For as long as I can remember I have found a certain joy in looking through the pages of my family’s visitors books, from the one my parents ask guests to sign should they spend a night or two at their London pad, to the excitement of seeing who had stayed at the family villa in Portugal since I was last there. There is nothing like opening up the pages and seeing the rows and rows of signatures and comments of those who have been there before you.
Not only is it good seeing names and signatures but visitors’ books are also a great way of tracking history, both personal and more widespread. Our family book in Portugal contains my ‘signature’ from when I could first write, and develops as the years pass until it includes my husband and now my son too. Each year we have written a little comment, about the wonderful time we have had, or what we are up too. One comment ‘My first visit as a Mrs’ spurred a thread of comments from other regular visitors stating how much they enjoyed seeing us grow as a family through the visitor book updates each year. So it clearly isn’t just me who loves to look through it!
Sophia Money-Coutts writes in an article for Tatler that the origination of visitors books is rumoured to be
“in 1753 by the 4th Earl of Frodsham, a playboy who wanted to keep track of which mistress had been to stay on which weekend so he didn't muddle them up.”
More than just a tracker, these books, which have been around for hundreds of years provide a little bit of history in the making. A great way of collecting signatures from anyone who stays, and you never know when someone will become famous and make your book even more interesting or even valuable!
Look at the visitors books of any of the ‘big houses’ and you are sure to find all sorts of interesting people. Highclere’s visitors book for example, contains the signatures of Lewis Carroll and Henry James. Yet even if you don’t live on an Estate such as Highclere and your guests aren’t ever likely to be famous, these books are still a great amount of fun. While tradition dictated that one should only ever sign one’s name, these days the etiquette regarding visitors books has loosened up, and you can generally make them as fun as you like. Drunken tales of waking the household up, or reminisces on the games of Scrabble you kept losing are all part of the fun and uniqueness of the modern day visitors book, just remember when you write that you don’t know who will be reading your comments further down the line!
And Other Memories new visitors book contain columns for the Date, Name of the Guest, Address and a Comment. All of these things are fun to track. The date column allows you to see when people visited or how long it has been since their last visit. The name column provides a place for their signature and although people may not include their full address it’s great to see where people are coming from. If they do include their full address it can be a great way of collecting addresses, perfect for Christmas Cards – specially in this day and age when people are less and less likely to keep records of people’s addresses. Finally, the comment column is what brings the book to life and provides a little bit of uniqueness as each person jots down something that will remind you of their visit.
Our unique leather visitors books are totally personalised as well. Choose the wording to go on the front, debossed on an inset rectangle of a different colour and replicate those words at the bottom of each page. Whether it is the name of the house, the street name or a fun nod to the property or owner such as one I recently had made for a client stating “Maison de Pippa,” these personalised visitors books not only exude luxury but the personalised element adds a touch of fun and indulgence. Add the ribbon marker so you can always make sure you are on the most recent page and you have the perfect personalised visitors book.
The bonded leather cover is made from genuine leather fibres and is the closest to the real deal you will find. Looking, feeling and smelling like 100% leather these gorgeous books contain an inset rectangle on the cover where the personalisation takes place. As all our books are bespoke to you, not only can you choose the wording, you can also pick from a choice of colours for the cover and inset title rectangle. I love the one I recently had made in two shades of blue, but why not mix it up with red, green, brown and black as other colours to choose from. Don’t like leather? Just get in touch to see what other materials we offer such as the mock lizard skin above.
And Other Memories bespoke visitors books all come gift boxed so if you don’t want to keep the book out on display permanently it can also be kept safe and cosy in it’s box ready for the next lot of visitors. Just don’t forget to get it out and ask them to sign it!
All this still sound too run of the mill and want to make your visitors book even more personal? You can make your visitors’ book even more unique with the entries of your guests. One guest at our house in Portugal wrote a poem about their stay at the villa that they then stuck into the book as a record for future visitors. This made me think of other unique things you can do with yours:
Ask each guest to write a line of a poem so that the comment columns’ of the book becomes one big, long poem!
Ask each guest to create a little doodle in the comment column that depicts their stay – turn your visitors book into a miniature art piece.
Ask for three words describing their stay.
Ask for one word that suggests what they did during their stay.
Get a pack of different coloured pens and ask each guest to sign in a different colour so the book becomes a rainbow of names.
Stick to the traditional name and location of where the guests are from to create an elegant register of visitors.
Visitors books really are a wonderful keepsake not only for you but also for future generations, who will be interested in what we got up too and who we were friends with. And Other Memories gorgeous weighty bonded leather books are a wonderful way of capturing memories, and these personalised visitors books make a wonderful gift for birthdays, Christmas, or as a thank you for having me to stay.
And Other Memories Personalised Visitors’ Books cost £145.00 in bonded leather, which includes personalisation, gift box and postage. Each A5 landscape book is made specifically for you. For other cover materials prices will decrease, just get in touch here to discuss the options.