The Stationers' Company
The City of London Livery Company for the Communications and Content Industries

Archive Evening

Monday, 26 April 2021

Archive Evening
Monday 26 April 2021 - 6PM
Duration – 1 hour 30 minutes
Cost – free

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.

The history of the English Stock is, in all senses, a very rich one and so this ‘virtual’ Archive Evening will bring together experts to give insights into some of the most important episodes and stories. They will consider 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 presentations will be accompanied by an online exhibition of English Stock publications, curated by the Company’s Archivist, Ruth Frendo.

Speakers will include:

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.

Archive Evening