Dating Books published by George Routledge

How to identify the publication date of his undated books

George Routledge was a publisher who lived in England from 1812 to 1888. He was born in Cumberland and initially worked in a bookshop in Carlisle. He moved to London in 1833 and opened a bookshop there in 1836. He started publishing a few works from his bookshop, until he established himself as a full time publisher in 1843. George Routledge specialised in reprinting cheap editions of books, particularly for reading while travelling on the railways of 19th century Britain. Routledge’s Railway Library, introduced in 1849 for 1 shilling and sold at W H Smith bookstalls on station platforms, revolutionised the printing and publishing trade in Britain, by making cheap and affordable books both widely available and socially acceptable. The Routledge imprint has survived to the present day.

While Routledge published some books that have a date printed on them, particularly in the earlier years of his career, many of his books are undated, particularly in the last 30 years of the 19th century. However, there is enough information around to help us to assign a date or date range from dated books to those that do not have a specific date printed on their title page. A simplified version of this appears on a separate page as my George Routledge Timeline

Common combinations of business names and London addresses

George Routledge’s publishing company operated under several different names and out of several different addresses over the years. Although there are some variants that will be found, the list below shows the commonest form of the company name and address of the London business for each year from 1836 to 1925, as they appear on the title page of Routledge’s publications. The numbers in brackets are the street addresses, which sometimes were printed in full, but often the number was omitted.

  • 1836-1843 George Routledge (11) Ryders Court, Leicester Square, London
  • 1843-1851 George Routledge and Co., (36) Soho Square, London
  • 1852-1858 George Routledge and Co., Farringdon Street
  • 1858-1859 Routledge, Warnes and Routledge, (2) Farringdon Street
  • 1860-1864 Routledge, Warne and Routledge, (2) Farringdon Street
  • 1865 Routledge, Warne and Routledge, Broadway Ludgate Hill
  • 1865-1866 George Routledge and Sons, Broadway Ludgate Hill
  • 1866-1878 George Routledge and Sons, The Broadway Ludgate
  • 1879-1886 George Routledge and Sons, Broadway Ludgate Hill

The “Routledge, Warnes and Routledge” name introduced in 1858 represented George Routledge, his two brothers in law Frederick and William Henry Warne and his eldest son Robert Warne Routledge. This became “Routledge, Warne and Routledge” in 1860 after William Henry Warne left the company. The change to “George Routledge and Sons” in 1865 occurred when George’s younger son, Edmund Routledge, joined the firm and Frederick Warne left to start his own publishing house. Frederick Warne & Co eventually became the publisher of Beatrix Potter in 1902, when Frederick Warne’s son Norman Warne developed a close friendship with the author of Peter Rabbit. In the late nineteenth century, Routledge books were often reprinted and reissued by Frederick Warne & Co.

From 1854 to 1886, the address of the New York office was often printed below the London address. From 1887 to 1902, New York address no longer appeared on the title pages. All of the years from 1887-1890 start LONDON | George Routledge and Sons. and from 1890 onward LONDON | George Routledge and Sons Limited.

  • 1887-1888 Broadway, Ludgate Hill | Glasgow and New York
  • 1889-1892 Broadway, Ludgate Hill | Glasgow Manchester and New York
  • 1892-1897 Broadway, Ludgate Hill | Manchester and New York
  • 1895-1902 George Routledge and Sons Limited, Broadway Ludgate Hill
  • 1900-1912 George Routledge and Sons Limited, Broadway House, Ludgate Hill
  • 1903-1925 London | George Routledge and Sons, Limited |New York E.P. Dutton and Co.
  • 1913-1925 London | George Routledge and Sons, Limited | Broadway House 68-74 Carter Lane E.C.

The Routledge colophon

Before 1900, some kind of graphical device would be occasionally printed on a Routledge title page This was relatively uncommon until 1903 when a standard “decorated R” colophon was introduced to the title page. This was used consistently until 1920, and then less commonly until 1923. The design is shown below.

Routledge Colophon 1903-1923

How to identify an undated Routledge Book.

I suggest that the following eight step process is the simplest approach.

  1. Look for the presence of the Routledge “decorated R” colophon. This dates the book to 1903-1923.
  2. Look at the name of the company on the imprint.
    • George Routledge indicates 1836 to 1843
    • George Routledge and Co indicates 1843 to 1858;
    • Routledge Warnes and Routledge indicates 1858 to 1859;
    • Routledge Warne and Routledge indicates 1860 to 1865;
    • George Routledge and Sons indicates 1865 to 1890;
    • George Routledge and Sons Limited indicates 1890 to 1946.
    • Routledge & Kegan Paul indicates 1947 onward
  3. Look at the form of the London address and decide which is the most likely block of years. This is hardest from 1865 to 1886, when the firm had moved to Broadway House at Ludgate Hill, but in certain blocks of years, a particular form of that address either dominates or is used exclusively.
    • 1836-1843 11 Ryders Court, Leicester Square
    • 1843-1851 (36) Soho Square
    • 1852-1864 (2) Farringdon Street
    • 1865-1866 “Broadway Ludgate Hill”
    • 1866-1878, “The Broadway, Ludgate”
    • 1879-1886 “Broadway, Ludgate Hill” with a comma following the Broadway.
    • 1887-1888Broadway, Ludgate Hill” | Glasgow and New York
    • 1889-1892Broadway, Ludgate Hill” | Glasgow Manchester and New York
    • 1892-1897Broadway, Ludgate Hill” | Manchester and New York
    • 1896-1902 “London” or “London and New York” | “Broadway Ludgate Hill”
    • 1900-1911 “Broadway House, Ludgate Hill” was used intermittently.
    • 1903-1925 London | George Routledge and Sons, Limited |New York E.P. Dutton and Co.and” and “&” were used interchangeably for both companies.
    • 1912-1925 “Broadway House 68-74 Carter Lane E.C.”
  4. Look at the form of the New York address, if present. The address is given specifically from 1854 to 1886, but does not usually appear between 1886 and 1902 for London publications.
    • Before 1854, only a London address will appear.
    • After 1854, any book which just has a London address, without any mention of New York, will be for publication in the UK only.
    • 1854-1859 18 Beekman Street. New York
    • 1859-1864 56 Walker Street. New York
    • 1864-1866 129 Grand Street. New York
    • 1866-1881 416 Broome Street. New York
    • 1881-1886 9 Lafayette Place New York
    • 1887-1902 New York (American only publications will still use 9 Lafayette Place)
    • 1903-1945 New York: E.P. Dutton and Co.
    • Note that:
      • A book with a New York address without a mention of a London address will be for publication in the USA only.
      • Some Routledge publications will give the New York address first and the London address second. These are mostly in the Lafayette Place period, and were probably sold in both countries, but originated in the USA.
  5. Look for the details of the printer, and check that this agrees with the date or date range that you have assigned from the publisher’s details. Most of Routledge’s books have the printer’s name and address in them, usually appearing at the foot of the final page of the text block, but occasionally elsewhere, such as on the verso of the title page or frontispiece and sometimes on a rear free end paper.
    • Here is an very incomplete list of British printers names and dates, drawn from both library records and books I have in my collection The date ranges given relate to printing of Routlege books.
    • 1845-1849 Woolley and Cook, Printers, St. Bene’t Place, Gracechurch Street, London.
    • 1847-1850 J. Billing, Printer, Woking, Surrey
    • 1850- London: Reynell and Weight. Little Pulteney Street, Haymarket.
    • 1850- Printed by J. & H. Cox & CO. 74 & 75 Great Queen Street, Lincoln’s-Inn Fields.
    • 1857- Cox and Wyman, Printers, Great Queen-Street.
    • 1830-1857 House of Richard Clay and Co Ltd, Bread Street Hill
    • 1857-1885 R. Clay, Sons, and Taylor, Printers, Bread Street Hill
    • 1887-1925 Richard Clay and Sons, London and Bungay
    • 1900- Richard Clay & Sons Limited, Bread Street Hill, E.C.; and Bungay, Suffolk
    • 1857-1901 Edmund Evans 4, Racquet Court, Fleet Street (there are several variations on the exact form of this address)
    • 1846- T.C. Savill, Printer, 4, Chandos-street, Covent-garden
    • 1848-1866 Savill and Edwards, Printers, (4) Chandos-street, Covent-garden
    • 1867-1878 Savill, Edwards and Co., Printers, Chandos Street, Covent Garden
    • 1865-1887 Woodfall and Kinder, Printers, Milford Lane, Strand, London, W.C.
    • 1888-1900 Woodfall and Kinder, Printers, 70-76 Long Acre, London, W.C.
    • 1881-1892 Dalziel Brothers, Camden Press, London NW
    • 1882-1915 Ballantyne, Hanson and Co, Edinburgh and London
    • 1872-1902 Billing and Sons, Printers, Guildford, (Surrey)
    • 1888-1925 William Clowes and sons, Limited, London and Beccles
    • 1891-1892 William Clowes and sons, Limited, Stamford Street and Charing Cross
    • 1892- J. S. Virtue and Co., Limited, City Road, London.
    • 1894- Simmons & Botten, Shoe Lane, London, E.C.
    • 1872-1889 Bradbury, Agnew, & Co., Printers, Whitefriars
    • 1890- Bradbury, Agnew, & Co LIMD., Printers, Whitefriars
    • 1892- Bradbury, Agnew, & Co. LD., Printers, Whitefriars.
    • 1900- Bradbury, Agnew, & Co LIMD., Printers, Whitefriars.
    • 1902-1910 Bradbury, Agnew & Co LD, Printers London and Tonbridge.
    • 1902-1907 London and County Printing Works, Bazaar Buildings, London, W.C.
    • 1902- Morrison and Gibb Limited, Edinburgh
    • 1904- Butler and Tanner, The Selwood Printing Works, Frome, and London.
    • 1907-1913 The Edinburgh Press, 9 and 11 Young Street
    • 1912- W. Jolly & Sons, Printers, Bridge Street, Aberdeen
    • 1924- 1930 Jas. Truscott and Son Ltd., London
    • Note: There is much overlap in dates as Routledge did not use any particular printer exclusively.
  6. Look for any inscriptions, book plates, and gift labels. Any dates that are written in give a date limit, as the book can not have been published after that date.
  7. Look at the block of publisher’s advertisements often found bound into the book as the last few pages. Every book mentioned has to have been published before, or possibly at the same time as, the book that contains the advertisements.
  8. Search for the book on WorldCat.com putting in a date range based on what seems appropriate from steps 1 to 7 above. Enter Routledge into Keyword, then the book title and the author’s name. Often a good consensus on date is found, but any date shown in brackets may be unreliable.
  9. Look at the binding, and if the book has been rebound, for a binder’s ticket. If the book is still in the original publisher’s binding, does it look “right” for the period of publication that you have worked out in steps 1-8 above? Experience at looking at old books is essential here. If the book has been rebound and you can assign a date to the rebinding, this can give you a latest possible date of publication.

I am currently (May 2021) working on another page, on which I will show pictures of Routledge title pages covering the period 1840 – 1925. Watch this space!

Happy book hunting!


12 thoughts on “Dating Books published by George Routledge

    1. Hi Tracy
      Sorry for the slow response; I have been working on other projects during the past few months. Routledge reprints of Shakespeare from 1946 would not be massively valuable, but they would be worth something, given these are quite early for Routledge, who started publishing in the mid 1830s. Routledge collecting interest generally starts with his Railway Library series which was begun in 1849. If the bindings are original and the condition is good or better, they could be worth something in the $100-$200 range each. The Routledge Railway Library sets of 5 or 8 volumes from the early 1850s (there were several editions, starting perhaps in 1851) generally command something like $500-$1000 per set, depending on the bindings and condition. Most of these that I have seen have survived because they were rebound in decent leather bindings. Sets of these books in original cloth binding are quite scarce.
      Hope this helps.
      Chris

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  1. I have an old book ” The Word Walks from Eden, The Ruby Series with no publish date. There is a colour print called Arabs in the desert and across from it is a coloured page with a camel and “London: George Routledge and sons Broadway, ludgate hill” the next page would be the copyrite page that would have had the publishing date.
    It shows LONDON
    GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS, LIMITED
    BROADWAY, LUDGATE HILL
    MANCHESTER AND NEW YORK
    The next page is the printer-London: Bradbury, Agnew, & co. LD, printers, Whitefriars (all in capitals) this is also printed after “THE END” on the last page
    the cover is for the 1890’s editions, I think. It is not the first covers you show but the second set could you date this copy for me. In pencil inside the back cover is written” author Susan warner 1866″ don’t know when or who wrote this. thank you

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    1. Hi Keith
      Sorry for my slow response.. I have been involved in other projects for the last two months and have only just returned to the blog pages. Your book would seem to date from the period 1893-1897 judging by the information on the title page and the printer’s address, as Bradbury Agnew moved their main works from Whitefriars to Tonbridge around 1900. The decorated cloth and coloured frontis would be right for that period.

      Susan Bogert Warner (1819-1885) was a prolific American author, who mostly published her juvenilia using the pen name Elizabeth Wetherell, although some were also published anonymously. I have never seen a title of hers published over her own real name. Routledge started to reprint her books in the UK in the early 1850s and continued to reissue them throughout the 19th century. The 1866 date is correct for the first US edition of your book published anonymously by Robert Carter in New York. The earliest Susan Warner I have is a copy of her second book,”Queechy”. published by Routledge in 1853, one year after its first US edition. The only UK book of hers that I have with a date on the title page is a 1901 edition of “Melbourne House” published by Warne.

      Hope this was useful
      Chris

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  2. I’ve found a copy of The Count of Monte Cristo published by Rutledge and Sons. From the information on this page it appears to be published between 1881 and 1886. Do you know how much it would be worth? Thank you in advance.

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    1. Hi Molly
      It would depend a bit upon condition, but the answer would still probably be not very much. Routledge published many reprints of Dumas’ books over the second half of the 19th century. The best Monte Cristo is probably a 5 volume set published by Routledge and Sons in 1888 which is very nicely illustrated and worth maybe $1500. The first Routledge single volume edition of 1854 is also highly desirable at around $2000-$5000. This is possibly the first English language edition, as the novel was first published in France in 1844.
      More ordinary and less well illustrated editions would fetch more like $50-$100. Without seeing it, I would suspect your copy would be in this latter category.
      Best wishes
      Chris

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  3. I have an old Routledge book, ‘The Widow and her daughter’. From the address, it appears to be 1866-1878, “The Broadway, Ludgate”. I have looked for information on this title but am unable to find anything! Would you have any more information, please?

    I think that it was written by Susan Bogert Warner, but there is no author acknowledged in the book.

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    1. Hi Dawn
      Yes this is by Susan Bogert Warner. She used the pseudonym Elizabeth Wetherell, although her UK editions were normally published anonymously. It title was first published by Routledge in 1864, when the publishers name would be given as Routledge, Warne and Routledge at 2 Farringdon Street. Routledge published it again around 1875 when it would have The Broadway Ludgate” as the address, (this is probably your copy) and at least two other times, once in the 1890s and again around 1905-1910.
      Hope this is useful.
      Chris

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  4. Hello Chris,
    I have an old Routledge book: Daisy Days Stories for the Young Illustrated. It reads George Routledge and Sons; New York: 9 Lafayette Place, London and Glasgow. According to your guidelines, I think the date of publication is between 1881 – 1886. The pages are all in good condition, but it has no cover. Can you give me an idea of its value and where I might sell such an item? Thank you.
    Wendy

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    1. Hi Wendy
      When you say without its cover, I assume you mean unbound. i.e. the book is just the paper pages without any binding. I’m afraid that would make this book pretty worthless as intact it might be worth $20, if complete and in very good condition.
      The only good news is that I can see no copies that are available to buy at present, which may indicate that it could have some slight value if someone is desperate for a “reading copy”.
      Best wishes
      Chris

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  5. Chris

    Thank you for the information available regarding the publisher and name changed throught the years.

    My husband brought this book into a bookstore in Boston and the gentleman working there told him I never heard of the publisher and did not look any further at the book.

    We were trying to help a friend to see if this book has any value.

    I have a SPENSER’S FAERIE QUEENE, Fifth Edition Book with Glossary from 1859, 820 pages.

    I have tried to do some research online but the more I look the more confused I get.

    Appreciate any insight you can share.
    Thank you

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    1. Hi Christine
      Thanks for the message, and sorry for the tardy response. Things have been a bit hectic with writing deadlines.
      If you could send me a legible image (photo or scan) of the title page, and the final text page, then I will try to answer your question for accurately. Otherwise, I can tell you that I have a third Routledge edition of this book, published in 1855, that has 820 pages like your copy. From what you say, I suspect that yours is the 5th edition published by Routledge in 1859 from their Farringdon Street office. If it is 1859, then the firm name should be given as Routledge Warnes and Routledge on the title page… in this year, the firm was George Routledge senior, his eldest son Robert and his two brothers in law, William and Frederick Warne. This name only existed in 1858 and 1859, as it became Routledge Warne and Routledge in 1860 after William Warne left the company. As far as I can see, the first Routledge edition of Faerie Queen was published in 1852 and the firm continued to publish reprints up until 1870 at least.

      Send your images to chris.browne@monash.edu
      best wishes
      Chris

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