The IHR Blog |

The VCH red volumes

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Author: Jessica Davies (VCH Publications Manager)

As Publications Manager for the Victoria County History I must confess that, contrary to popular belief, I do not have my head buried in red volumes every day. Increasingly I find myself working ‘digitally’, whether on our website, editing our digital newsletter or working with images. The news of the IHR’s relocation forced me to consider the value of our printed red volume stock; all of which, we decided, must move with us from our current premises in North Block to our new home on the Mezzanine. What, I think, has struck me most, whilst rifling through archive boxes and revisiting volumes on the shelf, is just how incredibly beautiful these books are. The early volumes such as Devon I (pub. 1906) contain illuminations and artwork on the spine; a level of artistic detail so rarely seen these days. The modern volumes such as Middlesex 13 (pub. 2009) have an unfussy, ‘crispness’ of design. Both are aesthetically pleasing in their different styles and reflect the evolving design of VCH volumes. Perhaps one day all red books will be available as downloads. Whilst we seek to embrace such innovations I do hope that future VCH Publications Managers will look after these handsome yet ever-delicate tomes and ensure their unique place in the Institute’s collection.