Richardson & Son, printers, etc - notes

The Voyages and Travels of Sinbad the Sailor. (Derby, published by Thomas Richardson)

The following is a fairly rough collection of notes - information gathered from internet sources regarding Thomas Richardson & Son, the printers/publishers and booksellers, of Derby, England. Not yet turned into a coherent narrative, but it might be of interest to someone out there.

For details from the census returns, trade directories etc, see the Thomas Richardson page on this site, and the table summary of dates, sources etc. There's also a list of a selection of publications. My ancestors worked as bookbinders for Thomas Richardson & Son.

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The parish registers show that Thomas Richardson was a stationer at the time he married Elizabeth Harper Roberts in 1818. At the time her guardian was a Joseph Handford.


Richardson & Handford's Circulating Library [proprietors Thomas Richardson & Harper Handford] existed in Derby in the 1820s. (Bankrupt in 1826?). [Source: R Alston's website - external link] "Harper Handford" name apparently relates to Elizabeth, Thomas's wife. (Web page information also cites Derby Mercury, 21 November, 1821.)

British Library website - database of bookbindings - includes a "Richardson and Hanford" example.

A Wikipedia page on Primitive Methodism includes in its references the Primitive Methodist Magazine, published by "Derby, Richardson and Handford Marketplace" (1821, 1824 and 1826).

The Law Advertiser, 1824, includes among "Partnerships dissolved" - April : RICHARDSON, Thomas, and Joseph Handford, of Derby, book-binders and stationers (p133)
And also, under Partnerships dissolved - November : RICHARDSON, Thomas, and Thomas Ward Swinburne, jun. of Derby, paper-manufacturers, printers and booksellers (p389)
[Source: The Law Advertiser, 1824, J. W Paget (via Google books search)]

Google books search also brought up the name of Thomas Richardson in connection with a legal case over a "promissory note" (1830, Mosely v Hanford), which is rather baffling, but includes reference to "The defendant and one Richardson, being in partnership as booksellers at Derby"
[Source: From "Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Court of King's Bench: During ... (etc) ". Contributor James Manning, Archer Ryland (S Sweet, 1837). Accessed via Google books search.]


A History of the County of Derby, by Stephen Glover, 1829, includes the following:

"The business of printing as wholesale publishers was introduced into Derby by Henry Mozley, esq, in 1815. The business is now carried on with great spirit and respectability by Messrs. Mozley and Sons, who employ many persons in the various departments, and it is the largest establishment of the kind out of London. A similar business is carried on by Mr. Thomas Richardson . . ." (text then lists other printing offices)

(Vol 2: pp426-7)

And has another short reference to Richardson and Son:

"... Mozley and Son, have long been established as wholesale booksellers and printers, and at the present time employ sixty-seven hands. Mr. Richardson is also a wholesale bookseller and printer, and is carrying on a considerable business"
(Vol 1: p254)

(This book was printed by Mozley and Son, which is perhaps why the emphasis is on that firm, rather than Richardson's.)

That Mozley and Richardson were both trading at this time is also reflected in the subscribers' list for the publication "A Topographical and Historical Account of Wainfleet and the Wapentake of Candleshoe, in the County of Lincoln..." By Edmund Oldfield (1829). Subscribers include: Mozley and Son, Booksellers, Derby (one quarto and four octavo) and Richardson, Mr. Thomas, Bookseller, Derby (1 quarto and 4 octavo).

Children's books printed and published by Thomas Richardson, Derby, at one penny each

1830s, etc

Producing many books from the 1820s onwards, seem particularly active from the 1830s. Including many children's books - eg Select Fables for Children - picture included on Derby council website - library local studies collection. See also page on this site for list of further examples.


Letter (dated 2 May 1842) from The Rev. Thomas Sing and the Rev. Joseph Daniel, at the Catholic Church, Derby, to the Clergy, seeking support for a scheme to publish devotional works at a shilling a copy. Includes a letter to them, dated 15 April 1842, from Thomas Richardson and Son, Derby.
[Source: Online catalogue at, ref: Birmingham Archdiocesan Archives: R SERIES [Z6/1 - Z6/4/17/3/1]]

Recent article by Brian Andrews refers to "one thousand works of piety and instruction, all with illustrations by Pugin and published by Thomas Richardson of Derby who had become involved in such publishing through the efforts of Willson and Fr Sing of Derby."
[Source: " 'Solemn chancels and cross crowned spires' : Pugin's Australian neomedieval legacy", by Brian Andrews, Pugin Foundation]

Many religious/devotional works published.

The Christian Watchman and Midland Counties Protestant Magazine not impressed by the "Derby reprints":
"DERBY REPRINTS." THESE "reprints," at the small price of one shilling, are a perfect delusion upon the public. They are altogether unauthorised publications, and so deceive the poor Papists, while the foolish Catholics who thought to have a shilling's worth for a shilling, find that 276, 321, and 324 pages are now given, whereas, at the commencement 410, 494, and 556 pages were sold for a shilling. So much for popish reprints." [Source: The Christian Watchman and Midland Counties Protestant Magazine, 1843 (pp45-6)]


"Copy of conveyance by Elizabeth Richardson of Derby widow, Frederick Richardson of Derby publisher and George J Richardson of 26 Paternoster Row, London, publisher to persons as D3732/31/3 for 1,404 14s 9d of 10 pieces of land (3,709 sq yards) between Ashbourne Road and Stepping Lane parish St Werburgh, Derby including schedule of deeds 1842-1867 and plan, 1 Oct 1877. Enrolled in the Chancery Division 4 Feb 1878." [Reference: D3732/31/4, Creation dates: (1877)]"

[Source: Online catalogue at re St Christopher's Railway Home, Derby, ref:  D3732/31/4]