Title: The book of common prayer, and ...
Publisher: London: sold by Barritt & Co Bible warehouse, 173 Fleet St.
Publication Date: 1857
Book Condition: Very Good1 volume (unpaged). Last section (ca.  pages and dated 1858) has a separate title-page: "A new version of the Psalms of David : fitted to the tunes used in churches / by N. Brady and N. Tate". Pale yellow endpapers, all edges gilt. Tiny printed ownership label of "K.Brown" on verso of front free endpaper. 7.5 x 10 cm. Original brass bound, full bugundy velvet binding. The boards bordered by pierced gothic style brass fittings and ornamentally cut brass clasp stamped 'Barritt & Co' in a circular stamp not seen in available records (all in very good condition). Upper board with descending dove symbol hand cut in brass. The bookbinder was John Littler Barritt, (1801-1863), of Barritt and Co., who, at the age of 14 was apprenticed to the eminent goldsmiths, Rundle & Bridge to learn the art of die-sinking; and soon after the end of his apprenticeship he commenced business on his own account, as a sinker and engraver of dies, but, by a series of accidents, found himself largely engaged in bookselling. In the year 1824, or thereabouts, a German customer wished Mr. Remnant, a rising bookbinder, to bind half a dozen books in some covers which he had brought over from France; these embossed morocco covers were a novelty in England, and Mr. Edmonds, Remnant's foreman, thought that Bibles and Prayer-books bound in similar covers would have a large sale In his investigations he heard that young Barritt, was employed by Eley as a die-sinker; his services were engaged to cut a book die, and Remnant was able to bind books in a new style, which became immensely popular. For binding alone, Remnant charged 7s. 6d. for the Ruby 24mo bible, 6s. for the Long Primer prayer, 8s. for the Minion bible, and 4s. for the 32mo prayer. Barritt was now fully employed upon dies for Remnant, but not content with this he invested his savings in a press, and embossed and sold covers to binders. As soon as Remnant discovered this, he ceased to employ him further, and Barritt turned his attention to embossing generally. About the year 1831, William Eley, the silversmith, gave up that business and joined Barritt, then established in St. James's Walk, Clerkenwell. Some Prayer-books, then a few small Bibles, next some Watts's hymns were procured and bound, these sold quickly. Larger books were bought and sold, then a move was made from Clerkenwell to Fleet Street. In 1835, Eley left the business & Frederick Wilson succeeded him. Barritt travelled widely to pick up new business. Up to 1839 the agency for the Queen's Printers' Bibles had been in the hands of Longman, but the agency was then divided with Barritt, and soon after, when the great reduction of price took place in the sheets, Barritt also introduced a cheaper kind of binding, so that an enormous impetus was given to the business. A Ruby Bible bound in morocco extra was in January sold to the trade at 10s. 6d., while in the following April, a book, just the same in appearance, was offered for 8s. 6d., and at this price the percentage of profit was greater than at the former. The credit of introducing this cheap morocco and morocco extra binding was due to Benjamin West, of Clerkenwell, a binder who had long been trying to get his cheap binding taken up, but without success, till the Bibles themselves were cheapened. Then commenced that extraordinary competition in the trade which has never once ceased books which before sold in single copies henceforward sold by the hundred, and so largely was the business of Barritt increased that they had, on more than one occasion, ordered an edition of 100,00 (Ruby, 48mo) Prayer-books, and one of 50,000 (Pearl, 24mo) Bibles, to be printed for their own consumption. Wilson retired at the end of 7 years, and at the same time Barritt, having acquired a sufficient sum to live upon in comfort , left the business to his brother-in-law, Benjamin West, the binder mentioned above, who carried it on alone for some time, and then in conjunction with Hector Baxter. Seller Inventory # 5111