Cassell (publisher)

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Cassell Illustrated
Parent company Octopus Publishing Group (Lagardère Publishing)
Founded 1848
Founder John Cassell
Country of origin United Kingdom
Publication types books
Official website www.octopusbooks.co.uk

Cassell & Co is a British book publishing house, founded in 1848 by John Cassell (1817–1865). In 1995 Cassell & Co acquired Pinter Publishers.[1] In December 1998 Cassell & Co was bought by the Orion Publishing Group. In January 2002 Cassell imprints, including the Cassell Reference and Cassell Military were joined with the Weidenfeld imprints to form a new division under the name of Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd.[2] Cassell Illustrated survives as an imprint of the Octopus Publishing Group.

History[edit]

John Cassell (1817–1865), who was in turn a carpenter, temperance preacher, tea and coffee merchant, finally turned to publishing. His first publication was on 1 July 1848, a weekly newspaper called The Standard of Freedom advocating religious, political, and commercial freedom.[3] The The Working Man's Friend became another popular publication. In 1849 Cassell was dividing his time between his publishing and his grocery business. In 1851 his expanding interests led to his renting part of La Belle Sauvage, a London inn which had been a playhouse in Elizabethan times. La Belle Sauvage was destroyed in 1941 by WWII bombing.

Thomas Dixon Galpin who came from Dorchester in Dorset and George William Petter who was born in Barnstaple in Devon were partners in a printing firm and on John Cassell's bankruptcy in June 1855 acquired the publishing company and Cassell's debts. Between 1855 and 1858 the printing firm operated as Petter and Galpin and their work was published by W. Kent & Co.

John Cassell was relegated to being a junior partner after becoming insolvent in 1858, the firm being known as Cassell, Petter & Galpin. With the arrival of a new partner, Robert Turner, in 1878, it became Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Company. Galpin was the astute business manager.[4] George Lock, the founder of Ward Lock, another publishing house, was Galpin's first cousin. Petter resigned in 1883 as a result of disagreement over publishing fiction, and in 1888 the company name was changed to Cassell & Co, Ltd. following Galpin's retirement and Petter's death.

Sir Thomas Wemyss Reid was general manager until 1905 when Arthur Spurgeon took over and revitalised the firm. Mainly magazine publishers, Spurgeon concentrated on reviving the book business. In 1923 the company was floated on the Stock Exchange and a few years later the magazines owned by the company were sold to Amalgamated Press following many industrial disputes.

In October 1992, Cassell & Co bought Victor Gollancz Ltd from Houghton Mifflin. In December 1998 the company was taken over by Orion Publishing Group. In 1999, Cassell's academic and religious lists were merged with the American company Continuum to form the Continuum International Publishing Group.

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Cassell and Company (1922) The Story of the House of Cassell London: Cassell & Co.
  • Simon Nowell-Smith (1958) The House of Cassell 1848-1958. London: Cassell and Company Ltd.
  • Pauline Brain (2010) Some Men who Made Barnstaple.... Roundabout Devon Books