The London book trades 1775-1800: a preliminary checklist of members.
WARNING: Much of the text of these pages is made up of unverified OCR generated text.
It should also be pointed out that an important pervasive error was caused by a fault in the computer typesetting program which set the original book. The plus sign after certain dates was omitted throughout the book. This sign was used to indicate that a firm continued in business for an indefinite period after the last date checked, normally 1830. Its omission can be detected by the presence of an extra space between the date and any following punctuation. A similar error occurs with the equals sign, normally used in the combination ?=, meaning "possibly the same as". In the introduction a number of errors were not corrected after proof-reading. These latter are listed on the microfiches in the published version of Working Paper no. 1. Those sections that have been verified correct these errors.
Note on arrangement
The operation of digital capture of the text has sometimes disrupted the original arrangement where, within each surname, partnerships were listed first with the appropriate cross-references followed by individuals alphabetically by initial or first name. Firms where the full name is followed by 'and Son' or 'and Co.' are treated as individuals for the purpose of arrangement. Cross-references from partners have been made consistently only between the years 1775 and 1800 to avoid giving separate entries to persons who may not have been active within the period covered by the checklist. With certain frequent names that are particularly prone to variant spelling, all forms of the the name were interfiled with appropriate cross-references, e.g. Brook/Brooke/Brookes. This has not always been followed during the digital capture. The abbreviations following many of the dates refer to trade directories and are explained in the key to sources.
PREFACE (revised from the 1977 version)
These web pages are derived from a work which was originally published by William Dawson in 1977. It was based on a dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Librarianship at the University of Sheffield. For the purpose of the dissertation only the first ten per cent of the list and an introduction were prepared, but it was felt worth while that the compilation be continued with a view to publication. The aim of the work was to provide, by approaching a limited selection of wide-ranging sources, a checklist of members of the book and allied trades in the London area which would be sufficiently comprehensive to serve as a basis for further study and as a much needed stop-gap for the at that time poorly documented period of the late eighteenth century. Five years part-time research uncovered some 4,000 individuals and firms, simply by approaching those sources which would show the most immediate returns. It certainly did not represent all those who were active in the trades since many of the firms listed were known from only one stray reference, and the dates given for many of the others cannot possibly span their whole career. In 1977 I stated that "there is a need for a cumulated biographical index to members of the British book trades from the beginnings of printing until at least the introduction on a large scale of mechanisation in the middle of the nineteenth century". This need is now being met by the British Book Trades Index, tirelessly promoted by Professor Peter Isaac and also by the indexes associated with the new editions of works such as Wing and the English Short Title Catalogue. In addition the Stationers' Company apprentice registers have now been indexed to 1800 by the late D.F.McKenzie and many additional biographical dictionaries of book trade personnel have appeared.
The thanks of those who assisted in the compilation of the original work can be repeated here: the staff of the Postgraduate School of Librarianship and Information Science at the University of Sheffield for providing the stimulus to start the project, especially Mr. F.S.Stych and Mr. N.Roberts for their advice and encouragement, Miss Hilda Hamlyn (later Mrs Medora) for kindly granting permission to use material from her unpublished thesis on the circulating libraries of the eighteenth century; Guildhall Library for its flexible approach to my work pattern; Ralph Hyde, Keeper of Prints in Guildhall Library for his interest and advice, especially on the choice of publisher; the previous compilers on whose work I have so extensively drawn, the individuals too numerous to name who helped over points of detail, my mother for assistance in typing and my wife Jill who acted as research assistant and proof reader. To these must now be added a host of fellow researchers who have used my work since its first appearance, providing much encouragement to my further researches and a wealth of additional material for inclusion. Especially worthy of mention are Richard Goulden and Mike Crump of the British Library, Professor Peter Isaac of the British Book Trades Index, Robin Myers of the Stationers' Company and Victor Berch of Brandeis University, but there are many more.
This list covers the area which was continuously built up in the late eighteenth century, as a rule not extending further than three miles from St Paul's Cathedral in any direction, and coinciding approximately with London and Westminster and four miles around as mentioned in the 1684 charter of the Stationers' Company. Information relating to outlying localities up to about ten miles from St Paul's was included where noted but not specially sought out.
The term "book trade" is interpreted more widely than in the series of dictionaries published by the Bibliographical Society, and coverage was based on John Pendred's list of 1785, the only groups excluded being the leather trades. One group not mentioned by Pendred is the rag merchant. Many stationers were also rag merchants and the main consumption of rags was in the expanding paper industry. In fact, in abut 1800 D.Jaques published a pamphlet urging the preservation of every scrap of rag for use in the manufacture of paper (Kress: B4092). Other ancillary trades covered in the list include typefounders, ink makers, press makers, paper dealers, printsellers, music sellers and map sellers. Normally only masters are included; compositors, pressmen, journeymen and other assistants are noted only when mentioned in the source consulted. The various sources relating specifically to these groups were not examined; some are listed by Graham Pollard in the appendices to his edition of John Pendred's directory. Coverage of some of the ancillary trades is not necessarily exhaustive. For example a number of joiners other than those specifically describing themselves as printers' joiners may have directed at least a proportion of their efforts at the printing trade.
Engravers pose special problems. They are numerous but less well documented than many other groups. It is not always clear what class of engraver is referred to (gem, seal, watch engraver etc.). Signature on prints are not always explicit and normally only give addresses if the engraver also acted as the publisher. It can be difficult to ascertain which were primarily artists who on occasion engraved their own work and which were professional engravers, or even whether a clear-cut distinction between the two is always possible. Thus, although information on engravers has been included, no attempt has been made to be exhaustive. They have been included when it is fairly certain that they were copperplate engravers, when reasonable details of address are known and when it seems that they were professional engravers rather than artists who on occasion engraved their own work. The filed has been left open for others, such as Mr G.D.R.Bridson who have specialised in gathering biographical information on engravers.
The period covered continues the series of the Bibliographical Society's dictionaries to the end of the eighteenth century when W.B.Todd's Directory of printers begins. Only from 1775 to 1800 were exhaustive searches made in all sources. If all practitioners were traced from the beginning to the end of their activity, almost a century would need to be covered, or more if families and firms were to be followed up. There are a number of firms in existence today whose roots are in the eighteenth century. Nevertheless some attempts have been made to trace practitioners beyond the limits covered exhaustively. The key to sources gives some indication of the extent to which this has been done.
The key to sources provides details of individual items. In general fuller information has been taken from sources which are not arranged alphabetically or which are not well served by indexes. In these cases pagination or other details have been given in the references at the end of each entry. Sources relating to individual firms or practitioners have not normally been referred to in the course of compiling this checklist. This means that the wealth of information dealing with the better-known practitioners has been disregarded in the interests of a better coverage of the host of minor members of the trade.
Though not entirely reliable, these have been the basis of the present checklist. Those searched through page by page have been listed in the key to sources under the heading "Directories". Directories from 1745 to 1774 and 1801 to 1830 have been checked for terminal dates of activity. In view of their unreliability, dates taken from directories are identified by having letters attached, which are explained in the key to sources. Most directories in this period only cover the main thoroughfares and since it is in these that the premises of the distributive trades such as booksellers, stationers and printsellers are located, the great majority, perhaps up to 90 per cent in some fields, has been covered by directories. It would not be so necessary for the manufacturing trades, such as printers and bookbinders, or for ancillary trades to be in the public eye, so they are frequently found in the back alleys, avoided by compiler of all but the largest directories. For example, while booksellers, stationers and printers are to be found in virtually every house in Paternoster Row, bookbinders, engravers and many other printers are to be fund in Ivy Lane, Warwick Lane, Ave Maria Lane and other side streets and alleys in that area. The inclusion or exclusion of trades was also based on social criteria. Three directories published in 1772 listed 111 booksellers as compared with 151 listed by Pendred in 1785, perhaps two thirds of the total, but only listed 13 printers as opposed to Pendred's 124, a little over one tenth of the probable total, and not a single bookbinder compared with 23 listed by Pendred. Although other sources can fill may of the gaps left by directories, the figures show why coverage of the various paerts of the boo trades is uneven in this checklist.
These do not normally indicate occupations. Those for Westminster are frequent exceptions to this rule, and the poll books for 1774 (incomplete), 1784 and 1796 have been exhaustively checked. Poll lists for the City of London have been used for the years 1781, 1784, 1792 and 1796. These give the name of the individual's livery company, and liverymen of the Stationers' Company have been included when they are known to have been active in the book trades. The 1792 list also gives professions, so it has been possible to trace the livery company of many of those practitioners in the book trades who were not members of the Stationers' Company. As the candidates voted for have been indicated in the list, the raw material for an analysis of political allegiance is available. Those poll books consulted are listed under the heading Poll Books in the key to sources where the initials of the persons voted for are also explained.
Lists of bankrupts
Two lists, one compiled by William Smith and the other by William Bailey are available for this period and combined with entries in the Gentleman's Magazine have revealed some 322 London bankruptcies in the book trades between the years 1772 and 1806. The dates given refer to the proceedings and not to the date of entry in the London Gazette, so detailed checks with the original entries have not been made.
Near contemporary sources
The two main sources here are the literary and typographical surveys of Nichols and Timperley which provide useful biographical details, some copied at second or third hand, others based on personal knowledge.
Besides the last in the series of the Bibliographical Society's dictionaries, by Plomer, Bushnell and Dix, and Professor Todd's Directory of Printers, various aspects of the trade, such as bookbinders and music publishers, have their own dictionaries. These have been searched and information extracted for the period covered, as have a number of other non-biographical works cited in the key to sources. On occasion it has been possible to link together references to one person who was active in various fields.
Sources for imprints
As time did not permit the examination of large numbers of books of the period, recourse had to be made to published catalogues, firstly with period limitations, secondly with reasonably full imprints and thirdly with a wide subject coverage, three criteria which are surprisingly difficult to unite between two covers. The Abbey catalogues and the catalogue of the Kress Library as well as the excellent indexes to the British Museum catalogues of political and personal satires have been the main sources here. The ability to refer to numbers in these catalogues means that much information can be compressed into a short space, although in a very few cases the abridged form of the imprint in the catalogue may have lead to a mistaken attribution.
Livery company records
It should be emphasised that the records of the Stationers' Company were not consulted directly for the purposes of this checklist, although information has been incorporated when found in other sources, notably the works of Howe and the City poll lists. This was a deliberate decision. Not only would it have delayed the completion of the work still further, but it would have duplicated much of the research in the records of the Company at present being undertaken by Professor McKenzie and others. However the records of a number of other livery companies have been consulted, although no attempt at an exhaustive or even extensive search has been made. Table 8 gives an indication of the magnitude of such an exhaustive search. Over forty companies had liverymen active in the book trades in 1792, and the number containing freemen would have been even higher. The two companies with the largest showing of book trade members have had their records searched in some detail. Records of the freedom admissions, admissions to the livery and payments of quarterage of the Musicians' Company have been checked to 1800. For the Merchant Taylors' Company apprentice bindings have been searched from 1775 to 1800 and details of masters binding apprentices and a few other known members have been checked against an alphabetical index of freemen. Precise references have not been given since the source of information is normally self-evident with livery company records.
Any attempt to analyse the overall structure of the book trades in the late eighteenth century must proceed with caution until further research has been done.
Firstly, there is no single satisfactory bibliography for the eighteenth century. Wing's Short-title Catalogue ends at 1700 and the English Catalogue of Books retrospective volume does not commence until 1801. The various book trade bibliographies which cover part of the period and the lists of new publications in periodicals and newspapers are uneven in coverage and frequently unreliable as well as being bibliographically uninformative.
Secondly, such statistics as are available do not give sufficient information for one to draw more than tentative conclusions. The main series were compiled as a result of the Stamp Acts and are given in Aspinall's articles (1948, 1950). Perhaps the most useful for general purposes are those for the product of the pamphlet duty, but since duty was charged on each sheet and not each edition, one needs to know the average number of sheets in each pamphlet to be able to compute the output of titles. Aspinall gives statistics for the numbers of newspaper stamps for the period 1749-56 ( 1948, p. 204) and the figures for the numbers of newspapers sold or the total produce of the newspaper stamp are recorded in various sources for later dates although the original Stamp Office records do not survive.
Thirdly, the reference works, notably directories, published during the period are also very uneven and unreliable. The only directory specifically of the book trades is Pendred's of 1785. Indeed this is the only such directory known until Hodson's of 1855. However in the tables following the introduction the relevant entries from directories for 1763, 1772, 1802, 1817 and 1822 have been tabulated to form some basis for comparison. Pendred's thoroughness varies. While he includes many printers not in the Stationers' Company or otherwise mentioned in directories and can be considered probably 95 per cent complete for this trade, the 23 book and vellum binders represent less than 50 per cent of the 50 masters recorded for 1786 by the Jaffray mss. (Howe and Child, p. 22).
Lastly detailed studies, such as those done on individual archives, although providing much valuable information, cannot necessarily form the basis for more general assessments of the trade as a whole. Strahan, studied by Hernlund, and Bowyer, studied by Gaskell, for example are certainly not average printers. Strahan with nine presses in 1800 ran probably the biggest firm the London trade had ever seen and the output of Bowyer 'the most learned printer of the eighteenth century' was scarcely run of the mill.
The size of the London book trades was largely dependent on the number of presses available to produce printed matter. Two detailed breakdowns exist, one for 1668 (in the State Papers 29/243) showing 26 masters, 24 apprentices and 148 journeymen, a total of 198 men working 65 presses, an average of 3.0 workers per press and 2.5 presses per office, though some were not in use so the average number of workers per press would be somewhat higher. The other, made for Francis Place in 1818, is summarised in Table 7. Here compositors and pressmen are distinguished but the number of presses is not given. The total of offices and compositors appears to be relatively accurate, the figures for pressmen approximate only, the total of 700 being far too low. The twelve representative offices analysed in detail show a ratio of 214: 139 between compositors and pressmen, a ratio which corresponds quite closely with, for example, the 14 compositors and 9 pressmen employed by Bowyer in February 1732 to keep four and a half presses active (McKenzie, 1969, pp. 68-9). Applying this ratio to the total of 1,882 compositors and assuming the proportion of apprentices to be correct, the figures for pressmen and apprentices should be increased from 700 and 200 to 1250 and 350. This would give a total of 625 active presses, about 2.7 per office, rather more realistic than the average of 1.5 which Place's figure would give and not so different from the 1668 average of 2-5. Though admittedly the average of 5.4 workmen per press is rather high it does include both masters and apprentices. If the latter were omitted the average would be almost identical to the figure for 1668.
The number of printers active at various dates can be gleaned from a number of sources, mostly cited in the notes to Pendred (pp. 54-60) and set out in Table 10. The general picture is of a gradual rise throughout the eighteenth century, increasing more rapidly towards the end, followed by a period of stagnation or even recession during the early years of the nineteenth century, then from perhaps about 1815 a further steady increase which was to continue for the rest of the century.
The 124 printing offices listed by Pendred in 1785 would have run some 300 presses. Gaskell (1972, pp. 139-41), basing his figures on McKenzie (1966, vol. I, pp. 132-43), shows that while the daily output of a press could vary between at least 1,566 to 3,450 impressions per day, contract prices were usually based on an average of 2,500 to 3,000 impressions. Gaskell also shows (1972, pp. 161-62) that the most economical size of edition was around 1,500 and in fact 90 per cent of 514 books published by Strahan between 1738 and 1785 were in editions of less than 2,000 (Hernlund, 1967, p. 104). Pamphlets and jobbing work though could easily run to larger numbers as they lacked the considerable overheads of larger undertakings. However on the assumption of an average edition size of 1,500 and an average output of 3,000 impressions per day, a press could perfect one edition sheet per day or, with a six-day week, 300 sheets per year.
In 1785 the pamphlet stamp duty collected at the Head Office from London publishers was £359 10/- (Aspinall, 1948, p. 209 and see Table 13). Duty had been levied since 1712 at a rate of 2/- per edition sheet under the Act 10 Anne cap. 19 (Aspinall, 1948, pp. 201-2), so that this represents a total of 3,595 edition sheets. Allowing the averages calculated above, the stamped pamphlets could only have kept 12 presses continuously active out of the 300. However there was certainly much evasion of the tax. In the Kress catalogue in the late eighteenth century pamphlets as defined by the 1712 Act account for over 50 per cent of the London imprints.
Newspapers would probably account for little more than the twelve presses mentioned above. In 1785 Pendred lists 28 newspapers which would have brought out some 90 editions per week. Dailies were normally one sheet in size at this time, two sheets being more common for those appearing less frequently. Circulation figures are difficult to generalise about. In 1791 the publisher of the British Gazette and Sunday Monitor claimed a circulation of 4,000. This must have been most unusual and the paper was a weekly one and so likely to attract a larger readership than a daily. Daniel Stuart, one of the most successful newspaper proprietors of the period, increased the circulation of the Morning Post from 350 to 4,500 and of the Courier from 1,500 to 7,000. The circulation of the popular Morning Advertiser was 1,700 (Aspinall, 1949, p. 120), and Werkmeister (p. 4) estimates a range of 800 to 3,000. Allowing an average circulation of 1,500, a total of 125 sheets per week would keep some 20 presses continuously active. Even allowing Aspinall's more generous listing of about 40 newspapers in 1785 in his table of the balance of the advertisement duty outstanding (1948, pp. 210-32) the total could hardly be pushed much above thirty presses. The 7,000,000 London newspapers recorded as sold in 1800 (Aspinall, 1949, p. 351) would only keep 16 presses continuously active. Pendred shows that 16 printers out of 124 were engaged on newspaper work in 1785. Few of these would have been occupied solely in this kind of work.
It is difficult to estimate the number of periodicals published in 1785 since a number would have become defunct within a few months of their founding and virtually impossible to trace. Timperley (p. 805) gives a list of 50 monthly publications in 1800 though he must exclude many of the more ephemeral titles. The New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature shows some 31 titles as current in 1785. Circulation figures are even more difficult to generalise about than with newspapers. There is a unique series of figures for the London Magazine from 1733 to 1747 showing a rapid rise from 4,000 in 1733 to 7,000 in 1735. For the rest of the period it remained around 7,000 to 8,000. In discussing these figures McKenzie and Ross (pp. 11-2) compare this with Johnson's figure of 10,000 for the Gentleman's Magazine in the 1740s. These figures refer to the two most successful general periodicals of the eighteenth century and figures for more specialised and less successful periodicals would be far below this. Ackers printed perhaps 2,500 copies of the London Magazine in 1732, its first year. This could well represent a typical circulation figure for a periodical. A normal monthly issue of a periodical would be made up of some six quarto sheets, or 80 for a year including indexes and supplements. Working on the basis of 31 titles with 48 quarto pages in each issue and with circulations of 3,000 copies, less than 20 presses would be kept continuously active by periodical work. The growth of the eighteenth-century periodical press is shown in Table 9. It indicates that output approximately doubled over the period covered by the present checklist.
Thus although it has been claimed that printers achieved a large degree of autonomy from the booksellers by the publication of newspapers and periodicals (Handover, pp. 196, 199-200; Gaskell, 1956), it cannot be shown that this type of material occupied more than a small proportion of the total output - 15 per cent would probably be a generous estimate.
The vast growth of jobbing printing would also occupy a good many of the available presses. Posters, trade cards, playbills and billheads began to be printed to a much greater extent than before and the development of government, financial and other institutions demanded the production of documents and forms, most of them printed. Marriage registers for example began to be kept on printed forms from 1753 under Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act, 26 Geo. 2 cap. 33. Livery companies began to publish annual lists of their livery, the Stationers as early as 1721, the Clockmakers in the 1780s and there were also bylaws, invitations and other notices. It was against this background that the Stationery Office was established in 1786 to supply the government. Although there were printers such as Marshall in St. Mary's Churchyard who specialised in this small-scale work, for most printers these minor jobs kept presses running smoothly between larger contracts. Newspaper and periodical printers in particular, with their presses too regularly committed to take on larger works without interruption, would welcome this type of material. It is impossible even to guess at the volume of this type of work, but it is clear that it was mainly used by printers as a stop-gap to help achieve a smooth flow of work in conjunction with larger jobs.
Bookwork then, was still the backbone of the printers' employment and though there is no single reliable source on which to base estimates, there is no reason to suppose that there was any dramatic increase in the numbers of titles produced each year in the course of the eighteenth century. Wing includes much minor material missed by the book trade bibliographies, which also ignore details of edition and issue. The sources too vary as to whether they include reprints so that exact figures are impossible to arrive at and the tentative conclusions below should be taken as index numbers rather than absolute figures. Tables 11 to 13 give full details.
At the beginning of the eighteenth century the Term Catalogues only list around 400 to 500 items a year although other sources list up to twice this number. The Monthly Catalogue and its successors in the London Magazine and the Gentleman's Magazine list typically 500 to 600 items in the period 1725-60. By this last date the Monthly Review was the chief literary periodical and the first series (1749-89) lists around 600 items per annum according to Nangle. Even the expanded second series only lists 700 to 800 items each year in the 1790s. A sample count of entries in the English Catalogue of Books indicates an average of perhaps 900 items per annum in the first years of the nineteenth century declining to perhaps some 600 in about 1815 and then climbing to about three times that figure by 1835. Assuming the coverage of bibliographies at either end of the century to be equally comprehensive, this implies an increase of only some 50 per cent in the course of the century. In the same period the number of printing houses grew from under 75 to about 200, an increase of 200 per cent. This discrepancy between the numbers and output of presses could partially be accounted for by the growth of jobbing printing and the periodical press. The first London daily was published in 1702; by 1772 there were six dailies and by 1792 fifteen (Werkmeister pp. 409, 428). Over the century the number of periodical titles increased by 700 per cent. Clearly though the output of printed material in the eighteenth century needs further investigation.
The situation of printers was economically below that of retailers although there was great variation in the size of establishment from Strahan down to one-man presses such as Whittingham when established in 1789 or Clowes when established in 1803. The largest firms could vie with the booksellers and even took shares in publications (Handover, p. 198; Sale, pp. 89-91). Others achieved some independence from booksellers by periodical work, but the smallest firms could have survived only meagrely. Costing has shown (Handover, pp. 198-9; Philip, pp. 23-44) that a master with one press could earn little more than his journeyman. Among employees, combination into unions began in the 1780s and the compositors were able to press for an increase in their rates for piece-work in 1785 and at later dates to 1810, when the scale was revised. Pressmen too combined to obtain an amelioration in their rates. Newspaper compositors obtained an advance from 27/- per week to 31/- per week in 1785 (Howe, 1947, pp. 69-83, 372-400). Printers were still localised largely in the areas around Paternoster Row and Fleet Street. As a group, they were among the most loyal members of the Stationers' Company, but though forming the second largest group in the livery, they had only three members on the Court in 1792 (Blagden, 1959, p. 51).
The booksellers, on the other hand, though with slightly fewer members on the livery, still had the largest representation in the Court - 17 in 1792. Nevertheless a high proportion of booksellers were not in the Stationers' Company, nor indeed any other Company. They were far less localised than the printers, with their shops stretching outside the City beyond Fleet Street, along the Strand, around Charing Cross and down Piccadilly and Bond Street with many establishments elsewhere. Little Britain was no longer the centre it once was, with the Ballards the only representatives (Timperley, p. 789). Also, unlike printing, bookselling was not a trade that demanded the traditional seven year apprenticeship (Blagden, 1960, p. 246). Calculations by Howe (1947, pp. 512-3) show the apprentices bound to printers rising from about 110 in the years 1731-35 to about 310 in the years 1791-95. In the same period apprentices bound to booksellers remained static at about forty-five.
Bookshops, usually in the main thoroughfares, were often large. Lackington's 'Temple of the Muses' in Finsbury Square had the Weymouth mail coach drawn by four horses driven round its counters on its opening in 1793 according to a writer in Ackermann's Repository of Arts, vol. 1, 1809, p. 251, and Cadell's establishment in the Strand was described as 'the first in Great Britain and perhaps in Europe' (Timperley, pp. 814-5). They were often considerable social centres, vying with the coffee houses in having copies of newspapers available for consultation. Feltham's Picture of London selects a number of them as fashionable lounging places' in 1802 (p. 28) and in this connection it is worth noting that most of the circulating libraries were run by booksellers. Bell's 'British Library' in the Strand is perhaps the most notable. Many of the booksellers specialised. For example, there was Taylor's 'Architectural Library' in Holborn and Egerton's 'Military Library' in Whitehall, both prominent in publishing illustrated books. There was also a number of booksellers dealing largely in imported books, such as Joseph De Boffe in Gerrard Street for French books and Griffiths in Paternoster Row for German books (Feltham, p. 249).
Though separate from the Stationers' Company, the booksellers formed a powerful and united group. This is seen, for example, in the way they could combine to take shares in ambitious and profitable projects. Some 40 booksellers joined in publishing Johnson's Poets in 1777, 46 for the Works of Johnson in 1792 and 35 for John Charnock's Marine Architecture in 1800 (AL331). Besides this, they could unite against the journeymen bookbinders and compositors in the 1780s (Howe, 1947, pp. 80-1 ; Howe and Child, p. 12) and were in the forefront of the fight for the continuance of perpetual copyright in 1774 (Blagden, 1959, p. 49). In fact, a United Company of Booksellers was proposed at this time to protect copyright owners, 100 of whom were to raise a capital of £10,000 for the reprinting of books liable to piracy (Blagden, 1959, p. 49; Hodgson and Blagden, pp. 219-21).
The stationers were with the booksellers the most important and wealthiest group in the book trades; in fact, many carried on both trades together. The stationers, however, were also connected with the paper trades. The activities of the Fourdriniers, wholesale stationers in Lombard Street, in connection with the development of paper technology are the best-known example of this, but many stationers would also have had shares in paper mills and many were also dealers in rags, the raw material of paper at that time. Pendred in 1785 lists 4 stationers who had the secondary trade of rag merchant and also one who was a rope dealer, presumably the interest here being in hemp for boards. Of the 28 wholesale stationers listed by Holden in his 1802 directory, 8 were also rag merchants. The stationers had grown wealthy through the increased use of paper in periodicals and printing in general as well as in commerce, administration and such specialised uses as paper hangings. Sizeable fortunes could be accumulated. William Gill of Abchurch Lane was said on his death in 1798 to be worth £300,000 and his partner Thomas Wright, who died in the same year, was said to be at least as wealthy (Timperley, p. 798). In 1792 the stationers had the largest representation on the livery of the Stationers' Company, ousting the booksellers who had enjoyed that position at the beginning of the eighteenth century. However, they had not yet quite obtained a predominance on the Court (Blagden, 1959, p. 51). Though, like booksellers, theirs was not a trade that demanded a traditional apprenticeship, bindings increased from about 40 in the period 1731-35 to about 85 in the period 1790-95 (Howe, 1947, pp. 512-3).
The engravers were a large and growing group. Mortimer listed 49 engravers in 1763, Pendred, 61 engravers and copperplate printers in 1785; by 1802 the numbers exceeded 200 (see table 4). It is difficult to distinguish between engravers and printers since most engravers would have at least a proofing press on their premises. A high proportion of books had engraved title pages, frontispieces or plates and even periodicals had plates and maps in each issue. In the 1780s and 1790s the first of the finely illustrated books that producers such as the Boydells, Ackermann and Bulmer were to specialise in, began to appear. Many were coloured by hand in workshops employing women, children and later emigrés and were to reach their peak in the 1820s, dying off as the more convenient wood engraving and mechanical colour processes began to take over (see Table 12). It was largely these books which put England into the forefront of European printing around 1800.
Engraving was far more widely used than letterpress for the better class of jobbing. Trade cards, bill heads, share certificates, banknotes, labels, theatre tickets and invitations were all the province of the rolling-press printer. Prints were also produced in large numbers for separate sale. Two classes of these are mezzotint portraits, or copies of other oil-paintings, and satirical prints. Well over 4,000 of the latter were produced between 1775 and 1800 if those in periodicals are included (BM Satires). Already in the early eighteenth century a special dass of retailer, the printseller, had evolved and Pendred in 1785 lists 19 individuals active in this field; the figure for 1802 is 71. Some, such as Ackermann with his 'Repository of Arts' and the Boydells with their 'Shakspeare Gallery', ran considerable establishments and did much for British art in general. John Boydell is claimed to have spent £350,000 in furthering art (Timperley, pp. 819-20). Many engravers, like William Blake, were superb artists and though many served some kind of apprenticeship, there was no strong allegiance to any particular livery company. In 1792 only 12 engravers or copperplate printers were on the Stationers' livery; 19 were on the livery of other companies, the Goldsmiths' having the most with 5. Similarly the printsellers, being mainly situated in the West End, are also poorly represented on the City livery.
Specialist forms of engraving are playing card making and map and music engraving. The last of these is particularly important, engraving being until the introduction of lithography the most viable way of reproducing music. Pendred in 1785 listed 11 music printers and sellers; over 30 were listed in 1802, 43 in 1817 and 76 in 1822. The detailed examination of music imprints by Humphries and Smith has brought many other individuals to light who were involved in the production or distribution of music in this period. This is to be expected in one of the musical centres of Europe. Musical instrument makers were also an outlet for printed music.
Bookbinders are less prominent than booksellers and stationers though some of the latter such as Bell did also run binding establishments. There were about 50 binders in 1785 (Howe and Child, p. 22) and 69 in 1794 (Pendred, p. 63). There were many fine practitioners but wages in general were lower than in the printing trades. A finisher in 1785 when the journeymen combined to obtain a reduction in hours could earn up to 21/-. Though four were paid 24/- a week this fact was kept concealed (Howe and Child, p. 13). This compares with the 27/- of the news compositors. Book compositors were paid on piece rates so that exact figures are difficult to obtain, but based on the norm of the news men they should have earned about 24/- a week before their increase (Howe, 1947, pp. 69-83, 372-400). As a group the bookbinders were localised to the western half of the City. In 1780 there were only 3 to 4 shops in the West End (Howe, 1950, xxix). This may help to explain why the bookbinders, although a small group, consistently bound more apprentices than the booksellers in the last half of the eighteenth century (Howe, 1947, pp. 512-3). Many bookbinders are also to be found in other Companies, notably the Merchant Taylors, which contained some 50 book and vellum binders in this period.
Paper stainers, paper hanging makers and paper hangers are mentioned here because they are large users of paper, because their techniques are based on relief and intaglio printing and because the occupation was also carried on by many members of the book trades, notably the stationers. Though the earliest known piece of English wallpaper dates from 1509 (Sugden and Edmondson, pp. 10-15), the trade began to reach a distinct form in the early eighteenth century. Mortimer lists 10 paper stainers in 1763, 21 are listed in 1772, there are 109 in 1817, including 45 paper hangers and 119 in 1822 including 85 paper hangers. Only 10 were liverymen in 1792 including 3 in the Stationers' Company. Together with a number of other fringe stationery trades they are included in the statistical tables but have not been incorporated in the checklists unless also active in the book trades.
The Stationers' Company remained a craft guild to a much greater extent than most of the other livery companies. During the course of the century the size of the livery increased from 187 in 1740 (Howe, 1950, p. xvi) to 517 in 1810 (Blagden, 1960, p. 289). At the same time the livery split in two, those who fined for or served as renter warden forming a group senior to those who had not done so. The former group were those who were eligible for promotion onto the Court or governing body, and it was this group that was a product of the eighteenth century since the renter warden had previously ranked immediately below the Court. This situation was brought about by the use of the fine as a means of raising revenue and one result was the disappearance of the yeomanry or ordinary freemen as a collective body after the protest made on their behalf by Jacob Hive in 1762 (Blagden, 1960, pp. 232-4). The yeomanry still survied; they numbered perhaps 1500 in 1804 (Blagden, 1960, p. 254n) but largely because those working in the City were still supposed to be free of a livery company, and the Stationers' Company was the logical choice for masters of small businesses as well as compositors, pressmen, finishers and other journeymen. The real loyalty among these workers though, was to their fellows as a whole rather than to the Company, or even their masters, and from about 1780 they began to combine in lodges as trade societies to unite against the masters in pressing claims for better conditions (Howe, 1947; Howe and Child). The Stationers' Company played little part in this, except for providing its hall for meetings, and not surprisingly it sided with the masters when it expressed itself in these early industrial conflicts (Blagden, 1960, p. 234). Other companies with cheaper fees and a generally more easy-going attitude to membership were also claiming allegiance from members of the book trades. Between 1770 and 1780 25 members of the book trades became free of the Musicians' Company. Of 364 members of the book trades in the 1792 livery list, 123 belong to companies other than the Stationers' (Table 8). Perhaps more surprising, in view of the various orders restricting admission by redemption to members of the book trades (Blagden, 1960, pp. 246-7), is that there should be as many as 67 liverymen of the Stationers' Company active in other trades. But the Stationers' Company was as prosperous as it had ever been, though stripped of most of its statutory authority. The number of apprentices bound rose from 311 in the years 1771-75 to 433 in the years 1796-1800. The figures for 1801-05 and 1806-10 were 650 and 947 respectively (Blagden, 1960. p. 289) though the majority of these must have been outdoor apprentices (Table 7). The English stock, by now firmly based on almanacs, was flourishing and from 1775 to 1788 had been able to withstand the competition of Carnan's comprinting (Blagden, 1960, pp. 234-44). The Company's influence on City politics was greater than ever before with 3 lord mayors and 4 aldermen in the period 1775-1800 as opposed to 2 lord mayors and 10 aldermen from its incorporation in 1557 to 1774 (Beaven, vol. I, p. 354).
The situation of the trade in general looked similarly prosperous with a steady increase of at least 50 per cent in its size during the 25 years studied. Bankruptcies, one gauge of the economic condition, totalled some 317 in the period 1772-1805 (Table 14). There was a peak in the late 1770s of over 10 per year and this level was again exceeded from the mid 1790s though this can largely be explained by the size of the trade. There was to be a recession during the following generation, but this did not affect the quality of the best products. The output of fine illustrated books actually increased while the general level of output declined (Table 12), although publishers in this field were not immune from trouble, as can be seen from the lottery sales of stock forced on John Boydell in 1804, R. J. Thornton in 1811 and P. W. Tornkins in 1818.
It can be claimed that the foundations of the modern book trades were laid in the eighteenth century as much as in the industrial revolution of the nineteenth. This can be seen, for example, in the number of firms from all branches of the trade which survive from this period. Blackwells the ink makers, Ackermann the printsellers, Boosey and Hawkes the music publishers, Witherbys the stationers are only examples of several dozen other survivors. The late eighteenth century is an interesting period of transition and certainly worthy of a more detailed study than has been possible in this instance.
KEY TO SOURCES & ABBREVIATIONSThis is not intended as an exhaustive bibliography of source material on the book trades in the period 1775-1800 and only lists the major works consulted in the preparation of this book. It is divided into two sections, the first covering sources used in the compilation of the present checklist and the second covering sources cited solely in the introduction. References are normally made by the surnames of the author or authors, followed where necessary by the date of publication and page numbers. Exceptions to this rule are indicated in the list by the form of reference being enclosed in parentheses. References in the introduction can be traced either in the first or second list.
Sources used in compiling the checklist
(AL in imprints) Abbey, John Roland. Life in England in aquatint and lithography 1770-1860. London: Curwen Press, 1953. Facsimile reprint, Folkestone: Dawson, 1972. Only titles where publication began before 1801.
(AS in imprints) Abbey, John Roland. Scenery of Great Britain and Ireland in aquatint and lithography 1770-1860. London: Curwen Press, 1952. Facsimile reprint, Folkestone: Dawson, 1972. Only titles where publication began before 1801.
(AT in imprints) Abbey, John Roland. Travel in aquatint and lithography 1770-1860. London: Curwen Press, 1956-57. 2 vol. Facsimile reprint, Folkestone: Dawson, 1972. Only titles where publication began before 1801.
Aspinall, Arthur "Statistical accounts of the London newspapers in the eighteenth century", English Historical Review, vol. 63 (1948), pp. 201-232.
Aspinall, Arthur "Statistical accounts of the London newspapers, 1800-36", English Historical Review, vol. 65 (1950), pp. 222-234, 372-383.
Bailey, William. Bailey's list of bankrupts, dividends and certificates from the year 1772 to 1793. London: T.Wilkins, 1794. All entries to 1785 when Smith's list commences.
Bankrupts. See Bailey, Gentleman's Magazine, Smith.
Beaven, Alfred. The aldermen of the City of London. London: Eden Fisher, 1908-13. 2 vol.
Berry, William Turner and Johnson, Alfred Forbes. Catalogue of specimens of printing types by English and Scottish printers and founders 1665-1830. London: Oxford University Press, 1935.
Blagden, Cyprian. "The Stationers' Company in the eighteenth century". Guildhall Miscellany, vol. 1, no. 10 (Sept. 1959), pp. 35-53. The names in the table on p. 52 are incorporated.
Boase, Frederic. Modern English biography. Truro: Netherton and Worth, 1892-1921. 6 vol.
Boyd, Percival. "City of London: Common Council, 1780-1879". 1933. Typescript index in Guildhall Library.
BM Book Sales British Museum. List of catalogues of English book sales 1676-1900 now in the British Museum. London: British Museum, 1915. Booksellers active in the period were traced from 1740 to 1815.
BM Satires British Museum. Department of Prints and Drawings. Catalogue of political and personal satires. London: British Museum, 1870-. Vol. 5, 1771-83, vol. 6, 1784-92, and vol. 7, 1793-1800, were used for this checklist. Entries in indexes of printsellers and publishers are included where they give substantial information, especially addresses. Selected entries only from indexes of artists and engravers.
Brown, Philip Arthur Henry. Some London publishers and printers (mid nineteenth century). London: British Museum, 1961.
Chubb, Thomas. The printed maps in the atlases of Great Britain and Ireland: a bibliography 1579-1870. London: Homeland Association, 1927. Reprint, Folkestone: Dawson, 1974.
Darlington, Ida and Howgego, James Lawrence. Printed maps of London circa 1553-1850. London: Philip, 1964.
DNB Dictionary of national biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1885-. 63 vol. plus supplements.
Directories. The following were checked through page by page: 1774: Kent, 1775: New complete guide, 1776: Kent, 1777: New complete guide, 1778: Kent, 1779: Kent, 1780: Kent, 1781: Lowndes, 1782: Kent, 1783: Bailey, 1784: Bailey, 1786: Kent, 1788: Kent, 1789: Lowndes, 1790: Universal British, 1791: Lowndes, 1792: Kent, 1793: Lowndes, 1794: Boyle, 1795: Kent, 1797: Lowndes, 1798: Kent, 1799: Holden, 1800: Post Office.
The supplements of 1792 and c.1793/4 to the Universal British Directory were also checked (see Norton p. 37) as were the following localities close to London: vol. 2 c.1793: Bromley (p.383, no entries found), Croydon (p.610) and Chelsea (p.747); vol. 3, c.1794: Greenwich (p.165), Islington (p.433) and Kensington (p.477); vol. 4, c.1798: Richmond (p.292). Outside the period of the checklist the following directories were exhaustively checked: Mortimer (1763), Lowndes, Kent and the New complete guide (1772) and Holden (1802 and 1805). Goss was in 1977 the standard guide for London directories and full identification can be found there for the following initials attached to dates obtained directly from directories:
A Andrews 1789-93
B Bailey 1781-90, Boyle 1792-1840+
C Complete guide 1740-65
H Holden 1799-1816
J Johnstone 1817
K Kent 1734-1828
L Lowndes 1772-99
M Mortimer 1763
N New complete guide 1768-83
P Pendred (q.v.) 1785, Post Office 1800-1840+
Pi Pigot 1822-40
R Robson 1819-43
U Universal British 1790-98, Underhill 1814-22
(Gents Mag.) Gentleman's Magazine 1731-1907. Mainly used for bankruptcies (1772-86) and obituaries.
Goss, Charles William Frederick. The London directories 1677-1855. London: Archer, 1932.
Graves, Algernon. The Royal Academy of Arts. London: Graves, 1905-06. 8 vol. Only checked selectively.
Hamlyn, Hilda M. "The circulating libraries of the eighteenth century." London University, MA thesis, 1948. Appendix 1, pp. 116-34. See also Kaufman.
Hannas, Linda. The English jigsaw puzzle 1760-1890. London: Wayland Publishers, 1972.
Howe, Ellic. A list of London bookbinders 1648-1815. London: Bibliographical Society, 1950.
Howe, Ellic. The London compositor. London: Bibliographical Society, 1947. The references to these two sources were not differentiated unless confusion arose, since they deal with two distinct aspects of the trade, bookbinders and printers respectively.
Humphries, Charles and Smith, William Charles. Music publishing in the British Isles from the earliest times to the middle of the nineteenth century. London: Cassell, 1954.
Kaufman, Paul. "The community library: a chapter in English social history." American Philosophical Society Transactions, new series, vol. 57, part 7 (1967). List of circulating libraries on p. 53 supplementary to Hamlyn.
Kress Library of Business and Economics. Catalogue. Boston, Mass.: Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, 1940-67. Vol. 1: Books published 1481-1776. Entries preceded by A. Vol. 2: Books published 1777-1817. Entries preceded by B. Supplement: Books published 1473-1878. Entries preceded by S.
Musgrave, Sir William. Obituary prior to 1800. London: Harleian Society, 1899-1901. Publications, vol. 44-49.
Nichols, John. Literary anecdotes of the eighteenth century. London: Nichols, 1812-16. 9 vol. All volumes checked for information relating to dates after 1774.
Norton, Jane Elizabeth. Guide to the national and provincial directories of England and Wales, excluding London, published before 1856. London Royal Historical Society, 1950.
Patent Office. Abridgments of specifications. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1857-. Sections relevant to the book trades checked.
Patent Office. Alphabetical index to patentees of inventions, 1617-1852. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1854.
Patent Office. Titles of patents of invention chronologically arranged, 1617-1852.. 2 vol. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1854.
Pendred, John. The earliest directory of the book trades, edited by Graham Pollard. London: Bibliographical Society, 1955. All London entries incorporated except those relating to the leather trades and stamp distributors. Information from the introduction also included.
Plomer, Henry Robert and others. A dictionary of the printers and booksellers who were at work in England, Scotland and Ireland from 1726 to 1775. London: Bibliographical Society, 1932.
Poll books.The names of those polled for are distinguished:
1. (City poll, 1781). "The poll of the livery of the City of London for a member of Parliament vice George Hayley, September 1781". 6 vol. Guildhall Library MS 1583.
C = Richard Clarke. L = Sir Watkin Lewes, Lord Mayor.
2. (City poll, 1784). A list of the persons who have polled for Richard Atkinson, Esq. London, 1784. Guildhall Library broadside 3.17.
A = Richard Atkinson.
3. List of the whole body of the liverymen of London ... brought up to the year 1792. London: J.Wilkes, 1792.
4. A list of the livery of London, alphabetically arranged. London: Galabin, 1796.
5. (Westminster poll, 1774) A correct copy of the poll, for electing two representatives in Parliament for the City and Liberty of Westminster. London: Cox and Bigg, 1774.
Cl. = Lord Thomas Pelham Clinton. Co. = Humphry Cotes, Esq. Ma. = Lord Viscount Mahon. Mo. = Lord Viscount Mountmorres. Pe. = Earl Percy. Guildhall Library copy defective, lacks signatures F, G, R, S.
6. (Westminster poll, 1784). Guildhall Library MS 6484.
F = Fox. H = Lord Hood. W = Sir Cecil Wray.
7. (Westminster poll, 1796). "City of Westminster 1796: list of electors ... in the interest of Mr. Fox and Mr. Tooke". Guildhall Library MS 3549.
F= Fox. T = Tooke.
Ramsden, Charles London bookbinders 1780-1840. London: Batsford, 1956.
Reed, Talbot Baines. A history of the old English letter foundries ... Revised and enlarged by A.F.Johnson. London: Faber, 1952. Reprint: Folkestone: Dawson, 1974.
Royal kalendar. 1767-1893. These and similar almanacs were checked for the period 1760-1820 to obtain details of royal patentees.
St. James's Chronicle. 1761-1866. January 1775 only checked to supplement the directories for the period.
Smith, John Chaloner. British mezzotint portraits. 4 vol. London: Sotheran, 1884.
Smith, William and Co. A list of bankrupts, with their dividends, certificates ... from Jan. 1, 1786 to June 24, 1806 ... transcribed from the London Gazettes ... London: Smith, 1806.
Sugden, Alan Victor and Edmondson, John Ludlam. A history of English wallpaper 1509-1914. London: Batsford, 1926.
Thieme, Ulrich and Becker, Felix. Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. 37 vol. Leipzig: Seeman, 1907-50. Selectively checked, primarily for engravers.
Timperley, Charles H. A dictionary of printers and printing. London: H.Johnson, 1839.
Todd, William Burton. A directory of printers and others in allied trades, London and vicinity, 1800-1840. London: Printing Historical Society, 1972.
Tooley, Ronald Vere English books with colour plates, 1790-1860. London: Batsford, 1954. Facsimile reprint: Folkestone: Dawson, 1973.
Werkmeister, Lucyle The London daily press, 1772-1792. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1963. A work on the newspaper press which was examined as it contained considerable detail about printers and publishers
Sources cited solely in the introduction
Aspinall, Arthur. Politics and the press, c. 1780-1850. London: Home and van Thal, 1949.
Blagden, Cyprian. The Stationers' Company: a history, 1403-1959. London: Allen and Unwin, 1960.
English catalogue of books, 1801-1836, edited by Robert Alexander Peddie and Quintin Waddington. London: Publishers' Circular, 1914.
Feltham, John. The picture of London for 1802. London: R.Phillips, 1802.
Gaskell, Philip. A new introduction to bibliography. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972.
Gaskell, Philip. 'The Strahan papers', Times literary supplement, 5 Oct. 1956, p. 592.
Handover, Phyllis Margaret. Printing in London from 1476 to modern times. London: Allen and Unwin, 1960.
Hernlund, Patricia. 'Strahan's ledgers'. Studies in bibliography, vol. 20 (1967), pp. 89-111, and vol. 22 (1969), pp. 179-195.
Hodgson, Norma and Blagden, Cyprian. The notebook of Thomas Bennet and Henry Clements (1686-1719). Oxford Bibliographical Society, Publications, new series, vol. 6, 1956.
Hodson, William Henry. Hodson's booksellers, publishers and stationers' directory, 1855. Oxford Bibliographical Society, Occasional publications, 7, 1972.
Howe, Ellic and Child, John. The London Society of Bookbinders, 1780-1951. London; Sylvan Press, 1952.
McKenzie, Donald Francis. The Cambridge University Press, 1696-1712. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1966. 2 vols.
McKenzie, Donald Francis. 'Printers of the mind'. Studies in bibliography, vol. 23 (1969), pp. 1-75.
McKenzie, Donald Francis and Ross, J.C. A ledger of Charles Ackers, printer of the 'London Magazine'. Oxford Bibliographical Society, Publications, new series, vol. 15, 1968.
Nangle, Benjamin Christie. The Monthly Review, first series, 1749-1789: indexes of contributors and articles. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1934.
Nangle, Benjamin Christie. The Monthly Review, second series, 1790-1815: indexes of contributors and articles. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1955.
The new Cambridge bibliography of English literature, edited by George Watson. Vol. 2, 1660-1800. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971.
Philip, Ian Gilbert. William Blackstone and the reform of the Oxford University Press in the eighteenth century. Oxford Bibliographical Society, 1955.
Sale, William Merritt. Samuel Richardson: master printer. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1950.
The term catalogues, 1668-1709 A.D., with a number for Easter term 1711 A.D., edited by Edward Arber. London: Arber, 1903-06. 3 vols.
Wing, Donald Goddard. A short-title catalogue of books ... 1641-1700. New York: Index Society, 1945-51. 3 vols. 2nd ed. 1972-.
This page last updated 27 July 2018
© Ian Maxted, 2001.