An online exhibition to complement our 2021 Archive Evening - Print, Profit and People: Stories of the English Stock.
Print, Profit and People: Stories of the English Stock
For over 350 years, from 1603 to 1961, the Stationers’ Company maintained a publishing business that transformed the fortunes of the Company and thousands of its members. The so-called ‘English Stock’ was a joint-stock company, established by a pair of letters patent granted by James I, that gathered together key printing monopolies— including, most famously, the production of almanacks—and shared the returns between Stationer-shareholders while also funding a welfare scheme to support poorer members. It proved to be one of the most successful publishing ventures in the history of the English book trade, and its importance to the development of the Stationers’ Company as well as the careers of many members of the London book trade over those three and half centuries cannot be overstated.
This exhibition brings together a selection of images to support our Archive Evening, and highlight the wealth of material available for research at the Stationers' Company Archive. Click on the images to find out more. Text draws on information in the Stationers' Company Archive, and on material in the bibliography below.
Monday 26 April 2021
This virtual event brought together experts to give insights into some of the most important episodes and stories from the English Stock's rich history. Topics covered included the origins of the Stock, the importance of shareholding for individual Stationers, the impact of the Stock on the Company’s own activities, key moments of scandal and crisis, and the ‘endgame’ for the Stock that culminated in a private Act of Parliament in 1961.
The speakers were:
Helen Smith, Professor of English Literature at the University of York and the author of Grossly Material Things: Women and Book Production in Early Modern England (2012);
Joseph Saunders, a PhD student at the University of York researching the wills of members of the English book trade c.1557–1666;
Richard Bowden, former Senior Archivist at Westminster City Archives and a former consultant archivist for the Howard de Walden Estate and Portman Estate, who has published numerous books and articles on London history;
Ian Gadd, Professor of English Literature at Bath Spa University, who has a longstanding research interest in the history of the Stationers’ Company.
You can watch a recording of the event on the Stationers' Company YouTube channel, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqM_JGvrzxI
Blagden, Cyprian, “The Distribution of Almanacks in the Second Half of the Seventeenth Century.” Studies in Bibliography, vol. 11, 1958, pp. 107–116. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/40371233. Accessed 21 Apr. 2021 (free to access via the University of Virginia Library's website at https://tinyurl.com/y3shazyt);
Blagden, Cyprian, "The English Stock of the Stationers’ Company", The Library (1955), 163–85;
Blagden, Cyprian, "The English Stock of the Stationers’ Company in the Time of the Stuarts", The Library (1957), 167–86;
Blagden, Cyprian, The Stationers' Company: A History, 1403-1959, George Allen and Unwin Ltd, 1960;
Bowden, Richard, "The English Stock and the Stationers' Company: The Final Years', in Myers, Robin (ed.), The Stationers' Company: A History of the Later Years 1800-2000, The Worshipful Company of Stationers & Newspaper Makers, 2001;
Harris, Michael, "The Stationers' Company in the City of London", in Myers, Robin (ed.), The Stationers' Company: A History of the Later Years 1800-2000, The Worshipful Company of Stationers & Newspaper Makers, 2001;
Myers, Robin, The Stationers' Company Archive 1554-1984, St Paul's Bibliographies, 1990;
Saunders, Ann, "The Stationers' Hall', in Myers, Robin (ed.), The Stationers' Company: A History of the Later Years 1800-2000, The Worshipful Company of Stationers & Newspaper Makers, 2001