A book publisher and a book printer are rarely the same. Over the ten years that the News Chronicle style series was produced, the actual printing was not done by the newspaper, but contracted out to printers all around the country to get the best price and terms. As the series reached a peak, and the print runs grew very large, each reprint was (I assume) given to whichever printer gave the best quote. I have no idea how this process was organised, but the result is that it is possible to find the titles with different printing credits on the back cover while the rest of the book will be exactly the same as before. Again I assume the publisher’s kept the original flat artwork in case it needed to be rephotographed for new printing plates.

I-Spy printerThe original Spotterbooks have no printers credit. James Heap, based in Stoke On Trent, did most (maybe all) of the Daily Mail I-Spy books in the 1949 / 52 era. Peverleys Ltd., London, did some of the first run of News Chronicle I-Spy books. Page & Thomas, Chesham, also did some of the early titles. A few titles were produced at two printers, so At The Seaside 1962 edition was printed by John Gardner, Liverpool, but the cover was done by The Hollen Street Press (as was the 1961 Road Transport edition). The 1963 edition was all printed by Blake & MacKenzie, Liverpool.

History was first printed by William Byles & Sons Ltd, Bradford.

Other named printers include Charles Birchall & Sons, Liverpool who did mid-Fifties copies of the News Chronicle titles; George Gibbons, Leicester; Dawson & Goodall, Bath; Morrison & Gibb, London and Edinburgh; William Byles & Sons, Dudley Hill, Bradford and the Silverdale Press, Hayes.  Loxley Brothers in Sheffield did the books for a time in the very early 1970s working for both The Dickens Press editions and then Polystyle. The firm are still in existence. I have used them myself in the past for work, but when I asked said they had no archives. Today they have given up competing with the Chinese and gone over to just doing greetings cards. Polystyle then moved the work to Henry Garnett in Rotherham.

The Silverdale Press, Hayes, Middlesex (1958) and  H. A. Smith & Sons, Coventry (1963) are two more names I found recently.

Jarrold & Son in Norwich did the 2/6d super series titles. Jarrolds were then better known for their work on many of the tourist guides produced for stately homes and the like, and also postcards. Jordison & Co. in Middlesborough then took the series over.


One thought on “I-Spy Printers

  1. Hi Simon, Always a great read no matter what subject.
    I-Spy (apart from being the first i anything; well before the iPod!) are now owned & published by Michelin… who I happen to work for. If you need any modern info, just let me know. Keep up the great work on all the areas.

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