About Us  |  Who's Who


PATRON: Bernard Middleton MBE
Bernard trained at the Central School of Arts & Crafts and was apprenticed to The British Museum Bindery. He was a Craftsman – Demonstrator at the Royal College of Art from 1949–51 and Manager at Zaehnsdorf Ltd. from 1951–53. He has been a self-employed book restorer and designer bookbinder since 1953.

An Honourary Fellow of SoB and a Fellow and former President of Designer Bookbinders, Bernard was awarded an MBE for services to bookbinding in 1986. His publications include A History of English Craft Bookbinding Technique (1963, 4th ed. 1996), The Restoration of Leather Bindings (1972, 4th ed. 2004) and Recollections: a life in bookbinding (2000).

He has lectured and demonstrated worldwide and is internationally recognised and respected for his contribution to the craft of bookbinding.

PATRON: Maureen Duke BEM
Maureen was trained at Guildford School of Art by William Matthews, obtaining her NDD and City & Guilds Certificate (Silver Medal) in 1949. She worked as a bookbinder until 1978 when she returned to Guildford to teach and initiated the 2-year diploma course which she led until her retirement 1993. Free then to travel, she did so, training, demonstrating and lecturing all over the world: Australia, New Zealand, USA, South America and Europe. Maureen has served as a Regional Chairman, National Chairman and President of the Society of Bookbinders.

She has introduced new tools and materials, pioneered new techniques, and continues her connections to suppliers and bookbinders as a consultant and trainer. An early member of SoB, she was elected an Honorary Fellow, is familiar to regional members and still dedicated to the craft. A biography, Maureen Duke - Bookbinder - Teacher - Friend by Paul Foster was published 2008.

PRESIDENT: Dominic Riley
Dominic is a self-employed restorer, designer binder, teacher, writer, lecturer and occasional film-maker. He has worked in London, New York and San Francisco, and is a past president of the Hand Bookbinders of California.

He won both first prizes and the Mansfield Medal in the Designer Bookbinders 2007 competition, and was elected Fellow of DB in 2008. He spends part of the year teaching in the USA with Michael Burke, and has his bindery in the Lake District.

Honorary Officers

CHAIRMAN: Sarah Burns
After many years working for Private Eye, Sarah travelled much of the world as the wife of a British diplomat and so started bookbinding with Tom Arbro at the Library of Congress in the 1980s. Many years later she was taught by Betsy Palmer Eldridge at CBBAG in Toronto. Since coming back to the UK she has attended as many workshops as possible around the country.

Sarah has been Chairman of Western Region for some years and has a workshop at home in the middle of Exmoor National Park.

TREASURER: Lester Bath
Lester started learning bookbinding in the early 1980s at the London College of Printing. She also studied fine binding for the best part of a year with Jen Lindsay and Denise Lubett at Roehampton before returning to North Wales. Her godmother, Dalma Flanders, who had introduced her to bookbinding, paid her initial membership to Designer Bookbinders in 1983 and she has been a member ever since, serving as Secretary for a number of years and being elected an Honorary Fellow in 2000.

She has been a member of the North Wales and North West region of SoB since 2000 and has also served as Secretary to that region.

SECRETARY: Chris Coggins
Chris started binding in 2008, stimulated by his collection of 18th century British road books, most of which needed repair or restoration. He joined the Society in the North East Region soon after and is now the NE Region Newsletter Editor as well as Regional Representative on Council. Chris has his own consultancy business as an expert in wood preservation after a career in that industry.

Regional Representatives

Each UK Region elects a representative annually at the Region's AGM who serves on the Council of the Society for the following year. The current representative for a particular Region may be contacted through the Regional Secretary - contact details in the information for that Region.


Event and Department Organisers

The Society's activities could not be sustained without a dedicated group of members who take responsibility for various aspects of Society life. These members may attend Council meetings and they advise the Council on progress in the areas for which they are responsible. These include:

Education and Training (including the biennial Seminar)
Conference (alternating with the Seminar)
International Competition
Editor of the National Newsletter
Public Relations and Social Media