuals set out in easy steps to replicate then tic
craft processes, and they work as the testimonials for the paper marbling manuals will attest they speak of
delighted student and professionals alike who after working with the materials involved achieved startling success,
why my paper marbling manual has been downloaded over 65.000 times, people like this manual, why it even has its
own page on the Best of the web website. So I do give things away and they are considered valuable things by
thousands of people. No we are not cheap as I have said, but we are unique, affordable and in some cases such as
with our cold gluing machines we are the cheapest suppliers of world renowned proven brands which carry full two
year warranties in some cases, we also offer a quite outstanding service, as the Creative Director at Eden
Workshops I am literally available 24/7/365 days of the year, I never sleep :) you can contact me by telephone at
any time day or night about any problem you are having as an artist, from choosing materials to marketing a craft
workshop and establish a potentially flourishing website, I can advise, and be consulted on any aspect of the above
and everything in between, I am not perfect however, but I try to be in my personal and professional
Warm and welcoming Regards
Richard Norman and Family.
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.
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.
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.