Thomas Tegg

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Thomas Tegg (1776–1845) was a British bookseller and publisher. [1]

Contents

Early life

Tegg was the son of a grocer, born at Wimbledon, Surrey, on 4 March 1776, and was left an orphan at the age of five. He was sent to a boarding school at Galashiels in Selkirkshire. In 1785 he was bound apprentice to Alexander Meggett, a bookseller at Dalkeith. He ran away, sold chapbooks at Berwick, and spent time at Newcastle where he met the wood engraver Thomas Bewick. In Sheffield he obtained employment from Joseph Gales, the proprietor of the Sheffield Register , and encountered Tom Paine and Charles Dibdin. Further wanderings took him to Ireland and Wales, and then, after some years at King's Lynn in Norfolk, he moved to London in 1796.

Wimbledon, London suburb of London

Wimbledon is a district and town of south-west London, England, 7.1 miles (11.4 km) south-west of the centre of London at Charing Cross, in the London Borough of Merton, south of Wandsworth, north-east of New Malden, north-west of Mitcham, west of Streatham and north of Sutton. Wimbledon had a population of 68,187 in 2011 which includes the electoral wards of Abbey, Dundonald, Hillside, Trinity, Village, Raynes Park and Wimbledon Park.

Galashiels Place

Galashiels is a town in the Scottish Borders and historic county of Selkirkshire, on the Gala Water river. The name is often shortened to "Gala".

Selkirkshire Historic county in Scotland

Selkirkshire or the County of Selkirk is a historic county and registration county of Scotland. It borders Peeblesshire to the west, Midlothian to the north, Roxburghshire to the east, and Dumfriesshire to the south. It derives its name from its county town, the Royal burgh of Selkirk.

London

"Dropsy Courting Consumption", published October 25, 1810 in Tegg's Carricatures ndeg 45, printed at 111 Cheapside An obese man wooing a tall lean woman outside a mausoleum; r Wellcome V0010871.jpg
"Dropsy Courting Consumption", published October 25, 1810 in Tegg's Carricatures n° 45, printed at 111 Cheapside

In London he obtained an engagement with William Lane, the proprietor of the Minerva Library, at 53 Leadenhall Street. He subsequently worked for John and Arthur Arch, the Quaker booksellers of Gracechurch Street, where he stayed until he began business on his own account.

William Lane (1746-1814) was a publisher and bookseller in London in the late 18th century. Around 1790 he established the Minerva Printing Press in Cree Church Lane, Leadenhall Street, moving ca.1792 to no. 31 Leadenhall Street. The Minerva Press issued works by Courtney Melmoth and others. Subscribers to Lane's Circulating Library included Leigh Hunt. Around 1799 John Darling and Anthony King Newman joined Lane as "Lane, Darling, Newman & Co." In 1804 Lane retired and Newman took over the business.

Leadenhall Street road in the City of London, England

Leadenhall Street is a road in London that is about 0.3 miles (500 m) long and links Cornhill and Bishopsgate in the west to St. Botolph Street and Aldgate in the east. It is situated in the City of London, which is the historic nucleus of modern London as well its primary financial district.

Gracechurch Street main road in the City of London

Gracechurch Street is a main road in the City of London, the historic and financial centre of London, which is designated the A1213.

Tegg took a shop in partnership with Joseph Dalton Dewick [2] in Aldersgate Street. On 20 April 1800 he married, and opened a shop in St. John Street, Clerkenwell, but lost money through the bad faith of a friend. He took out a country auction licence to try his fortune in the provinces. He started with a stock of shilling political pamphlets and some thousands of the Monthly Visitor . With his wife acting as clerk, he travelled and bought up duplicates in private libraries, clearing his debts.

Clerkenwell area of inner north London in the London Borough of Islington

Clerkenwell is an area of central London England. The area includes the sub-district of Finsbury.

Returning to London in 1805, he opened a shop at 111 Cheapside. He printed a series of pamphlets, consisting of abridgements of popular works. They proved successful, and he had up to two hundred titles, many of which sold four thousand copies. By 1840 he had published four thousand works on his own account. The Whole Life of Nelson, which he brought out just after the battle of Trafalgar in 1805, sold fifty thousand copies at 6d. and the Life of Mary Anne Clarke (1810), thirteen thousand copies at 7s. 5d. each. In 1824 he purchased the copyright of William Hone's Everyday Book and Table Book, and, republishing it in weekly parts, made a large profit. He then gave Hone £500 to write The Year Book, which proved less successful.

Cheapside street in the City of London

Cheapside is a street in the City of London, the historic and modern financial centre of London, which forms part of the A40 London to Fishguard road. It links St. Martin's Le Grand with Poultry. Near its eastern end at Bank junction, where it becomes Poultry, is Mansion House, the Bank of England, and Bank station. To the west is St. Paul's Cathedral, St. Paul's tube station and square.

Battle of Trafalgar 1805 battle of the Napoleonic Wars

The Battle of Trafalgar was a naval engagement fought by the British Royal Navy against the combined fleets of the French and Spanish Navies, during the War of the Third Coalition of the Napoleonic Wars (1796–1815).

Mary Anne Clarke English courtesan and diarist

Mary Anne Clarke was the mistress of Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany. Their relationship began in 1803, while he was Commander-in-Chief of the army. Later in 1809, she wrote her memoirs which were published. She was the subject of a portrait by Adam Buck, and a caricature by Isaac Cruikshank; ten days after the latter's publication, the Duke resigned from his post as Commander of the British Army. In 1811, she commissioned Irish sculptor Lawrence Gahagan to sculpt a marble bust of her; this is now housed in the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Satirical print from Tegg's Caricature Magazine (1815). Tameing a Shrew; or, Petruchio's Patent Family Bedstead, Gags & Thumscrews.png
Satirical print from Tegg's Caricature Magazine (1815).

When his own publications began paying well he gave up auctions, which he had continued nightly at 111 Cheapside. In 1824 he made his final move, to 73 Cheapside. In 1825 he started the London Encyclopaedia which ran to twenty-two volumes. He bought remainders on a large scale. He was mentioned as a populariser of literature in Thomas Carlyle's petition on the copyright bill in April 1839.

<i>London Encyclopaedia</i> (1829)

The publication of A London Encyclopaedia, or Universal Dictionary of Science, Art, Literature and Practical Mechanics: comprising a Popular View of the Present State of Knowledge was begun by London bookseller and publisher Thomas Tegg in 1825. It may be found in two original editions of 22 volumes, published 1829 and 1839, as well as more recent reprints.

Thomas Carlyle Scottish philosopher, satirical writer, essayist, historian and teacher

Thomas Carlyle was a Scottish philosopher, satirical writer, essayist, translator, historian, mathematician, and teacher. Considered one of the most important social commentators of his time, he presented many lectures during his lifetime with certain acclaim in the Victorian era. One of those conferences resulted in his famous work On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and The Heroic in History where he explains that the key role in history lies in the actions of the "Great Man", claiming that "the history of the world is but the biography of great men".

In 1835, being then a common councilman of the ward of Cheap, he was nominated an alderman, but was not elected. In 1836 he was chosen Sheriff of London; he paid the conventional fine to escape serving, of £400, and added another £100, founding a Tegg scholarship at the City of London School and donating a collection of books.

He died on 21 April 1845, and was buried at Wimbledon. He was generally believed to have been the original of Timothy Twigg in Thomas Hood's 1834 novel Tylney Hall.

Works

His first short book, The Complete Confectioner, reached a second edition. Tegg was also author of:

He also edited the twelve numbers of The Magazine of Knowledge and Amusement, 1843–4.

Family

Tegg left three sons, including Thomas Tegg, a bookseller, who died on 15 September 1871 and William (1816-1895), who continued the business.

Notes

  1. "WorldCat".
  2. "Joseph Dalton Dewick". librairiedialogues.fr.

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Further reading