Ernest Benn Limited

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Ernest Benn Limited
Status Defunct
Founded 1880
Founder Sir John Benn
Successor Extel
Country of origin United Kingdom
Publication types Books, magazines

Ernest Benn Limited was a British publishing house.

Founded by Sir John Benn as Benn Brothers in 1880, it started as the publisher of the trade journal, The Cabinet Maker.[1]

After Sir John was elected to Parliament in 1892, he passed control of the firm to his eldest son Ernest, who became managing director and started publishing more trade journals. In 1923, Ernest changed the name of the firm to Ernest Benn Limited.[1] However, the name 'Benn Brothers' was subsequently revived with the formation of Benn Brothers plc.[2]

Benn hired Victor Gollancz in 1921. Gollancz published a very successful series of art books. He later recruited the writers Edith Nesbit, Robert W. Service and H.G. Wells.

Thanks to Gollancz's gifts as a publisher, the company's turnover increased 100-fold in seven years. But Benn was unwilling to cede control of the company to him. Moreover, Benn had moved to the political right and Gollancz to the left. Gollancz left the firm in 1927 to form his own firm, Victor Gollancz Limited.[3]

In addition to individual books, Ernest Benn Limited is known for several series:

Ernest Benn Ltd, along with Benn Brothers plc and the other members of the Benn Group of Companies, was taken over by the Extel Group in June 1983.[5][6] Extel was taken over by United Newspapers in 1987.[7][8]


  1. ^ a b "John Benn", Spartacus Educational
  2. ^ Benn Group of Companies Staff Handbook (1984)
  3. ^ Rubin, Merle. "The story of Britain's colorful, contradictory publisher Gollancz". Christian Science Monitor. 
  4. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica, Web edition, 20 December 2012, s.v. Ernest John Pickstone Benn, 2nd Baronet
  5. ^ Eric L Harvey, A Short History of Tolley, p 4
  6. ^ "United leaves Benn to Extel". The Glasgow Herald. 1983-05-20. Retrieved 2015-01-18. 
  7. ^ Eric L Harvey, A Short History of Tolley, p 4
  8. ^ Watts, Robert. "How family money embarrassed Hilary Benn". Telegraph.