The Story of the House of Cassell



With Twenty Illustrations

La Belle Sauvage emblem.jpg


London, New York, Toronto and Melbourne


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The House of Cassell, now nearly eighty years old, holds a unique place among English publishing houses. It was the pioneer of some important movements—the bringing of educational literature within reach of the mass of English people, the serial publication of great books, and the modern development of illustration in both books and periodical publications. It has grown from small beginnings into a huge institution whose name is familiar all over the world.

The history of the House of Cassell falls into four epochs. The first was that in which John Cassell's individuality counted for everything, and ran from his vague beginnings as a publisher in the early 'forties to his death in 1865. The second was the eighteen years of George William Petter and Thomas Dixon Galpin's supremacy, from 1865 to 1883. The third, dating from the formation of the Company in 1883, was chiefly dominated by the personality of Sir Wemyss Reid, the general manager from 1887 to 1905.

The last epoch began with the appointment in 1905 of Sir Arthur Spurgeon, the present general manager, and has been noteworthy for a complete reorganization of the business on modern lines and the restoration of its old prosperity and activity, which had been somewhat dimmed during the latter years of the nineteenth century.

The records here presented owe much to the collaboration of various members of the staff of Cassell's, past and present. The narrative has drawn largely upon their recollections.


John Cassell Frontispiece
La Belle Sauvage Inn 18
Coach Emerging from La Belle Sauvage Yard 22
Relief from Old La Belle Sauvage (showing the Crest of the Cutlers' Company) 24
The Entrance to La Belle Sauvage Yard in 1782 24
George William Petter 64
Thomas Dixon Galpin 66
Sir Wemyss Reid 70
Rt. Hon. H. O. Arnold-Forster 78
W. E. Henley 98
Sir J. E. Millais 110
Sir Luke Fildes, K.C.V.O., R.A. 110
Henry Morley 160
Dean Farrar 160
Robert Louis Stevenson 208
Sir Rider Haggard, K.B.E. 216
Col. Burnaby 216
H. G. Wells 218
Fleet Lane View of Cassell and Company's Premises 222
La Belle Sauvage Yard, 1921 228

This work was published before January 1, 1924 and it is anonymous or pseudonymous due to unknown authorship. It is in the public domain in the United States as well as countries and areas where the copyright terms of anonymous or pseudonymous works are 97 years or less since publication.