This article is about a pictorial endpaper repair and binding restoration of a Winnie the Pooh story book.
This well-worn copy of ‘The World of Pooh’ had been in the owner’s possession since childhood. It had quite obviously seen a lot of service over the ensuing years. The hinges of the cloth binding were torn and the binding had been partially torn away from the text block. This had badly damaged the printed pictorial endpapers at the back of the book.
The glue holding the text block together had started to fail. This made the text block loose and quite likely to fall apart with much further handling.
On first viewing it appeared that a lot of the rear endpaper had been lost and that a neat repair would be impossible. The only solution would have been to replace the endpapers with new ones made of plain paper. However, on closer inspection it was clear that though badly torn, almost all of the printed endpaper was still present. Consequently, using a scanner and a computer I could restore the endpaper back to a reasonably good condition. In the past, I have used this technique to repair endpapers decorated with a simple repeating pattern. A pictorial endpaper repair would be possible using the same method.
Repairing the binding
Repairing the binding was relatively straightforward. The text block was separated from the binding and re-glued and re-lined to make it solid again. The original cloth spine was removed and set aside. I then created a new spine for the the book in cloth of a similar colour to the original covering material. The original spine was then mounted onto the new one. Finally, the frayed and spongey edges and corners of the covers were consolidated. This completed the repair process for the binding itself.
The endpaper repair
Though split along the hinge, the front endpaper was otherwise mostly intact. As it featured the same illustration as that on the rear endpaper, I used that as my source image. Firstly, I scanned it and then digitally reassembled it back into a single picture on my computer. I then printed out a couple of copies onto blank sheets of paper. These sheets would be the repair material to patch any lost areas of the illustration on either of the endpapers.
The endpapers were gently lifted around all of the areas where damage had occurred. I then made patches from the new sheets that corresponded with the gaps where the original design had been lost. Finally, the patches were pasted into their correct positions and the lifted edges were then pasted down over them. This resulted in barely visible joins between the old and new paper.
Without a scanner, computer and printer, it would have been almost impossible to replicate the lost parts of these pictorial endpapers. Using this equipment, modern technology was combined with traditional repair techniques to put a much-loved book back into good order. I seem to have more and more people bringing me their cherished 20th century children’s books to repair these days. Many 20th century children’s books have pictorial endpapers so I may be using this technique again in the future.