English, Department of



Rosemary Ashton

Date of this Version


Document Type



The George Eliot Review 38 (2007) Published by The George Eliot Fellowship, http://georgeeliot.org/


The George Eliot Review 2019 (38)


1. John Chapman and the Strand in 1847

24 July 1847 the following advertisement appeared in the weekly periodical, the Athenaeum:

MR CHAPMAN, Bookseller and Publisher, begs to announce that he has REMOVED his Business from 121 Newgate Street, to more spacious premises on the South side of the STRAND, No 142, a few doors West of Somerset House; and requests, therefore, that all communications may be forwarded to the latter address.

For the next seven years John Chapman's 'spacious premises' - consisting of the bookselling business and publishing house, his family home, and rooms for literary lodgers - was the chief place of resort for writers with a book to publish which was in any way radical or unorthodox.

The move to the Strand was significant, signalling Chapman's arrival in the heart of London to take up residence in a handsome house on the city's most famous street. Just after Chapman moved in, John Tallis, a bookseller and publisher, issued a second edition of his London Street Views, a set of cheap, handy booklets, each containing detailed drawings of the buildings in a particular area of London. He had first issued eighty-eight of these booklets in 1838-1840; they measured approximately nine inches by five, had a pale green paper cover, and showed the engraved elevation, beautifully line-drawn, of London's buildings. The Street Views cost 1 ½d each.'

Tallis's revised and enlarged edition of 1847 included five separate plans covering the Strand, the longest street in London and the city's main east-west thoroughfare. The recently completed Trafalgar Square marked the beginning of the Strand at its western end, while Temple Bar formed the eastern boundary with Fleet Street. 142 Strand features in the section which includes Somerset House, nine houses east of number 142 on the south side near Temple Bar.