The Weirdness of Victorians

It is a well know fact that the Victorians were an odd bunch. Honestly, they were very strange. From their obsession with sewers to the colonial eccentricities. From their bizarre sports rules to the madcap mustaches. It probably all stems from the public school system – but who knows.

Anyway – I know this is a busy time of year for everyone, so I have been off searching for the best in weird and wonderful Victorian Christmas cards – just to save you the trouble. I hope you enjoy these, and that they bring some light and joy into your Christmas holidays.

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Because nothing says  Christmas like the robbery and murder of a frog.

I am sure the inspiration for Chewbaka started here.

Eating fat children is always a possibility if the turkey runs out!

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But he is dead – DEAD – how sick is that – share the joy of the death of a little bird.

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A mouse riding a lobster – it must be Crimbo.

This Christmas wish with you abide. Victorian Christmas card

If the relatives annoy you too much……

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This is the way my wife makes me eat her Christmas pudding as well.

Actually this pair a quite cute – and the world needs more kittens.

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This is my personal favourite. Nice motor though – it may be a tad post victorian.

And of course, after the Christmas joy, I must also wish you a very happy New Year

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Be careful out there children – 2017 is the year of the giant killer hornets.

Last call for the Christmas fair

Hot on the heels of our Chelsea photographs – here is another late blog – this one a quick plug for the PBFA Kensington Christmas Fair.

It starts tomorrow (Saturday 3rd December) at 11am. This year, we are in the Hilton Olympia Hotel – so please do come along to visit, and bring wheelbarrow of cash for all the lovely items that will no doubt be on sale.

For many of us, this will be the last fair of the year, so I hope you will be able to join us.

Ho Ho Ho.

Belated Chelsea Blog

We may be a little behind the times here at Harrison-Hiett, (We are old booksellers after all), but we have finally caught up clearing out our photographs. 

This year saw another fine ABE Chelsea book fair – with many thanks to Graham York, Giles Lyons, and the rest of the crew. Takes certainly seemed healthy from Graham’s reports, and it felt like there were plenty of visitors passing through.

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 The view from the stage. Marianne and Camilla working hard to the left. 

The Annexe (where my stall was) & Graham attempting a complex operation during the show.

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Our stand at the show.

Budapest ILAB fair 2016

For our first international foray, Marcia and I decided to pop over to Budapest.  This may not strike you as an obvious choice – but it had some excellent advantages. Budapest was Marcia’s main choice of holiday destination this year – so that was a good start. Then there was the fact that the fair was running alongside the ILAB Congress for 2016. We felt that we had every chance to sell some items to ILAB members from around the world. Thirdly was the fact that our old mucker Graham York, was driving his van there with Jan – so our stock could get a lift, and we could swan in on a jet plane!

Here are a few photographs and a couple of little videos from our time at the fair:

The Danube at night:

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The Hungarians do like their books – and in the centre of a pedestrian walkway was this rather fabulous fountain:

The fair was held overlooking the river Danube, in the city’s concert hall, a rather beautiful venue in the heart of the capital.

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We were very pleased to see some nice signage outside.

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Here is the before and after of our shared stand:

Graham and Jan consider their efforts, whilst Marcia welcomes customers.

At least until she sees the prices we had put on some items:

Graham didn’t feel too well after our first meal out – perhaps we should have paid more attention to the name of the restaurant:

And at the end of the fair, a well earned glass of Champers at the New York Cafe in Budapest before heading home.

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That’s it for now. By the time you see this, I shall be returning from the Amsterdam book fair – so hopefully will have some photos / videos / gossip from there. Eg veled.

York PBFA Premier Fair 2016

Another fabulous fair at York this year. The whole York team deserve many thanks and much praise from us all for their continued efforts. Together, they manage to put on the UK’s largest fair, and one which is certainly the “Jewel in the Crown” attracting buyers and sellers from around the world.

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Here is the wondrous Tony – one of the fair manager’s, pointing to his house on a rather over-sized map!

And here is proof that I do attend the fairs with some books:

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Finally for this week, is my regular video. This one features Lucy, from Daniel Crouch, talking through one of her favourite items. Although about the newest member of the PBFA (at the time of writing), Daniel Crouch is a well known and very established member of the map trade.

Bristol folk

Whilst in Bristol at the fair, in between beating back the busy customers and their wads of cash, i managed to do a couple more of my video interviews with members of the trade. I decided to go with the most senior couple (in terms of book history rather than age !) that i could find, with mr & mrs Lee, and then in a poetic juxtaposition, one of the newest couples to join the PBFA with Robert & Barbara Chalk.

I think this was about my 5th attempt at interviewing the Lee’s – every time we would start, a musician would begin just behind them.  We got there in the end though. Mr & Mrs Lee are well known, having been involved with the PBFA for many years.

Opposite Marcia and I at Bristol, were Robert and Barbara, who only joined the PBFA last year.  their company is called “Rare & Antique Books” and they are based in Exeter.  I am always learning new things through the book trade. This fair has taught me never to let Robert choose the starter in a Vietnamese restaurant !

That’s it for now. Next stop York, for YABS, the big York Premier Fair, and the PBFA’s annual general meeting. Will the joy never end ?

 

Bristol Fair Pics & Videos – 1

Many thanks to Graham, Will, and everyone else who contributed to a very good Bristol book fair. This year continued the co-operation between the PBFA and the ABA.

Here are a few photographs of exhibitors at the fair.

A little light music is fast becoming a Bristol tradition – and this year the Bayntun’s bindery provided us with entertainment. A little video here shows the music and a bit of a sweep of the stalls.

You’ll never get rich – but it’s better than working…

My final interview from Oxford this year was with Pat Marrin of Marrin’s bookshop Folkestone. Another second generation bookseller, Pat is well known (I hesitate to say infamous) on the fair circuit.

The title of this blog post comes from his father’s comment to him on his entering the trade. It certainly aligns with my views on book-selling as a career, and is Pat’s comment to anyone coming into the trade now.

Tony Cox on tour

For this weeks offering, i have a video interview with Tony Cox of Claude Cox. Tony is a second generation Suffolk bookseller, indeed, it took me several years to realise that he wasn’t Claude (apparently i am not the only one). I caught up with Tony at Oxford PBFA fair, and he regaled me with tales of book hunting in Oxford in his youth.

Tony has now returned to Kelsale, where he operates a catalogue and book fair business from White House Farm.

Next week I shall be catching up with Pat Marrin from Folkestone.