2.5 The later Plymouth directory publishers
2.5.1 W H Hood
Hood issued only the Fifth Edition before handing over to J G Hammond. They appear to have kept the Plymouth directory going and issued the 11th edition of the Hotel guide. However, they did attempt to exploit the Eyre Brothers name. While the title of the directory altered from Eyre Brothers’ Post Office Plymouth District Directory to become Eyre’s Post Office Plymouth and Devonport District Directory they advertised a new publication utilising the Eyre name.
An advertisement in the 5th edition announces; Ready 1st June “Picturesque Devonshire”. This work, priced just one shilling, was to contain 64 pages of beautiful views and be the most attractive county work ever attempted. Page 172 was another full page advertisement, this time with specimen view, and the title is given as Eyre´s Picturesque Devonshire. A view of Bickleigh Vale is given and the reader is promised about 200 high-class views. Although no copy is extant this could either be the forerunner to, or the original inspiration to, Picturesque Devon and Cornwall. Strangely, the identical advert appears in J G Hammond´s 6th edition of the Plymouth directory.
Although Hood operated from a different address to that given by the Eyre Brothers, the introduction (dated March 1890) to the directory both apologises for the slight delay in publication but also informs the reader that The same staff has again been employed in the preparation of the Directory. The directory follows the format of its predecessors.
Eyre’s Picturesque Devon and Cornwall, however, is quite different to most of the other works produced under the Eyre name: it is far more of an illustrated newspaper than a directory or guide. With its large size (30 x 39 cm) and its soft paper covers it certainly looked like a large newspaper. The 1891 issue (104 p.) clearly names Hood as the publisher but Hammond´s name does not appear on the cover to the 1898 edition (now with 118 pages of content). Only the address at the foot of the page gives the ownership away. Only the two issues quoted here are known and a perusal of the text makes it clear that no attept was made at bringing the information within up to date. The layout, the illustrations and the advertisers may have changed but not the landscape! There is a suspicion that Hammond (see below) may have simply copied the original Hood idea seven years later and reprinted; these could be the only issues.
Fig.11. Advert for Eyres´ Picturesque Devon and Cornwall first issued by Hood
2.5.2 J G Hammond
A single copy of Eyre’s Picturesque Devon and Cornwall is known from 1898. The two addresses at the foot of the page, London, 17 Coleman Street and Birmingham, 136 Moor Street give the publisher away.
A full page advert in the 6th edition of the directory mentions both the Plymouth directory, Picturesque Devon and Cornwall (which might be the Picturesque Devonshire mentioned above) but no other works are directly quoted. Another advert towards the end of the directory announces that the 1893 edition of Picturesque Devon and Cornwall is now preparing with 112 large pages. This will be the Fourth Edition we are told. If this is so, then the First Edition would have been issued in 1890, i.e. that published by Hood and the 1898 would be the 7th or 8th issue. Given its repetition of text it was very likely aimed at the summer visitor to the two counties.
Hood had introduced a map by the local printer, John Smith, for the 5th edition of the directory and Hammond continued to include this in all their issues. However, this was not their first map venture: J.G. Hammond and Co.s Map of Birmingham, Aston Manor and suburbs was printed in 1893.[ii]
An advertisement from 1908 from an unknown source (Fig.12.)[iii] still has the Midland Works in Scotland passage and also a London Works at 32-36 Fleet Lane, Ludgate Circus. They offered catalogues, books and publications of all kinds, with special attention drawn to “imitation typewriter circulars”.
Fig.12. Advert for J G Hammond & Co. from a publication c. 1908
2.5.3 Theophilus Creber
Although the 12th Edition of the Directory still included the map by John Smith, for the 13th Edition a new map was prepared. In 1905 the publication of the directory passed to A H Swiss, another local businessman. However, Creber´s business survived until 1932 when it merged with the Salisbury Press.
Fig.13. Typical circus / variety act poster printed by T Creber in the late 1800s
[i] HathiTrust has the Harvard University copy. The advert is at the back of the work.
[ii] Copy at Birmingham University Library.
[iii] Illustrated at Grace´s Guide online: https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/J._G._Hammond_and_Co.
[iv] https://ashrarebooks.com/2016/10/20/there-will-be-fun/. The descriptions which follow are all from the blog.