Guildhall Library, London - Andre Simon Collection

List here  Blog here  Opening times and travel here

Cornucopia - Discovering UK Collections here


The Historical Collections of the Guildhall Library

Dr Peter Ross, Principal Librarian at Guildhall Library, narrates both the history of the library and this remarkable collection, which includes material from the 16th century onwards and the personal libraries of food writers such as Andre Simon and Elizabeth David.

By the early 20th century it was clear that the food related collections at Guildhall were beginning to attract scholars and writers on food, most notable amongst these being André Simon, the French-born wine merchant, gourmet and prolific writer on food and wine.  In his 66 year writing career Simon wrote 104 books, carrying out much of his research at Guildhall Library, which was to later acquire the library of the Wine Trade Club that Simon had helped to set up.  Simon naturally built up an extensive library of his own and also helped found the Wine and Food Society which eventually became the International Wine and Food Society.  Much of Simon’s private library was acquired by the Society who in turn added from their own collections bringing the total up to around 3,000 books.  Eventually, this material also came to Guildhall Library where it is now known as the André Simon Collection.  In February 1965, Simon established the André Simon Award for gastronomic literature, with a prize of 100 guineas. The Award continues to this day, although now the prize is £2000, and is judged by the Trustees of the André Simon Memorial Fund.  Each year all of the shortlisted books for the award are donated to the Andre Simon Collection and the library continues to add further donations from individuals and institutions so that this particular collection continues to grow.  The strength of the Andre Simon Collection is in later nineteenth and twentieth century material with extensive holdings of works by Ambrose Heath, Elizabeth Craig and even Fanny Cradock.  But the collection also contains hundreds of examples of cookery pamphlets and ephemera, wine lists, menus, product and recipe leaflets - material that is often overlooked by other institutions. 

Source - the Curator lecture here     Video here


page top here    for pasting    - Guildhall Library, London - Andre Simon Collection here