We are thrilled to announce that James Brockman, Fellow of Designer Bookbinders, has been awarded an MBE in the King’s Birthday Honours List 2023!

“I was asked “what does receiving an MBE mean to you”.

It was a wonderful surprise to be offered an MBE but in some ways I feel a bit of a fraud accepting it. I have spent  my whole working life doing what I love, so no real sacrifice!

I was happy to accept this honour, not just for myself but for bookbinding. I know everyone says this but I really mean it and hope binders that come after me will also receive this award.

It does mean I join a worthy list of binders for whom I have great respect – Roger Powell, Sandy Cockerell, Faith Shannon,Ivor Robinson, Bernard Middleton all sadly no longer with us-plus others who are. The honour of joining this group is to me the most exciting part of receiving an MBE.

I hope to keep binding for as long as possible and I am relying on Stuart to”gently” tell me when I am no longer getting my tooling straight!

James Brockman MBE !”


James served a six year apprenticeship in Gold Finishing in Oxford and attended day release classes under Ivor Robinson at Oxford Polytechnic. He was the assistant to Sydney Cockerell in Cambridge for five and a half years from 1968-73. James started and managed The Eddington Bindery for Lord and Lady Fermoy. The Eddington Bindery Ltd. was established at Eddington House and was based in the stable block.

James was an Arts Fellow at the University of Wales, Gwasg Gregynog from 1982-83 and the first visiting lecturer at The Institute of Fine Binding and Book Conservation, Humanities Research Center at The University of Texas in 1987. He has lectured in Australia, Europe and U.S. and is a Past President of both Designer Bookbinders and The Society of Bookbinders.

James is currently in partnership with his son, Stuart Brockman, who is another of our Designer Bookbinders Fellows. The Brockman Bindery, founded by James in 1976 and now co-run with Stuart, has developed into a highly specialised hand craft bindery working primarily on modern Fine Bindings and the conservation and fine restoration of manuscripts and printed books.

The emphasis is always on maintaining the highest possible standards, there is no compromise on quality on any work. The bindery consists of a small team of highly skilled craftsmen, all dedicated to the sympathetic and appropriate treatment of books. The Bindery uses the very latest techniques, mostly developed in-house, for everything from the attachment of book boards to the flattening of vellum manuscript leaves.

James has his work in collections nationwide including: British Library, Victoria & Albert Museum, National Library of Wales, Sir J. Paul Getty II Library plus many other National and Private Collections.