Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lackington, George

LACKINGTON, GEORGE (1768–1844), bookseller, born in 1768, was a ‘third cousin’ of James Lackington [q. v.], and entered the latter's bookselling business in Chiswell Street, London, at the age of thirteen (J. Lackington, Confessions, 1804, p. viii). His father was a prosperous coal merchant, and provided his son with the necessary capital to purchase a share in Lackington, Allen, & Co.'s great shop, known as the ‘Temple of the Muses,’ in Finsbury Square. He became head of the firm in 1798. The first volume of their ‘Catalogue, Michaelmas 1799 to Michaelmas 1800,’ described upwards of two hundred thousand volumes; the second volume, which described upwards of eight hundred thousand volumes, was issued in 1803. Selling cheaply in large quantities for cash only continued to be the main feature of the business, to which were afterwards added many publishing speculations. Besides Lackington the other members of the firm were Allen, who possessed a great knowledge of books acquired from early training with James Lackington, and Hughes. The latter was also lessee of Sadler's Wells. Subsequent partners were A. Kirkman, Mavor, a son of Dr. Mavor of Woodstock, and Jones. In 1822 the business was conducted under the style of Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Lepard. On the retirement of Lackington, Joseph Harding became the chief partner, and the business was removed to Pall Mall East by Harding and Lepard. Many well-known booksellers received their training in this famous house. ‘The last of the Lackingtonians,’ Kanes James Ford, died 11 Dec. 1886, at the age of ninety-four (Bookseller, 16 Dec. 1886).

The Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly was bought by Lackington, and let for miscellaneous exhibitions (Wheatley and Cunningham, London Past and Present, ii. 7). He was usually known as the ‘nephew’ of the elder Lackington, and Nichols speaks of him as ‘well educated and gentlemanly’ (Lit. Anecd. iii. 646). In his later years he was an official assignee of bankrupts in London. He married a daughter of Captain Bullock, R.N., and left two daughters. He died at St. John's Wood 31 March 1844, aged 76.

[Nichols's Illustrations, viii. 516; Timperley's Encyclopædia, 1842, p. 862; Sir E. Brydges's Autobiography, 1834, 2 vols.; also Reasons for Amendment of Act 54 Geo. III, c. 156; Gent. Mag. 1817 pt. ii. pp. 153–5, 1818 pt. i. p. 350, May 1844 p. 549.]

H. R. T.