Tom Phippen

Professional web dev, amateur bookbinder, socialist

Of Mice and Men


This year’s Designer Bookbinders competition was Of Mice and Men. I’ve done a James Brockman style concave spine, quarter bound in leather with cave paper boards. The endpapers are cloth jointed marbled paper, the end bands are hand sewn.

The solander box is in green buckram with navy blue silk moire sides & blue backcloth on the trays, roughly matching the green leather / blue cave paper.

Lean Out


My first lockdown book is Lean Out by Dawn Foster, another hard left book in a red binding. It’s in quarter vellum with red/orange duotone cloth sides, the endpapers are marbled by Jemma Lewis, and it’s printed on Zerkall mould-made paper. The solander box is bound in Metallic Buckram with homemade paste paper lining the inner tray.

This turned out quite well, except for the printer being a pain in the arse.

Birds: The Art of Ornithology


This is a binding of the prints from the Natural History Museum edition.

The book of prints is three-quarter bound in green buckram, with Birdsong Katazome-Shi on the front board, the end papers are marbled and the end bands hand sewn. The prints are mounted on goat parchment paper.

The solander box has a cut out for the companion book, which is covered in a bird print, the rest of the box is bound in green and blue book cloth, with a parrot print on the cover.

The Law of Freedom


The Law of Freedom was a porto-communist manifesto written by Gerrard Winstanley. This edition was typeset & printed by by me on Caneletto Velino paper.

It’s bound in red/orange duotone cloth with hand sewn end bands. The endpapers in the 2 copies are 1 marbled by Jemma Lewis and 1 with Huun handmade paper, matching the linings of their solander cases. The cases are in Asahi bookcloth and maroon, or really more of a burgundy buckram.

The Illustrated Man


The Illustrated Man was the Designer Bookbinder’s competition using the Folio Society text. This version is bound in quarter bound in parchment, with translucent parchment sides over coloured paper, with a linocut Baobab Tree. The endpapers are cloth jointed marbled paper, the end bands hand-sewn.

The solander case is in a dark green buckram and light green cloth.

I single-handedly fixed the Sunday train service.


Or possibly it was going to change anyway, but I’ll happily claim the credit. After finally getting annoyed enough about freezing on a bench at Andover for an hour I sent this message to South Western Railway

When South West Trains were running the franchise trains only stopped at Whitchurch and Overton every 2 hours on a Sunday. You’ve carried on this policy, can I ask why?* It adds a significant amount of time to travel. 2 hours if coming from the west, or 90+ minutes from the east (going through Overton and Whitchurch, changing at Andover and coming back up the line is quicker).

But it doesn’t appear to save you anything, there can’t be any real cost to stopping at these 2 stations (and Grately which gets the opposite trains stopping), the time is irrelevant as it’s a Sunday and the trains take long stops at Yeovil Junction and Salisbury. The trains also stop at the small stations west of Salisbury.

Bit it does seem like it would cost you in terms of lost passengers, if someone looks at a journey and thinks they’re going to spend nearly 2 hours waiting at Basingstoke station if they miss a train by a couple of minutes then they’re not going to do it.

* I did ask a guard, he thought it was stupid and said I should contact you

And eventually got this response

So hopefully in May I’ll have to find something new to moan about, shouldn’t be too hard.

The Communist Manifesto


It’s 170 years to the day since The Communist Manifesto was published, here’s my recently completed hand-bound edition. Quarter-bound in vellum with red silk moire sides & white silk endpapers. The solander box is bound in blue silk moire, with gold Unryu sides and extracts on parchment paper lining the inside. It’s set in Doves Type using the text from Project Gutenberg

Keeping Richard Adams in Whitchurch


I saw last year that Richard Adams’s library was up for auction. I wanted to keep at least one of the books in Whitchurch, but couldn’t quite stretch to the £47,800 for the Second Folio.

I did manage to get the 12 volume 1820 edition of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, featuring the great bookplate.

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire 12 Volumes

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Cover

Richard Adams's bookplate

Dots in class names, a useful css note

Web Design

I’ve never put a . in a class name before, but need to for a current job, just found out that this works


<span class="">span</span>


span.class\.name { /* styling */ }

Mars Bar chocolate brownie recipe



  • 100g butter
  • 200g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 65g cocoa powder
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • salt
  • baking powder
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 1 Mars Bar


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C
  2. Grease baking pan
  3. Melt 100g of butter and put in mixing bowl
  4. Stir in sugar, eggs, 65g cocoa powder and 1 tsp vanilla
  5. Cut Mars Bar in half so the caramel and nougat are 2 separate bits.
  6. Cut the nougat half into chunks, add to mixture
  7. Beat in 125g flour, salt & baking powder
  8. Spread batter into pan
  9. Cook for 25-30 mins, I turn it every 5 mins to get an even cook
  10. Icing – Boil saucepan of water
  11. Put 3 tbsp butter, 3 tbsp cocoa powder, 1 tbsp honey, to bowl above heat
  12. Cut caramel from Mars Bar into chunks and add to mix
  13. Add some of the icing sugar in and stir until mixed, repeat until it’s all in
  14. Add icing when brownies are still warm.