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KELLY and Co.

The Post Office Directory Atlas of England and Wales

Kelly and Co., 18 to 21, Old Boswell Court, St. Clement's, Strand; and sold by Simpkin and Marshall, and all booksellers, London, [1861]
Large quarto (370 x 275 mm.), full contemporary publisher’s red cloth, ornate blind panelling, central gilt title on upper board, rebacked, gilt title to spine. With typographic title and List of Maps and 46 maps comprising a double page general map of England & Wales bound after Durham (as cited in Chubb), maps of North and South Wales and 43 county maps, Lancashire in two sheets, Yorkshire in 3 Ridings, all in early outline colour, light foxing to preliminary leaves, otherwise in good condition.
From 1799 the Post Office began to produce ‘Directories’. By 1835 they were sold to Frederic Kelly who continued to publish them for each county as ‘Kelly’s Post Office Directory’. Frederic Festus Kelly (d.1883) began working for the Post Office in 1819 and by about 1835 was chief inspector of letter carriers. Part of his responsibilities at this point was the production of the ‘London Directory’, the first being in 1843. Effectively it was a private enterprise but undertaken with the permission of the Post Office. In 1845 he published one of the six Home Counties which included maps for the first time. Over the ensuing years several others were published of parts of the country.

They were engraved by Francis Becker (1807-63) and Benjamin Rees Davies (1789?-1872). All of them were gathered in this scarce ‘Post Office Directory Atlas of England and Wales’. The List of Maps in this work states ‘These maps were originally published with the Directories for the respective counties, and have been corrected to the present time. December 1860’. However, the advert on the recto of the same page includes an advert for a ‘London Directory for 1861’ and Lincolnshire Directory ‘Published 1861’. It was priced at 30 shillings.

Each map is entitled ‘Post Office Map of …’ and contains political data as well as denoting Post Office Mail Order Towns. Whilst the atlas was never reissued, Kelly’s Directories continued publication of the maps for some time and only ceased publication in the 1970s. Batten & Bennett (2010) 132; Beresiner (1983) pp. 128-9; Carroll (1996) 116; Chubb (1927) 546; Smith (1985) pp. 141-2; Tooley’s Dictionary (1999-2004); Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).
Stock number: 10324

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