Southampton Book Trade History

On the back of The Colenso Project, The Printer took up a six-month British Academy Visiting Fellowship based at Southampton University, UK (2018-19). This was a prime opportunity to test the concept of fluid geographies and global mobilities. Working with local archives, museums, and libraries, she reconstructed the dynamic book trade landscape of this nineteenth-century port town and distilled her research in this website.

mural Holyrood estate

In collaboration with fellow book historian, Professor Mary Hammond, she also delivered several public engagement activities, including an exhibition proposal entitled "Reading at Sea" that drew upon the rich collections from the SeaCity Museum. A version of Antiques Roadshow was held at Tudor House, once the site of George Cawte's bookbindery, 9 St. Michael's Square (1865-83). Participants shared their family book and print treasures  and learned how to read the material evidence of ownership, circulation, and use.

pubs and book trades

One of the most serendipitous 'finds' was Williams' Māori Dictionary, originally printed in 1844 in Paihia, New Zealand. It fetched up in Gilbert's Ye Olde Boke Shoppe, 26 Above Bar, Southampton and later returned to live in the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington. You can read this story —  as told by the book itself —  in a recent issue of Knygotyra  | Book Science: "Talking Books: A New Approach to Biblioforensics."

booksellers ticket