The Queen's Bindery Apprenticeship, which began in Autumn 2016, was the only bindery apprenticeship available in the UK and the first since the 1970s.
Although this scheme was very successful and two of the Apprentices are now fully employed at Windsor Castle Bindery the scheme is currently suspended with no immediate plans to revive it.
Apprentices gained unparalleled experience working in the Royal Bindery at Windsor and external workshops, acquiring a broad range of bookbinding skills, including fine leather binding, edge-gilding and gold finishing, which may otherwise be lost for ever. City & Guilds qualifications were awarded upon completion of the five-year training programme.
The scheme was supported by eight charity Founding Partners: Royal Collection Trust, Antiquarian Booksellers Association, City & Guilds of London Institute, The Clothworkers' Company, The Leathersellers' Company, The Printing Charity, Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust and The Stationers' Company. In addition, there were three Skills & Industry Partners benefiting from employing the apprentices and contributing to costs: The Royal Bindery, Blissett Bookbinders and Shepherds, Sangorski & Sutcliffe.
Unfortunately, the significant impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the activities and finances of Royal Collection Trust (RCT) led to the suspension of QBAS (alongside all other projects), with effect from 31 October 2020. RCT is entirely self-funded, with the majority of income based on visitors to the royal palaces and galleries. The low visitor numbers throughout 2020, the closure of all sites during the lockdowns and the loss of the international tourist market indicated that the impact was not only immediate, but would also be long-lasting.
3 FEBRUARY 2020
This report is writen by the Queen's Bindery Apprentices. It is a fantastic overview of their year.
16 JULY 2019
First year apprentice, Andreas Maroulis writes:
The world of books is related to many professions. Traditionally a book would be made by many different craftsmen, each one specialising in a particular skill, such as gold tooling. Some of these crafts almost disappeared after the industrial revolution. However, there are still some exceptional craftsmen, the last of their kind, like Martin Frost who is the only full time book fore-edge painter left in the UK.