A BIT OF HISTORY
THE VICTORIAN ERA
THE BEGINNING OF STANFORDS
Edward Stanford, founder of the bookstore of the same name, rose to prominence during the Victorian era. A period marked by technological innovation, social upheaval, literary excellence and the growing exploration of the world. So, in 1853, thanks to a skilful entrepreneurial initiative, Stanford expanded its store to 7 and 8 of Charing Cross road. At the same time, he acquired a couple of premises at Trinity Place to convert them into a printing house and in doing so became the sole owner. This move consolidated Stanford as the largest and indeed the sole producer and and seller of maps in London. This at a time when British colonialism, the rise of the railways and the continued popularity of the Grand Tour, increased the demand for high-quality cartographic material which from that moment it was invented became easily accessible.
THE PRESTIGE OF STANFORDS
In 1877, about twenty-four years after its foundation, the company enjoyed such success that it managed to acquire the famous Staunton & Son. What the Londoners called the “Official Stationery of the Queen”. In 1885, at the age of 58, Stanford retired and sold the company to his son, Edward Stanford II, who became head of sales three years earlier. Thanks to the newly formed collaboration with Ordnance Survey Maps, young Stanford became their sole agent in England and Wales. In 1887 he published the London Atlas of Universal Geography dedicated to Queen Victoria on the occasion of her Royal Jubilee. However, it took a few years before Edward Stanford II received his royal mandate as the Queen’s cartographer in 1893. At the turn of the century, Stanford II made the decision to combine the retail, printing and cartographic activities of the company under the same roof. In 1901, the doors of the number 12 in Long Acre, in the heart of Covent Garden, opened to receive important personalities of the time such as Florence Nightingale, Frederick Lugard, John Murray, Ernest Shackleton and Francis Younghusband.