The Routledge and Warne publishing families: Part 3

Starting out together in the book trade.

In Part 1 of this series, the Cumberland origins of George Routledge and how he started as a Soho bookseller are described. In Part 2, the Gloucestershire origins of the Warne family and how Frederick Warne became a neighbour of George Routledge is explained. This post, Part 3, will cover how the Routledge and Warne families started working together in the book trade.

The Beginnings of George Routledge, Publisher

George Routledge arrived in London in October 1833, having just completed his apprenticeship as a bookseller in Carlisle. He rented 11 Ryder’s Court in Soho as his home. For the next three years, he worked for an established bookseller/publisher, Baldwin and Craddock of Paternoster Row. In September 1836, following the failure of the firm of Baldwin and Craddock, George Routledge set himself up as a bookseller at 11 Ryder’s Court. He published his first book from that address just before the end of 1836.

In 1827, Frederick Warne, then aged 2, together with his five year old brother, William Henry Warne (1822-1859) moved with their parents and siblings from 5 Ryder’s Court to live literally just around the corner at 41 Lisle Street where Frederick was to remain until 1852. The move allowed his father Edmund to separate his family home from his business by also renting 42 Lisle Street as a workshop and showroom. The first known interaction between the Warne family and George Routledge was the witnessing of the will of Frederick’s oldest and short-lived brother Robert Alexander Warne (1808-1834) by George Routledge in 1834. This was followed by three other much more significant events.

Shortly after he opened his bookshop at 11 Rider’s Court in 1836, George Routledge engaged the fourteen year old William Henry Warne as his assistant and apprentice. Although the main business from 11 Ryder’s Court was selling books, George Routledge began to publish books in 1836 and these early Routledge publications from Ryder’s Court are now very scarce. Shown below are two early Routledge title pages, both published from Ryder’s Court in 1840.

It was very common in the 18th and 19th century for booksellers to become publishers. This made a lot of sense, as it provided a ready supply of books for sale, both through retail via a bookshop, but also to the wholesale market, the circulating libraries and within the book trade to other booksellers. These last three activities helped to mitigate some of the economic risks of publishing. Sometimes two or more booksellers would combine to publish a book in order to share the risks, and the profits.

George Routledge marries.

The ties between the Warne family and George Routledge became even closer on 25th January 1837, when George Routledge married Marie Elizabeth Warne (1814-1855), the sister of Frederick and William Henry Warne. The wedding took place at the church of St. Anne’s Soho, in Westminster. This was the local parish church for the Warne family and for George Routledge and, despite being largely destroyed in 1940 in the Blitz, it was rebuilt and is still the parish church today.

St Anne’s Soho in the 19th century by J. McN. Whistler

In 1839, the links between the Warne family and George Routledge strengthened, when the fourteen year old Frederick Warne joined his older brother William Henry as an assistant to George Routledge, bookseller. George and Marie Routledge lived above the bookshop at 11 Ryder’s Court, where the first four of their eight children were born. These included the two oldest sons of George Routledge, Robert Warne Routledge (1837-1899) and Edmund Routledge (1843-1899), who were both to play important parts in Routledge publishing history.

36 Soho Square

In May 1843, the Routledge family and business were still at 11 Ryder’s Court. Sometime in the second half of 1843, George Routledge, his wife and four children, and business, all moved from Ryder’s Court to much larger premises at 36 Soho Square, about 300 metres north of Ryder’s Court. George continued to refer to himself as a bookseller for the next few years, but gradually changed his description in the later 1840s to “Bookseller and Publisher”.

The next three Routledge children, Maria, William Henry and George, were all born at 36 Soho Square. The building has survived in good shape into the 21st century, where it is a Grade II listed building that is rented for office space. For much of the 20th century, it housed the music publishing department of Oxford University Press. It clearly provided good accommodation in the upper floors for a growing family, while providing the bookshop and publishing spaces on the ground floor.

36 Soho Square today

The page below is from one of the most profitable series of books published by Routledge from Soho Square in the 1840s. It is one of twenty-one volumes of Rev. Albert Barnes’ commentaries on the bible. Barnes was an American pastor who was a prolific author of religious books. Routledge published all 21 volumes of Barnes’ commentaries, starting in 1845. The page shown is an advertisement for the series from my copy of the Thessalonians commentary published in 1846.

Advertisement page from 1846

In Part 4 of this series of posts, the development and expansion of Routledge’s publishing activities from 1845 to 1865 will be discussed.

The Routledge and Warne publishing families: Part 2.

Frederick Warne (1825 – 1901)

Frederick Warne and his siblings

Frederick Warne was born at 5 Ryder’s Court in Soho, London on 13th October 1825. He was the eleventh of the thirteen children born to Edmund Warne (1783-1870) and his wife Matilda Stannard (1787 -1863). Only one of his twelve siblings, Maria Warne (1809-1810), died in infancy, while one other sister, Louisa Jane Warne (1818-1833), died at the age of 14. All of Frederick’s other ten siblings lived to reach adult life, with four of them dying relatively young, between the ages of 25 and 45, while four others lived beyond their 80th year, including Frederick’s closest sibling in terms of birth year, Stannard Warne (1824-1919), who lived for over 95 years. The life expectancy for Frederick and his siblings would have been 33 years according to London records. Their actual average lifespan was 57 years, showing that the family must have been quite well housed and fed, in spite of their large size. Frederick’s older brother, William Henry Warne (1822-1859) was to play an important role in the development of Frederick Warne as a publisher.

Origins of the Warne family

Frederick Warne’s father Edmund Warne (1783-1870) worked in London as a carpenter, surveyor and builder, but was not born in London. He was christened on 1st January 1784 in Newent, a small medieval market town in Gloucestershire, about 10 miles (16 km) north west of the city of Gloucester. Newent was a initially Romano-British settlement and is mentioned in the Domesday Book as belonging in 1066 to the king Edward the Confessor, as part of the Royal Forest of Dean. Edmund Warne’s father, also an Edmund Warne (1745 – 1818), grandfather John Warne (1711-1786) and great grandfather Thomas Warne (c1675-c1765) all lived in Newent and worked as carpenters.

Frederick Warne’s paternal grandparents

Edmund Warne senior (1745-1818) was christened in Newent on 1st January 1746 and married Anne Beale (1751-1827) at Eldersfield in Worcestershire on 31st January 1777. Eldersfield, which is now in Gloucestershire, is a small town about 10 miles (16km) north east of Newent. Edmund Warne and Anne Beale had eight children all of whom were born in Newent between 1778 and 1787. The couple had 4 sons and four daughters. Edmund Warne senior seems to have moved with his family to St. Pancras, London in 1787. This can be inferred by the birth of his youngest son James Warne in 1787 in Newent, followed by the christening of James Warne on 30th August 1787 at Fitzroy Chapel in Maple Street, St. Pancras in London. The next mention of Edmund Warne in London is as a master carpenter living in St. Pancras who takes on an apprentice on 30th August 1791. In 1798 and 1799, Edmund is recorded as renting premises at 12 shillings from Lord Southampton on the west side of Tottenham Court Road. Presumably he both lived and worked in that building, which might have been 120 Tottenham Court Road as that was Edmund Warne’s son William Warne’s business address as a carpenter in 1810. 120 Tottenham Court Road is on the west side of the street, within 100 meters of Maple Street, where the Fitzroy chapel was before its destruction in 1945. In the early 19th century, Baron Southampton was the major owner of the buildings and land on the west side of Tottenham Court Road, whereas the Duke of Bedford was the owner of the premises on the east side.

Edmund senior died in January 1818 in the parish of St. Pancras, but was buried in the nearby St James parish church in Westminster, rather than in the parish of St Pancras. Nine years later, his widow Anne also died as a resident of St Pancras in 1827, and was buried at St James parish church in Westminster, presumably in the same grave as her husband Edmund Warne senior.

The Warnes and the Stannards: a triple wedding

Edmund Warne junior (1783-1870), the father of Frederick Warne married Matilda Stannard (1787 -1863) at St Anne’s Soho in Westminster on 18th May 1805. Remarkably, two of Edmund’s brothers William Warne and George Darling Warne married two of Matilda Stannard’s sisters at the same church on the same day: William Warne (1780-1863) married Mary Elizabeth Stannard (1781-1837) and George Darling Warne (1782-1843) married Ann Stannard (1785-1852). The three Stannard sisters were the daughters of Robert Alexander Stannard (1757-1823) and Martha Negus (1764-1819). Robert and Martha had also married at St Anne’s Soho on 29 October 1780 and had eight children, six daughters and two sons. Robert Alexander Stannard was a painter and glazier by trade. He was originally from Norfolk and was probably born in Norwich. His father Robert Stannard seems to have moved the family from Norfolk to London in the 1770s.

The Stannard family lived at 16 Ryder Court in Soho, the same court where Edmund Warne junior and George Darling Warne set up as carpenters together at number 5, specialising in the manufacture of “reeded handrails for staircases”, and where George Routledge, at number 11, established his first book business in London. Ryder’s Court, which no longer exists, was just to the north of Leicester Square and was owned in the early 19th century by the Marquis of Salisbury.

It seems that the Warne brothers set up their carpentry business in Ryders Court because they had married the Stannard sisters who were already living there, as there was no record of the Warne brothers’ business in Ryder’s Court in the tenant’s list for 1806, the year following their marriages, but the name Warne does appear on the tenant’s list for 1808 and Edmund and George Darling Warne are listed as carpenters in Ryder’s Court in a trade directory for 1810. Rental records show that George and Edmond Warne were joint tenants from 1812 until 1817, but that by 1820, only Edmund Warne was recorded as the tenant of 5 Ryder’s Court. George Darling Warne had moved with his family to St. Pancras by 1820, perhaps to live with his widowed mother. By 1825, he lived at 8 Mill Street, St George Hanover Square, now part of Mayfair, where he remained until his death in 1843.

Later years of Edmund Warne

Edmund Warne 1784 – 1870

Edmund Warne lived with his growing family at 5 Ryder’s Court from 1806 until 1827, when the family moved to live at 41 Lisle Street, with his business located next door at 42 Lisle Street. Edmund and his family were recorded at 41 Lisle Street in the March 30th 1851 census. At this time, Edmund was describing himself as a builder and surveyor. Only the two youngest children were still living with their parents: Frederick Warne, described as “bookseller”, and Rosa Margaret Warne. Rosa Margaret married on 29 April 1851 and left home, and Frederick Warne married in July 1852. Edmund and Matilda were still at Lisle Street in 1858, but by 1861, they had moved to Tottenham in North London, where they lived in a house in the Green Lanes area that Edmund called Newent Villa, as a reminder of his birth place. He was still apparently working as a surveyor when his wife Matilda died at home on 28th August 1863. Seven years later, Edmund Warne died at Newent Villa in February 1870 and was buried at Kensal Green cemetery on 24th February 1870.

In the next post, I will look at how the Warne and Routledge families started together in the book trade.