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A trip to the country

February 7th, 2016 | By Ian and Dominique Metcalfe | Category: Bibles Direct Latest

I grew up in the south of Herefordshire, in a small market town called Ross on Wye just on the English side of the border with Wales. Herefordshire is a thoroughly rural county, known for its rolling hills and vibrant red earth which makes for particularly striking scenery when the fields have just been ploughed – and thoroughly dirty roads and cars when it’s been raining hard, which it does quite a bit in the west of England!

Just off the northern edge of the county of Herefordshire in neighbouring Shropshire lies another little market town called Ludlow – a town with its own castle, and known for being a foodie haven with rather more than its fair share of Michelin-starred restaurants. It is also the home of a small craft bindery called Ludlow Bookbinders, with whom we have been working hard over the past couple of years – since the first month we took over at Allan’s in fact – to help them get to grips with the particular challenges of binding limp leather-lined Bibles.

Ludlows work with a number of mainstream publishers (including Hodder & Stoughton and Cambridge University Press, for whom they bind all their lectern Bibles) and with other specialist publishers including angling (sport fishing) and historical presses. Paul Kidson – who owns Ludlows with his wife Emma – has printing and binding in his blood and much of their work is bound in leather one way or the other, but historically that has mainly involved binding over hard boards, so the art of leather-lined binding was new to them. However, we are delighted to have now received our first 99 finished Bibles from them, in the form of 4 different colours of the ESV Classic Reference Bible. To celebrate with them, we headed up to Ludlow on Friday for a visit – which also of course gave us a great opportunity to talk through what else we can do together in the course of 2016.

The goatskin used to bind these ESV Bibles comes from New Zealand and has lovely natural grain with a slightly glossier finish than our habitual ‘highland’ style, but it makes for a beautiful Bible and the colour options are just different enough from our usual leather stocks to give these Bibles a bit of a twist – black is black, of course, but the blue has a hint of the ‘Marine Blue’ shade that was so popular back in early 2014 on the ESV New Classic Readers, the rich burgundy is quite a departure from our usual crimson – and finally the dark tan/mid-brown defies description to the extent that we can’t really decide how to even label it!

Obviously working with a new bindery is a learning process for all concerned, but we are delighted with all that Ludlows have achieved with this first batch and are looking forward to many more great Bibles to come during this year. The expansion of capacity they offer will allow us to ensure we are continuing to provide as wide a range of Bible translations and editions as possible to sit alongside our bestselling KJV Longprimer, Longprimer Sovereign and other ‘classic’ lines.

We hope you’ll join us on this journey…

New Ludlow-bound ESV1 R

The historic town of Ludlow

Ludlow Bookbinders



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