Thursday, 29 November 2007

The Business

Gate StreetFrederick very clearly states the business of his grandfather as a, stationer at 421 Oxford Street. The trade directories also have him as a bookbinder at 3 John street in 1810 and at 72 Farringdon Street and at the first address as a bookseller and account-book manufacturer from between 1812 and 1817-1839. There may be some confusion at Farringdon Street as it is a John Henry Brooks listed here in 1846. Whether this middle name is correct we cannot verify at this time. Lastly, publishing is confirmed as part of the equation between 1839-68 when Vincent comes into his own. Preceding this, the firm trades as John Brooks & Son.

48 Parker StreetThrough Frederick's writing, we have the clearest picture of his father's movements from Oxford Street around 1852, to King Street, Covent Garden then to 1 Chandos Street in 1859 where expansion is such to force the family to live away from the business in Mitcham. In 1868, the drive of pioneering Vincent sees the purchase of Day & Son at Gate Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields. This is described in detail here. Tidman states that Brooks himself had set up as a printer around 1843, but apparently did not produce any lithographs until the early 1850s. It appears he was building on equipment and premises purchased in 1864 at Lambeth Street from J.S. Hodson where his brother Alfred was in charge.

The centenery of the business we record, attests to 100 years of lithography by 1923 and finds the family business at 48 Parker Street. In credit to Vincent, his sons and grandsons, the business was shrewd in pursuing new techniques and processes, moving from chromo-lithography to photo-lithography and offset printing. The purchase of Day & Son was crucial to the business, especially as it bought not only the premises but good reputation of the company.

Tidman, Kathy Kajander (2007) A Lithographic House: Day & Son
University of Birmingham The British Book Trade Index

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