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Jaffray Collection

John Jaffray was a bookbinder in Victorian London. He was interested in the history of his trade, particularly in union and welfare issues. Jaffray kept scrapbooks, probably compiled in and around the 1850s, which he filled with newspaper clippings, agendas of union meetings and ephemera including trade cards and advertisements.

Ellic Howe refers to Jaffray in his  A List of London bookbinders (London, 1950), and H.M. Nixon's marked-up copy of this book contains a document which relates that he was born in Stirling on 31 October 1811 and died in London on 25 July 186

John Jaffray

John Jaffray © The British Library Board

Besides the scrapbooks, Jaffray also compiled a manuscript volume containing information about the trade society for his craft during the period 1768-1820. British Library readers can call up the following typewritten copy of this into the Rare Books & Music Reading Room using Explore the British Library:

JAFFRAY, John. Bookbinder.
A collection of manuscripts relating to the art and trade of bookbinding. [A transcript of the fourth of a series of manuscript volumes compiled by J. Jaffray, dated London 1864.] ff. 280. [London, c1945.] 4o. Typewritten.
Shelfmark: 667.r.19. The original typescript is now fragile; a microfilm substitute is available at shelfmark: Mic.A.19964.

Other Jaffray material (shelfmarks JAFF 1- JAFF 169) is in a fragile condition and access is restricted. It can be seen by special permission of the Curator of Bookbindings. A handlist of the collection follows. Complete recording of the contents of the scrapbooks is in progress.


Material not related to bookbindingJaff 1-4
Material on bookbinding and related mattersJaff 5-44
Books on other subjects, including labour, wages, conditions of workJaff 45-53
Trade union material not related to bookbindingJaff 54-62
Various bookbinding societiesJaff 63-71
Amicable society of bookbindersJaff 72
Bookbinders' friendly benefit societyJaff 73-76
Bookbinders' pension societyJaff 77-79
Bookbinders' provident asylum societyJaff 80-84
Bookbinders' pension & asylum societyJaff 85-86
Friendly society of bookbindersJaff 87-90
Friendly society of journeyman bookbinders of London & WestminsterJaff 91-94
Society of day-working bookbinders of London & WestminsterJaff 95-109
Bookbinders' consolidated unionJaff 110-115
National union of bookbinders & machine rulersJaff 116-137
London consolidated society / lodge of journeyman bookbindersJaff 138-145
Scrapbooks mainly relating to pension society & asylum societyJaff 146-150
Scrapbooks mainly relating to strikes and the binders' struggle of 1839Jaff 151 (1)-(75)
 Jaff 151 (76)-(150)
 Jaff 151 (151)-(225)
 Jaff 151 (226)-(300)
 Jaff 151 (301)-(366)
 Jaff 152-153
Scrapbooks - variousJaff 154-157
 Jaff 158 (1)-(25)
 Jaff 158 (26)-(75)
 Jaff 158 (76)-(119)
 Jaff 159 (1)-(22)
 Jaff 160-164
 Jaff 165
 Jaff 166-167
 Jaff 168-169