Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire

In Search of Thomas Green and the Authors of Liverpool’s Caxton Press

Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire (2019), 168, (1), 65–92.


In the first decades of the nineteenth century Liverpool’s Caxton Press was one of the foremost publishing empires in the United Kingdom. Motivated by religious devotion and a commitment to nurturing self-improvement, its proprietors commissioned many fine reference works. Thomas Green’s voluminous and lavishly illustrated Universal Herbal, a botanical dictionary aimed at both students and those just living or working in the countryside, is now amongst the most collectable (and expensive) works published in Liverpool and yet Green himself – in common with several other authors of the Caxton Press – has remained an unknown figure. This article follows the growth of the Caxton Press, as a provincial firm, up until a disastrous fire in 1821 and explores the background of the proprietors and their authors with a view to identifying Green and placing him and his work within the context of the firm’s business. It further seeks to highlight the importance of provincial firms to the publishing industry.

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Author details

Foggo, Nick