A WINCHESTER-based book binding club is offering beginner courses for those interested in the ancient skill.

Southern Bookcrafts Club, based in Winnall Farm Industrial Estate, Easton Lane, was founded more than 35 years ago.

Since moving to its current premises 15 years ago, the club, which consists of bookbinding enthusiasts, has held taster days and beginner courses for those looking to get into the hobby.

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Club member John Green, who runs the taster days and courses, said: “The best way to get involved in the hobby is to come to the taster days or the beginner courses. By the time we finish those sessions, we will have taught the pupils how to do level one and level two bookbinding.

John GreenJohn Green (Image: Chris Atkinson)

“A lot of people think it is going to be super, and then realise that it is not for them, so the taster days and course allow them to try it out and see how they feel.

“Everyone in the club is very friendly, and always offers help to people who are struggling with their projects.”

The courses provide attendees with all the equipment they need to learn the basics, with members of the club able to use the bindery site at any time.

John said that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, membership of the club fell to around five people, with the group receiving a government grant of £4,000 to stay in operation. Since then, the club has “bounced back” with more than 20 dues-paying members.

The club also receives support from the community in the form of donations of books and materials, with John saying: “Assistance from outside is always welcome and we are grateful for it.

The club has been running beginner courses for several yearsThe club has been running beginner courses for several years (Image: Southern Bookcrafts Club)

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“We have people coming from all parts of the county. This is the only member-owned organisation in the country which does book binding, so we are quite unique!”

The group only use the bindery three days a week, but would be happy to rent it out to other arts or craft organisations on the other three days - Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. It is also unused in the evening. 

Taster mornings at Southern Bookcrafts Club cost £35 per person, while the beginner and intermediate courses cost £125 per person.

More information about the club can be found on its website southernbookcrafts.org.