Thomas Cottrell, later Fann Street Foundry

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1. Overview

London. 1757-? Talbot Baines Reed places the origin of this foundry with the attempt by Thomas Cottrell (d. 1785) and Joseph Jackson, both former apprentices of William Caslon, to start a typefoundry in 1757. Jackson left this venture in 1759 (later to start his own foundry), but Cottrell continued. Cottrell died in 1785. Baines Reed notes that "no record remains" of what happened to the foundry between then and 1796, when it was purchased by Robert Thorne, "a former apprentice of Cottrell's".

In "about the year 1810" Thorne moved to Fann Street, Aldersgate, and adopted the name "Fann Street Foundry."

In 1820, Thorne died and the foundry was purchased at auction by William Thorowgood, a "gentleman ... previously unconnected with the typographical profession" [Reed p. 295].

In 1828 Thorowgood purchased Fry's Type Street Foundry.

"About 1838" [Reed 296] Robert Besley (employee since 1826) admitted to partnership. Firm thence called "Thorowgood and Co." or "Thorowgood and Besley."

In 1849, Thorowgood left the partnership and Benjamin Fox, "a practical punch cutter of much talent" joined, to form "Robert Besley & Co."

In 1861, Besley left and Charles Reed, "a printer," joined, forming "Reed and Fox."

Fox died in 1877. The firm then became "Sir Charles Reed and Sons." Charles Reed died in 1881, and his two sons continued it.

(Reed's account, published in 1887, stops here.)

For a good overall account which includes the merger into Stephenson, Blake, see { Millington, Roy. Stephenson Blake: The Last of the Old English Typefounders. New Castle, DE and London: Oak Knoll Books and The British Library, 2002. (chapter 14)

2. Specimen Books

[click image to read at The Internet Archive]
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1874. Selections from the Specimen Book.

Selections from the Specimen Book of the Fann Street Foundry. (London: Reed and Fox, late Robert Besley & Co., 1874.)

A digital version of this book, including the original page scans, is available at The Internet Archive; the link at left goes there. Here is a local copy of the PDF version and the (nicer) DjVu version.

3. Type-Makers Employed

Robert Cottrell. Benjamin Fox. Joseph Jackson.

4. Typefaces


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