Q&A: Bob Richardson Library learning and education officer, St Bride Library
Wednesday, February 22, 2023
Richardson, known as the ‘Encyclopaedia Of All Things Print’ at St Bride Library in London, has just retired. But friends and colleagues are delighted he will still be on hand to share his expertise as a volunteer.
Why did you get into printing?
I saw an advertisement for an Adana printing press in 1970 and knew that’s what I wanted to do. The press cost me 10 pounds and 15 shillings and I still have it
What would be your dream job?
These days I’d be very happy as a tester of comfy armchairs
What would you like to print?
Victorian music hall posters or something like the famous ‘For the Benefit of Mr Kite’ poster
What is your favourite film?
Frank Capra’s Lost Horizon - the ultimate escape from the rat-race
Sweet or savoury?
Always savoury. A Gregg’s cheese & onion pasty can’t be matched
What do you dislike the most?
Travelling on the Tube during rush-hour. I’m 68 and need a seat but don’t look sufficiently decrepit to have one offered
What is your favourite album?
Probably something a bit weird and electronic like Jean-Jacques Perrey’s The Out Sound from Way In. Perrey’s Minuet of the Robots was a great favourite of Kenny Everett
What is your favourite book?
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. I’ve worn out many copies and still return to it
Cat or dog?
The best of both world’s is a cat which thinks it’s a dog. I had two like that – Cagney & Lacey. They came when called and did tricks
What is your greatest luxury?
Taxis. An expensive way of avoiding the tube!
What is the strangest job you’ve ever done?
Keeper of the Daleks... and Cybermen... and Zygons, as assistant in the BBC Exhibitions Unit in the early 1980s
Who would you like to be stuck on a desert island with?
For good company, Liza Tarbuck or Ken Bruce, but from a practical viewpoint Ray Mears or Bear Grylls
What is your greatest ambition?
Complete financial independence, not quite the same as great wealth
Who or what makes you laugh?
Broad comedy like ‘Allo ‘Allo! There’s nothing like a naughty knackwurst to raise a titter
What piece of kit would you like to see invented?
Two pieces: a sock putter-onner, and a shoelace tying machine
Favourite party guests?
Terry Wogan, Kenneth Williams, Margaret Rutherford and Les Dawson
Where would you go if you could time-travel?
Caxton’s workshop at Westminster – to see how it all started
What was your childhood obsession?
Dr Who in the monochrome Hartnell/Troughton era, when my youth made it so much more believable
What is the worst kind of print?
Gimmicky stuff that doesn’t work, like a real example with reversed text printed alongside a foiled sheet which was meant to act as a mirror – but patently didn’t
About enjoying yourself without hurting others
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