Library & RecordS

SSI Collection

         Sharon Shaw

                                  Mary Noble 

About the SSI

General Information

The SSI Collection

Housed in the Library of The London College of Communication at the Elephant & Castle, London. It is open to members only, on presentation of a current SSI Library Card (see below).

Online records

Below we have a downloadable PDF of our 100 year history, and Society records.

Visitor info

The collection

The collection is stored in a series of locked cabinets and cupboards and the key can be obtained from the Information Desk (see Visiting The Library below).

The Library is for reference only and the main book collection is held in two glass-fronted cabinets. The book catalogue is on the bottom shelf of the right-hand one.  There are three further cupboards housing Large Books, Journals, Catalogues and various other related items. For anyone wishing to browse the book catalogue prior to visiting, an electronic file is available, free of charge, on application to the SSI Librarian, Donna Foster.

With a booklist running to over 26 pages, not to mention catalogues, journals and other items, it is impossible to list everything here. Perhaps some examples may give an idea of the scope of the Library.

The Collection spans more than 150 years, the oldest book in the list being A Manual of Writing & Printing Characters by Wilme, published in 1845. There are, of course, a large number of books by Edward Johnston including Writing & Illuminating & Lettering (various editions).

There are many books on the practical aspects of calligraphy, as well as the history of manuscripts (e.g. A Guide to Western Historical Scripts by Michelle Brown, 1994). The art of illumination is well represented (e.g. Medieval Illuminators & Their Methods of Work by J J G Alexander, 1994), as is heraldry (e.g. C W Boutell’s Heraldry by Scott Giles, 1958).

There are a number of foreign books, most notably German (e.g. Ein Arbeitsbericht by Hermann Zapf, 1984; Altdeutsche Minnelieder by Anna Simons, 1922). Other disciplines represented are : type design (e.g. On Type Design Past & Present by Stanley Morison, 1962); painted lettering (e.g. The Painted Inscriptions of David Jones by Nicolete Gray, 1981); lettercutting (e.g. Letter Cutting in Stone by Richard Grasby, 1989), and books about individual scribes (e.g. More than Fine Writing: Irene Wellington: Calligrapher (1904-84) by Heather Child and others, 1986).

Many examples of journals from around the world are included in the Collection, as well as various catalogues relevant to the calligrapher.

The Library holds a full collection of the Lay Members’ Exhibition slides. Members are reminded that if they wish to view the slides, they need to provide their own viewer (email the Librarian for details).

Visitor info

the Library

Members should take their signed SSI Library Card with them when visiting the Library to show on arrival at the Main Reception desk. Entry will not be granted without it. If you need a replacement Library Card please email your request to the librarian Donna Foster,

The SSI Library is on the first floor in the Department of Learning Resources. From the Main Reception, go through the security barrier, up the stairs to the first floor; at the top turn right then immediately right again. Directly ahead of you will be the Information Desk where staff will assist you in collecting the key and locating the SSI Library cabinets. The box holding the key also contains a Visitors’ Book which should be signed on each visit. Please return the keys and the book when you leave.

Opening hours

During term-time:
Monday to Friday     09.00 — 22.00
Saturday & Sunday  10.00 — 20.00

It is advisable to check the College website for up-to-date opening dates and times prior to your visit.


If you would like further help regarding the SSI Collection or visiting the Library, please contact the Librarian:

Donna Foster


London College of Communication Library
Elephant & Castle
London SE1 6SB

0207 514 6500 (switchboard)

Wheelchair access is available but please ask the staff on the main reception desk for directions and assistance.


By train: Elephant & Castle

By tube: Elephant & Castle (Bakerloo and Northern lines)

By bus: 1, 12, 35, 40, 45, 53, 63, 68, 133, 136, 148, 155, 138, 171, 172, 176, 188, 196, 333, 343, 344, 360, 363, 415, 453, 468, P5.

Online access

Rules & Records

You are welcome to download the documents that interest you.


100 Years of History gives an overview of how the SSI was founded and by whom, how the membership developed and key historical events. It lists by decade, exhibitions that the SSI took part in, past officers of the Society and the membership. Fellows are listed in the year they were elected.

SSI Record

This is the professional Record of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators. It contains details of the Society’s Officers since its inception in 1921.

Rules of the SSI

New rules voted in at the 2022 AGM are in Italics. Rules 4.4 and 4.5 have been deleted following the abolition of the Council.


Obtaining copyright permission is very important for the calligrapher and the commissioner to work within the law and give due credit and respect to others’ words and images.