The local group for members of the Society of Indexers in the London area. Anyone passing through is always very welcome to attend.
Our annual Christmas get-together was in our usual pub, O'Neills in the Euston Road. An excellent value meal complete with crackers and Christmas hats.
It is fascinating and good for the soul to take time out from our busy lives to walk at leisure. The weather was kind as we assembled near the Waterstone’s Economists’ Bookshop for a walk through Lincoln’s Inn Fields and the Holborn area. Our route took us through cobbled streets into High Holborn where, as we were admiring the beautiful courtyard of the Rosewood Hotel, the uniformed commissionaire invited us inside to see the elegant Mirror Room, perfect for taking afternoon tea.
We passed through two fashionable London squares, with the approach to Red Lion Square an interesting mixture of smart residences and ex-council houses. There is some doubt as to which Queen the statue in Queen’s Square represents. George III was treated for mental illness nearby towards the end of his reign and the Queens Larder pub on the square was apparently used by Queen Charlotte to store food for the king during his treatment so it may well be of her.
A highlight of the morning was the Old Curiosity Shop, possibly the oldest shop in London. Although closed, a notice on the door invites you to ring the bell which we did, enabling us to examine some very expensive hand-made shoes, including several leopard print pairs worthy of Theresa May.
Christine joined us at the Enterprise in Lamb’s Conduit Street where we enjoyed a well-earned drink and snack.
Many thanks to Cath Toplifffor staking out the route and compiling a background sheet with many interesting snippets of information.
Our first meeting was held in May at O' Neill's pub in the Euston Road. This was a general meeting with the theme “How I index” attended by seven of us, including one welcome new face: Non Evans, who is part-way through the training course.
It quickly became apparent that there are as many ways of working as people present and there is no ‘right’ answer. Our discussions ranged from marking up (or not), screen vs paper, choice of software and a typical working day, through record-keeping methods to recent Windows 10 experiences. Hints were exchanged on using macros to speed up input, how to prepare a Word document for input into indexing programs,including Barry Campbell’s IndexConvert program, and sources of indexing information, with Janet Perlman's useful new book “Indexing tactics and tidbits” being especially recommended. Rohan Bolton
Ten of us attended our Christmas party in December with drinks and nibbles in the boardroom of the Society of Authors in Drayton Gardens. Many thanks to Christine Shuttleworth for organising such a prestigious venue. Cath Topliff won the general knowledge quiz, with Jackie Speel a close second. The rest of us were somewhat further behind!
We had a pleasant evening in October in what has become our regular meeting place - O'Neill's pub in the Euston Road. It is always good to be able to discuss the finer points of indexing with colleagues and we were pleased to welcome a possible new member of the Society.
Six members met up on 20th August to go on a Thames Beachcombing walk along the foreshore below Tate Modern. The walk was guided by Fiona, who is an inter-tidal archaeologist employed by the Museum of London. We were given a chance to do a bit of mudlarking and Fiona was very patient in identifying all the various bits of pottery, bone, wood, shells etc. that we turned up (no Roman coins unfortunately). After cleaning our hands very thoroughly we went on to have lunch in the restaurant at the Tate.
The Guildhall Library hosts a series of free afternoon talks and in April a few of us met to hear a fascinating talk from Roy Hamilton, a typesetter who worked for the Windmill Press in the 1950s. He started a 6-year apprenticeship to learn how to use movable type at the age of 14. His employers were Heinemann, a very enlightened company who provided a hospital and sports facilities for their workers as well as a subsidised canteen. Famous clients included Graham Greene, Patricia Highsmith and Neville Shute. His second career when the typographical trade died out was as an ice-skating instructor!
We had a social meeting over lunch in March, with eight of us meeting in O'Neill's pub, just opposite Kings Cross and St Pancras stations. We also had a look at Margaret Berson's macros which can be used to help speed up making entries in any of the indexing programs.
Christmas meal: In a change of venue from previous years eight of us met for a festive supper at Pizza Express, opposite Baker St tube station on Monday evening December 15th.
BBC tour: In mid-July a dozen or so members of the London Group took advantage of the guided tours offered by the BBC of their newly expanded headquarters at Broadcasting House in Portland Place, just north of Oxford Circus. The tour offered engaging behind-the-scenes glimpses in both the original, 1930s Art Deco, Portland stone-clad building and its elegant, glass-fronted, wrap-around recent extension. The two parts of the building neatly encapsulated two faces of the BBC: the high-minded Reithian ideals of the founding days of the organization (the original ‘mission statement’ carved in Latin above the entrance lobby) on the one hand, contrasted with the impressive, frenetic, wired army that constitutes a 21st-century news-gathering operation (including banks of desks where dedicated teams trawl the twittersphere and sift through thousands of viewers’ camera-phone snaps – the majority about the weather, apparently).
There were some surprising insights: the tininess of the corner-space that is the studio of the live early-evening magazine programme The One Show; or the fact that televised weather forecasts are essentially one-person shows, where the presenter has to operate single-handedly all the maps and graphics in a sort of high-tech photo-booth, while winging it without the aid of an autocue.
There was also some light-hearted hands-on entertainment, with people invited to have a go at being a live television newsreader or to take part in the mock recording of a hammy radio play, complete with manually generated special effects. And throughout the tour our two BBC-staffer guides showed a healthy resilience to comparisons with the jargon-infested parody of the comedy series W1A.
Our thanks go to Christine Shuttleworth for organizing such an interesting and enjoyable afternoon out.
Thursday 6th March:
There was a good turnout for the first meeting of the year on Thursday evening in O'Neills pub on the Euston Road, which is conveniently just opposite Kings Cross and St Pancras stations. It was a most enjoyable evening with a good choice of food and particularly pleasant to meet some new members.