Street View: 46 and 16 Suppl.
Address: 18 St. Paul’s Churchyard
On 22 February 1810, Edward Vernon Walford was born at Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, the son of William and Hephzibah Walford. His birth was recorded at the Dr. Williams’s Library, London. This may seem strange, but a lot of Nonconformist births were recorded there prior to the compulsory law requiring registration of births, marriages and deaths in 1836.(1) Edward Vernon’s father was a Congregational minister in Yarmouth from 1800-1813. He is often confused with a William W. Walford, apparently a blind shopkeeper from Coleshill, who was responsible for the lyrics of the hymn “Sweet Hour of Prayer”, but I do not think that these two men are one and the same person as is sometimes suggested.(2) After a spell at Homerton College as classics teacher, Walford senior became a minister at Uxbridge (see here for more information) and from Uxbridge, young Edward made his way to London to work in the book trade. In 1833, Edward obtained the freedom of the Stationers’ Company by paying 46s 8d, that is, by redemption, suggesting that he had not gone through the usual 7-year apprenticeship.
As you can see, the address on Edward’s freedom paper is 18 St. Paul’s Churchyard, which at that time was the bookshop of Samuel Holdsworth. There had been a long-standing relation between the proprietors of the bookshop and Congregational and Independent Dissenters. Josiah Conder, whose grandfather had been a tutor at Homerton College, started the bookshop in London in about 1812 and handed it over in 1820 to Benjamin Joseph Holdsworth. After Benjamin’s death in 1828, his cousin Samuel Holdsworth took over, but in 1833, he and his partner William Ball decided to give up the retail part of the business and to concentrate on the publishing department. Their two assistants at the time, William Jackson and Edward Vernon Walford continued the bookshop and extended it with their own publishing enterprise, mainly, but not exclusively, of dissenting material. They became the recognised publishers to the Congregational Union.(3)
One of the titles Jackson & Walford published was The Eclectic Review which had been published by C. Taylor (1805-1813), J. Conder (1814-1818), B.J. Holdsworth (1819-1828), and Holdsworth & Ball (1828-1832), so there was a strong link between the Review and 18 St. Paul’s Churchyard. Interestingly enough, Jackson & Walford also published The British Quarterly Review, started in 1845 by Robert Vaughan, the President of Lancashire Independent College, because he disagreed with the editorial decisions of The Eclectic Review and advocated a more reasonable and tolerant approach.(4)
Walford’s father died in 1850 and in April of the following year, Jackson & Walford announced the publication of the reverend’s autobiography, edited by Congregational minister John Stoughton. In the book, Walford senior describes how he made a journey for his health to Harrogate in 1836. He and his wife were “expecting Edward, as soon as he can liberate himself from the fetters of St. Paul’s Churchyard, which, he tells us, is not likely to be in less than a fortnight or three weeks”. He also tells us that at some point – the reverend is not very good at giving exact dates – he, Edward, and “an active friend” set out for France, Switzerland, and Germany. Unfortunately, Edward and the unnamed friend had to be back in London for business, so the trip was done at great speed and the reverend “was hurried from scenes of surpassing grandeur and interest, before [he] had half gratified [him]self with gazing upon them”. Although in the last passage about the Continental trip Walford senior does not mention Edward by name, he just says “my son”, we know from an earlier remark that Edward was the only living child. There had been a younger brother, but he died aged only six months, and a sister who died from an accident when she was seventeen.
In 1844, Jackson & Walford took on a young apprentice, originally from Staines. His name was Matthew Henry Hodder and he was to determine the future of the company. After his apprenticeship, Matthew stayed on as the – only – assistent and in 1861 he acquired a third share in the business for £6,335. From that moment onwards, the imprints read Jackson, Walford & Hodder. Jackson and Walford were old by that time and Hodder was looking for a new partner which he found in Thomas Wilberforce Stoughton, the eldest son of the John Stoughton who had edited the Autobiography of William Walford. In 1862, the premises of Thomas Ward & Co. at 27 Paternoster Row were bought and the two addresses were used simultaneously for a short period in early 1863, but quite quickly the whole business was located in Paternoster Row and from 16 June 1868, after the retirement of Jackson and Walford, the firm of Hodder & Stoughton was in business at that address and has remained one of the more important English publishers to the present day. If you want to know more about the history of Hodder & Stoughton, I recommend John Attenborough’s A Living Memory. Hodder and Stoughton Publishers 1868-1975 (1975), from which most of the information in this last paragraph is taken, or see the firm’s website.
(1) Website of the library here.
(2) See for instance website UMC Discipleship Ministries here.
(3) The Bookseller, 1 July, 1868.
(4) R.V. Osbourn, “The British Quarterly Review” in Review of English Studies, Vol. 1, April 1950, pp. 147-152.
(5) Quite by chance, I chose this example of the works Jackson & Walford published and it turned out that the author married as his second wife Emily, the daughter of John Lee Benham, the ironmonger at Wigmore Street. Thanks go to Anne Gretton for pointing this link out to me (see comments to this post).
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