Nick Steidl has been elected Master of the Stationers’ Company and says his focus will be on creating a strong future for the Livery. “We are custodians of our 600-year history, but more importantly we are the architects of our future,” he says.
Some 600 years ago most craftsmen in London were itinerant. However the manuscript writers and illuminators decided to concentrate their efforts and set up stalls or ‘stations’ around St Paul’s Cathedral. Because of this they were given the nickname ‘Stationers’ and this was the obvious choice of name for the guild they established in 1403. When printing came to England in the late 15th century, the Stationers had the good sense to embrace it and have continued to adapt to the many changes in the Communications and Content industries ever since.
Leaving school at seventeen Steidl went straight into the family paper business - the third generation. He worked on the agency side, H.H. Pegg Limited, helping to build up sales and increasing all service aspects of the company. In 1980 on the death of his father, he became Chairman of the Group. He was President of the Paper Agents Association in 1988 and President of the Paper Industry Charitable Trust in 2003. In 2013, he was awarded the Paper Industry Gold Medal.
Steidl became a Liveryman of the Stationers’ Company in 1990 and joined the Court in 2008. He led the Company’s Future of Paper and Print research project, published in 2009. He served for a number of years as a Trustee of the Stationers’ Foundation and was Chairman from 2011 to 2013.
His term of office will see the Archive moved to a location where it can better display its historical documents. This is just the start to the planned renovation of the Hall, which could take two to ten years to fund and complete but it is deemed a vital investment, given the Company’s strategic objective of opening the Hall for public access and as a centre of learning.
Education, too, will continue to be keenly promoted as Steidl was instrumental in negotiating the partnership with the Stationers’ Crown Woods Academy, a secondary school which benefits from the time, money and expertise supplied by Liverymen and members of the Company.
“Look beyond the horizon, not at it; that’s great advice. We respect history and pageantry but our focus as a Company needs to be on the future,” he says. “The BBC called us a think tank and, although not strictly true, it is a good description. We link together people from several different business sectors including paper, print, packaging, digital and hard copy publishing and paper; it is a meeting point and information exchange centre for many key decision-makers. The company remains relevant and proactive and I am passionate that this continues and that we have gender balance and represent the UK citizenship generally moving forward.”
Nick Steidl succeeds Ian Bennett, the founder and key moving force behind the Digital Media Group. As a keen photographer he says he plans to communicate via Instagram in his year of office, preferring images over words.