The London book trades, 1735-1775: a checklist of members in trade directories and in Musgrave's Obituary
This checklist was originally prepared for the British Library in 1977 so that the information could be available for the team working on the Eighteenth-Century Short Title Catalogue. After the ESTC entered its second stage and the British Book Trades Index had been proposed, it was made more generally available in a revised form in 1983 as Exeter working paper no. 3, so that it could prove of assistance to other libraries and individuals working on both those projects. The original checklist was compiled purely from trade directories in the excellent collections of Guildhall Library, London and from those entries in Sir William Musgrave's Obituary prior to 1800 (1899-1901) which indicated that the person was engaged in the book trades. No other sources were checked for confirmation as it was decided to let the two sources speak for themselves.
Sources, For this web version some additional information has been incorporated to identify and differentiate individuals better. The sources used and their abbreviations are as follows:
McK. McKenzie, D.F. Stationers' Company apprentices 1701-1800 (Oxford Bibliographical Society, 1977).
Mus. Musgrave, Sir William . Obituary prior to 1800 (Harleian Society, 1899-1901).
Plomer Plomer, H.R. A dictionary of the printers and booksellers who were at work in England, Scotland and Ireland from 1726 to 1775 (Bibliographical Society, 1932).
Timp. Timperley, C.H. Encyclopedia of literary and typographical anecdote (H.G.Bohn, 1842).
The present compiler's The London book trades 1775-1800 carries the information on into the last quarter of the 18th century and beyond but as the directories were searched for the present list in more detail than for the 1775-1800 list, they may in fact provide amended information for some entries in that list,
Directories, The following directories were examined:
1740 Complete guide
1741 Universal pocket companion
1744 Complete guide
1745 Universal pocket companion (reprinter, of 1741)
1749 Complete guide
1752 Complete guide
1755 Complete guide
|1758 complete guide|
1760 Universal pocket companion
1760 Complete guide
1763 Complete compting house companion
1763 Complete guide
1765 Complete guide
1768 New complete guide
1770 New complete guide
1772 New complete guide
The standard work on London directories is The directories of London 1677-1977 by P.J.Atkins (1990) which extends and largely supersedes The London directories 1677-1855 by Charles William Frederick Goss (1932).
Dates, The sources for dates taken from directories are indicated by the appropriate initial letters placed after the date. The New complete guide (N) is very outdated in much of its information, and shows signs of copying from Kent's directory. Kent tends to be relatively up to date in this early period, as comparison with terminal dates dervied from directories with obituary dates will show. Where directories apparently retain outdated information, this is normally indicated at the end of the entry using the style "Still listed 1768N-1770N". Where the terminal date in a range is taken from a directory and the initial date is not, it can be assumed that only that one directory has been found to list the individual. Virtually the only flesh on the bare bones of the directory listing is provided by Mortimer's directory of 1763, unfortunately only one edition of which was published. With a few exceptions, street numbering first appears in London directories in Kent's directory of 1767 (1767K). For dates prior to that a house number is preceded by a question mark where there is no reason to believe that the address differs from that after house numbering was introduced.
Basire, Isaac, engraver, London; Great Queen Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields 1763M. Died 24 Aug 1768. Historical, portrait & architectural engraver. Engraver to Society of Antiquaries 1763M. Sources: Musgrave.
Bickerton, [Ralph] Weaver, bookseller & publisher, London : Black Swan, Exchange Alley 1726 ; Devereux Court without Temple Bar 1728-1730 ; Lord Bacon's Head, corner of Palsgrave's Head Court, Without Temple Bar c.1730-1735 ; Exchange Passage, Fleet Street 1744-1746 ; at his shop in Eton College (1737). Born: 1702, son of Ralph Bickerton citizen and Merchant Taylor (possibly baptised 10 June 1672, Saint Dunstan in the West, son of Francis and Hester), and Elizabeth (Ralph married Elizabeth Weaver 21 Apr. 1701 Saint Katharine by the Tower), baptised 18 May 1702 Saint Martin in the Fields. Apprenticed to Daniel Brown, bookseller, citizen and stationer 12 Nov. 1716, free Stationers' Co. 7 Dec. 1725, one apprentice George Spavan £25 premium 1727. ESTC has 50 records. One of the proprietors of the Grub Street Journal, 1730. Seems to have shared copyrights with Thomas Astley and Stephen Austin 1732. Partner in publishing the translation of Bayle's Dictionary 1735. Sources: McKenzie, D.F., Stationers' Company apprentices 1701-1800 (Oxford, 1978) no 1174 ; Eighteenth Century Short Title Catalogue ; Plomer, Henry R. A dictionary of the printers and booksellers who were at work in England, Scotland and Ireland from 1726 to 1775 (London, 1932) ; Foxon, David, English verse 1701-1750 (Cambridge, 1975)
Bickerton, Thomas, bookseller & publisher, London : Golden Flower de Luce, Saint Paul's Churchyard 1708 ; Little Britain 1716-1719 (Rose and Crown 1718) ; Crown, Paternoster Row 1719-1722. Apprenticed to George Sawbridge 7 Sep. 1696, free Stationers' Co. 6 Aug 1705, 1705-1730 7 apprentices including Samuel Bickerton, turned over from Thomas Braddyl 9 June 1707. Active 1707-1730. 12 records ESTC. Sold John Bramhall's The Consecration & Succession of Protestant Bishops 1716. Sources: McKenzie, D.F., Stationers' Company apprentices 1701-1800 (Oxford, 1978) no. 7170 ; Eighteenth Century Short Title Catalogue.
Blackwell, Alexander, printer, London. Married: Elizabeth Blackwell (1707-1758), author of A Curious Herbal (1737-1739). Did not serve apprenticeship. Worked as a corrector for W. Wilkins and then became a printer himself. Published at least three books in 1733. In the court of common pleas a trial took place 10 July 1734 between James Jervaise, plaintiff, and Alexander Blackwell, defendant, for exercising the art and trade of printing, not having served a regular apprenticeship thereto. A verdict was given to the plaintiff, and 40s damages for exercising the said trade one month, according to the act of 5th Elizabeth. On 10 Sept 1734 a commission of bankrupt was issued against him; and, "to compleat his ruin, one of his creditors arrested and sent him to prison, where he remained, for near two years, in a very helpless condition". He later attempted to become Secretary of the Society for the Encouragement of Learning using "printer" as his profession. London Gazette; Timperley; Gent's Mag, Sept 1747 p. 425; Information from Fernando E. Vega
Boydell, John, printseller, engraver, Cheapside 1760C. corner of Queen Street, Cheapside 1763M-1765C. 90, Cheapside 1768K-1775K. Importer of foreign prints 1763M. Wife died 27 Jan 1781. Sources: Musgrave
Bradley, Thomas, stationer, near Billingsgate, Thames Street 1753K-1754K. ?9, Lower Thames Street 1761K-1765K. 9, Lower Thames Street 1767K-1769K. 2, Fish Street Hill 1770K-1775K. See also Bradley & Holdengraver,
Caslon, Thomas, bookseller, ?4, Stationers Court, Ludgate Street 1759K-1765K. 4, Stationers Court, Ludgate Street 1767K-1775L. 4, Cock Alley, Ludgate Street 1769P-1772N. Specialised in Bibles and Common Prayers 1763M.
Clarke, John, bookseller, under South Entrance, Royal Exchange 1742K-1763K. under Fourth Entrance, Royal Exchange 1760U. Saint Paul's Churchyard 1745-1746. Died May 1746, widow Anne died 11 Aug 1755. Sources: Musgrave; McKenzie. Died 22 May 1765. Also Bridgemaster. Sources: Musgrave
Davenhill, William, bookseller, stationer, ?103, Leadenhall Street 1765K. 103, Leadenhall Street 1767K. 8, Cornhill 1768K-1772K. Freemans Court, Cornhill 1773L. 4, Newmans Court, Cornhill 1774L. 19, Cornhill, 1775L. Died 30 Jan 1779. Sources: Musgrave
Field, Thomas, bookseller, corner of Paternoster Row, Cheapside 1755K-1765K. Probably later with Simmons Field & Stephenson. 5, Leadenhall Street 1767K-1775L. Trading as Simmons Field & Stephenson. McKenzie 2893.
Fry, William (1), stationer, New North Street, Red Lion Square 1768K. 71, Holborn Bridge 1769K. Continued as Fry & Webookbinder,71, Holborn Bridge 1771K. Previously Fry and Webookbinder, Continued to be listed 1772N-1775N.
Fuller, John (2), bookseller, Blowbladder Street 1759K-1765K. 20 Jonathan's Coffee Ho, Exchange Alley 1767K-1768K. Hoxton 1769K-1770K. 10 Jonathan's Coffee Ho, Exchange Alley 1769P. Union Coffee House 1771K-1775K. Also broker. No longer desribed as bookseller 1769K onwards.Islington 1771K-1775K. Designated as junior.
Johnson, Joseph (1), stationer, ? 8, Paternoster Row 1755K. Continued as Johnson & Unwin, 8, Paternoster Row 1768N. Also in partnership as Johnson & Unwin, Johnson & Payne.72, Saint Paul's Churchyard 1772L-1775L.
Keith, George, bookseller, ?38, Gracechurch Street 1753K-1765K. 38, Gracechurch Street 1767K-1769K. 2, Talbot Court, Gracechurch Street 1770K-1775K. 38, Talbot Court, Gracechurch Street 1770N. Error for 38 Gracechurch Street?.
Knox, John, bookseller, Strand 1767K-1768K. near Beaufort Buildings, Strand 1769K-1770K. 105, Strand 1769P-1772N. near New Church, Strand 1771K-1775K. 148, Strand 1772L-1775L. As John and Samuel Knox 1770N.
Molini, Peter, bookseller, 18, Haymarket, Saint James's 1772L-1774L. Publ. Hog's Jrnl. Imprisoned 1724. D. 20 Sep 1737. Sources: Musgrave; Plomer18, Oxenden Street, Saint James's 1775L. Described as Italian merchant & bookseller 1775K.
Nicoll, William, bookseller, stationer, ?51, Saint Paul's Churchyard 1763M. Trading as Wilson & Nicol.51, Saint Paul's Churchyard 1768K-1775L. Published Lloyd's Chronicle 1763M. Wife died 7 Jul 1784. Sources: Musgrave
Stephens, John, stationer, Back Side, Royal Exchange 1742K-1765K. 2, Threadneedle Street 1767K-1769K. 2, Bartholomew Lane, Threadneedle Street 1770K. As John Stephens & Son 1763K-1770K. Died 17 Dec 1770? Mus..
Stuart, Zachariah, bookseller, ?67 near Cheapside, Paternoster Row 1763M-1765K. 67, Paternoster Row 1767K-1771K. Wholesale dealer in books 1763M. Still listed 1773L.67, Paternoster Row 1767K-1771K. Wholesale dealer in books 1763M. Still listed 1773L.
Unwin, Henry, stationer, King Street 1754K. Described as haberdasher. Prob. later stationer, Cheapside.Cheapside 1755K. Paternoster Row 1758C-1765C. As Johnson & Unwin 1758C-1765C. Died 2 Dec 1765. Sources: Musgrave
Yates, Edward, stationer, ? 94, Leadenhall Street 1763M-1765K. 94, Leadenhall Street 1767K-1772K. 95, Leadenhall Street 1772L. 194, Leadenhall Street 1774L. 174, Aldersgate Street 1774L. See also Yates & Barnes.
This page last updated 15 February 2012
© Ian Maxted, 2001.