Spink & Thackray is one of the most established and prestigious bookbinders in the UK, providing high quality bindings for libraries, academic institutions and more.
Our story dates back to 1872 when the business was founded by Mr William Spink and Mr Thackray.
Since then, the company has grown and modernised, but our exemplary traditional craftmanship remains the same.
Based out of premises in Leeds, our highly skilled team allow us to provide a range of services from book binding to foil blocking through to conservation and digitisation.
We do this by combining traditional methods with modern practices, utilising specialised bookbinding equipment and state-of-the-art digital scanning technologies to provide products and services that meet all requirements.
We are proud to have a team of talented and passionate bookbinders and digitisation experts, many of whom have been with us for more than a decade.
Spink & Thackray is owned by Richard Hollingworth and his wife Jane, who acquired the business back in 2018 and merged it with his family bookbinding business, Hollingworth & Moss, in 2020.
By combining two of the biggest names in bookbinding under the Spink & Thackray brand, the business now offers a wider variety of products and services to meet all requirements.
This includes book conservation and preservation, book rebinding services and digitisation services with unrivalled heritage.
The Spink & Thackray story:
Spink & Thackray has been in the book binding business for almost 150 years and over that time has bound thousands of books for important and prestigious clients.
From the Tsar of Russia to the Pope, Prime Ministers and even members of the Royal Family and The Beatles, Spink & Thackray has a client list like no other.
The business has come a long way over the years, starting as a small bookbinder in Leeds with a focus on trade and account book binding.
In the 1920s the business expanded into new areas of binding, working with libraries and publishers. Around the same time, Mr Spink’s son Wilfred joined the business.
This led to Spink & Thackray shifting focus to academic binding for libraries, colleges and universities – a move that would establish the business as one of the best in the industry.
The business continued in much the same way throughout the 1930s and 1940s and during the Second Wold War bound account books for the coal and railway industries.
Mr Spink retired from the business in the late 1950s with his daughter, Kate Hill, taking over. Mrs Hill’s tenure was shorter than her father’s and she retired in 1967.
The business was then taken over by three members of staff, Mr Michael Bentley, Mr Charles Wade and Mr James Brown who ran Spink & Thackray together until Mr Wade retired in 1976.
Mr Bentley and Mr Brown continued to operate Spink & Thackray until Mr Brown retired in 1991 and Mr Bentley in 1993. Over that time, the business grew rapidly.
A family business through and through, Mr Bentley’s son, Mr Andrew Bentley, alongside Mr Michael Jones, who had been with the company for 20 year, then led Spink & Thackray into a new era.
Their time at the helm came to an end when Mr Bentley retired in 2001 and Mr Jones sadly passed away the following year.
Mr Gareth Webb, who joined the business as an apprentice in 1976, became the owner and then Managing Director when the business became Limited in 2003.
The greatest milestone in the Spink & Thackray story to date is the acquisition of the business by Richard Hollingworth in 2018, and the subsequent merger with Hollingworth and Moss in 2020.
A friendly rivalry existed between both bookbinders for many years, but the ties between the two companies run much deeper than a desire to be the best bookbinder in the business.
Michael Hollingworth, who founded Hollingworth & Moss alongside Peter Moss back in 1966, served as an apprentice at Spink & Thackray between 1960 to 1966.
Little did he know that five decades later the two companies would become one and that combined under the Spink & Thackray brand would be the leading bookbinding business in the UK.
With Michael’s son Richard having expertly engineered the acquisition and merger, he now has ambitious plans to grow Spink & Thackray and lead the business into the next chapter of its story.
Our clients are wide ranging. From restaurants who require bespoke menu covers to University Libraries and musicians. At Spink and Thackray we deal with everything after the print process which means we work closely with printers and designers.
The team behind Spink & Thackray:
Richard Hollingworth, the driving force behind Spink & Thackray, first entered the bookbinding industry back in 1987 at the age of 16.
After school, he would ride his bike to the Hollingworth and Moss factory and help clean glue machines, sweep floors and ensure the factory was pristine for the following day.
Not only did Richard learn about all aspects of the bookbinding industry during these early years, he developed a fierce passion for the process and the beautiful products that come from it.
In 1991, Richard was promoted to Production Director at Hollingworth & Moss and over the subsequent years took on more responsibility from his father and the other directors.
He acquired Hollingworth & Moss in its entirety in September 2018 and alongside his wife Jane has continued to develop and grow the business up to and following the merger with Spink & Thackray.
Richard is the visionary behind Spink & Thackray Bookbinders, combining his business acumen with a creative eye that can be seen in the wide range of products the business offers.
Jane also has a hands-on role at Spink & Thackray and is responsible for the day to day running of the business as well as administration.
She also manages bespoke projects for private clients including those in the print, hotel and hospitality sectors, personally guiding them through every stage of the process.
A family business at heart, Richard and Jane’s daughter, Abigail, is combining her passion for marketing and business entrepreneurship to raise Spink & Thackray’s online profile.
Their son Charles Hollingworth is studying at university as a building surveyor and also offers a hand in the factory during the holidays, maintaining the premises and delivering products to clients.
Of course, without the skilled craftsmen and craftswomen that work on Spink & Thackray production line, we would not be able to deliver the quality products we have built our reputation on.
The home of Spink & Thackray:
Spink & Thackray Bookbinders is based out of a modern factory in Leeds where our team of 12 staff expertly handle all parts of the bookbinding process.
From the moment orders arrive at our premises, they are moved down our production line, including removing the existing bindings to sewing pages and re-covering.
Our factory boasts much-loved classic bookbinding machines, allowing us to use the skills of our experts to bind books using proven methods, processes and equipment.
Bookbinding is a fascinating process but many of our clients do not get to see our machines and highly skilled bookbinders in action.
In addition to our traditional bookbinding machines we have other equipment that allows us to provide additional products and services such as foil blocking.
We have also invested heavily in the latest scanning and digitisation technologies, meaning we can offer the digital reproduction of any book, document or image up to and including A1.
This includes a full end to end digital service, for example taking an archival book, scanning and digitising it, and then printing and binding it to create a beautiful facsimile copy of the original.
The entire process is undertaken in-house within our bindery.
We see this as bringing books to life; safeguarding historic and archived works while creating authentic copies that people can read and enjoy without fear of them becoming damaged.
The products and services we offer:
Spink & Thackray offers a comprehensive range of products and services to clients and partners across various sectors and industries, including libraries, universities, restaurants and events.
As the business has grown over the years, so too has the variety of the sectors we provide our products and services to, including automotive, music/performance, weddings and more.
Here is a list of our main products and services:
- Bookbinding (academic, university, library)
- Restoration and conservation
- Digitisation and scanning
- Online printing and binding (theses and dissertations)
- Print finishing
- Comic binding
- Bespoke bookbinding
- Menu printing and binding
- Bespoke presentation boxes
- School yearbook printing and binding
We are always keen to use our experience and expertise in bookbinding in new ways and welcome the opportunity to work with businesses and individuals on bespoke projects.
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