Street View: 2
Address: 8 Leadenhall Street
Contrary to the usual practice in the Tallis Street Views, Parbury’s entry in the index does not give his occupation but just “Oriental Herald Office”. As you can see from the elevation above, that phrase is also written above the shop, but on the shop itself Parbury is designated as a bookseller. He specialised in books about the Orient and the Colonies, such as G.A. Prinsep’s Remarks on the external commerce of Bengal (1823) and Zoological Researches in Java (1824; see the illustration below) – Java had briefly been a British Colony from 1811-1815.
The Oriental Herald and Colonial Intelligencer turns out to be a journal published since 1838 by Parbury with all sorts of information on and for the colonies, such as articles (for instance on the Hindi language), literary notices, letters to the editor (for instance on ‘steam communication with India’), snippets of colonial news (for instance on a new road through the town of Poona), shipping news, announcements of military appointments, marriages or deaths; in short, everything that could possibly be of interest about the colonies. Unfortunately, the publication was short-lived, only 4 volumes, published in instalments, came out between 1838 and 1840. And halfway through, the imprint suddenly changed to ‘James Madden, late Parbury’.
Parbury was George Parbury, the son of Charles Parbury who we can find as early as 1818 in an Old Bailey case where someone had stolen four books of Alexander Black, Thomas Kingsbury, Charles Parbury and William Houghton Allen.(1) Black leaves the partnership in 1822 and Kingsbury in 1827.(2) Charles Parbury dies in late 1834 and George takes over, but as we saw from the take-over by Madden, not for long. What happened to George is unclear, but James Madden must have taken over shortly after the publication of Tallis’s Street View. Perhaps George had his own career and only ran his father’s bookshop until he could find a suitable successor. A possible candidate is George Parbury, East India merchant, who lived at Caterham and died in 1881. Madden originally came from Ireland and obtained his freedom from the City of London in December 1838 through the Company of Spectacle Makers by redemption (i.e. by paying a fine for not having been a regular apprentice). The document tells us that he is a bookseller and already occupying the premises of 8 Leadenhall Street.
Madden continued the specialisation of Parbury into Oriental and Colonial publications. In 1840, for instance, he published J.S. Polack’s Manners and Customs of the New Zealanders and five years later C.A. de Bode’s Travels in Luristan and Arabistan. This latter book also included a list of books published by Madden & Co.; Co. being a partnership with Frederick Malcolm, dissolved in 1846.(3) Madden lived to 1890, but in 1868, John Stuart Mill wrote to Henry G. Mackson who had inquired about The History of British India (written by Mill’s father), “the publisher of the edition, Mr. Madden, has, I am almost sure, given up business, but I do not know into whose hands his copyrights passed”.(4) Well, not quite; a few titles were issued in 1869 and 1870, the latter with “J. Madden and son” but after that, the stream of books about the Orient and the Empire emanating from 8 Leadenhall Street dried up completely and Mill’s History of British India did not appear again until 1968 in a facsimile edition by Chelsea House Publishers.
Parbury and Madden’s 8 Leadenhall Street shop figures in various artists’ impressions. The first one is an illustration of ‘Ancient Architecture’ in The European Magazine of 1790. On the left is the shop of Barrow, biscuit baker; the lower building on the right was not yet a bookshop, but was occupied by The mineral water warehouse.
The next illustration is a print by J. Hoskins after a drawing by Thomas Hosmer Shepherd (1837). The bookshop is the first shop on the righthand side, with Parbury’s name clearly visible.
(1) Old Bailey ref nr, t18180506-16
(2) London Gazette, 6 April 1822 and 30 January 1827.
(3) London Gazette, 18 August 1846.
(4) Letter 1351, dated 7 December 1868, in The Later Letters, 1849-1873, Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, ed. F.E. Mineka (1972), p. 1512.
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