Eyre & Spottiswoode

Eyre & Spottiswoode, Ltd was the London-based printing firm that was the King's Printer, and subsequently, after April 1929, a publisher of the same name. It became part of Associated Book Publishers and merged with Methuen Publishing in the 1970s.

Eyre & Spottiswoode
FounderGeorge Edward Eyre and Andrew Spottiswoode
SuccessorMethuen Publishing
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Headquarters locationLondon
Publication typesBooks


William Strahan established his printing house in London in 1739 and by 1769 had a share in both the King's Printing House and the Law Printing House. George Edward Eyre and Andrew Spottiswoode were printers to the Queen's most excellent majesty for Her Majesty's Stationery Office in 1845. Their sons subsequently ran the business. The firm was re-appointed King's Printer after the accession of King Edward VII in May 1901.[1]

In the 19th century the firm had a printing works at Shacklewell.

"The Printers' Battalion"

The 2nd City of London Rifle Volunteer Corps was founded in 1860 as one of many such regiments raised in response to an invasion scare. Recruited in the Fleet Street area, largely from Eyre & Spottiswoode's printing works, it was known as "the Printers' Battalion". Among the first officers to be commissioned into the unit were George A. Spottiswoode and William Spottiswoode.[2][3][4] When the unit became the 6th Battalion London Regiment (City of London Rifles) in the new Territorial Force in 1908, G Company was still mainly recruited from the company's employees.[5]

Publication of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion

In 1920 the firm experienced the dubious distinction of being the first to publish, in printed book form, the notorious antisemitic text The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, with the additional title The Jewish Peril.

However, as Norman Cohn points out, a distinction is to be made between the printer and the publisher of the same name. The book, or rather pamphlet, shows it was printed by "EYRE & SPOTTISWOODE, LTD."[6]

It seems that this edition of the Protocols was printed to private commission and therefore bears the imprint of the printers, Eyre & Spottiswoode Ltd[.], instead of a publisher's imprint. The firm of Eyre & Spottiswoode (Publishers) Ltd was not founded until April 1929.[7]

Book series


  1. "No. 27318". The London Gazette. 28 May 1901. p. 3634.
  2. Beckett, p. 70 and Appendix VII.
  3. Westlake, p. 161.
  4. Godfrey, p. 2.
  5. Godfrey, p. 11.
  6. Cohn 1996.
  7. Cohn (1996), footnote 4, p. 167
  8. Century Library, owu.edu. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  9. Graham Greene’s “The Century Library”: Neglected English Fiction Classics, neglectedbooks.com. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  10. Highways to the Sun (Eyre and Spottiswoode) - Book Series List, publishinghistory.com. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  11. The Kew Series (Eyre & Spottiswoode) - Book Series List, publishinghistory.com. Retrieved 2 January 2018.

Further reading

  • R. A. Austen-Leigh, The Story of a Printing House, 2nd edition, 1912.
  • Ian F. W. Beckett, Riflemen Form: A study of the Rifle Volunteer Movement 1859–1908, Aldershot: Ogilby Trusts, 1982, ISBN 0-85936-271-X.
  • Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide (London: Serif, 1996).
  • Capt E. G. Godfrey, The "Cast Iron Sixth": A History of the Sixth Battalion London Regiment (The City of London Rifles), London: Old Comrades' Association, 1935//Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2002, ISBN 1-84342-170-4.
  • Ray Westlake, Tracing the Rifle Volunteers, Barnsley: Pen and Sword, 2010, ISBN 978-1-84884-211-3.
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