LUP in the 1940s to 1970s

'A tale of high ideal'


Following the death of D Millett, R.A. (Robert) Downie, former editorial assistant to Sir James Frazer, was appointed Secretary of the Press from 1st August 1947. This year also saw the publication of The University Press of Liverpool: A Record of Progress, 1899-1946 (LUP, 1947) by the then Chair of Press Committee Professor J. P. Droop. By 1948 LUP had published 120 books.

The University Press of Liverpool, The University of Liverpool Library

Droop notes: ‘This is a continuous story which, in the main, is a tale of high ideal… There can be no better advertisement of a University than a University Press steadily producing books of high standing and sending them all over the world.’


John O’Kane was appointed Secretary of the Press on November 1st 1954. He remains the longest-serving head of the Press, serving until 1981.


11th March 1955 the name of the Press changed from The University Press of Liverpool to Liverpool University Press at the instigation of John O’Kane.

Photograph of Grove Street from The University of Liverpool Library

The Press moves to its own purpose-built building on Grove Street.


A new campus bookshop opened on 1st November and arrangements were made for a permanent display of LUP books. The Press continues to enjoy a good relationship with the University of Liverpool Blackwell’s store to this day.

Photograph from book launch of 'The Irish Economy' 1922

LUP had 7 full time staff, 4 of whom were typists, published 8 books, 168 backlist titles, 3 quarterly and 1 twice yearly journal. The management committee for the Press, meanwhile, numbered 20 people.


Professor Gerald Dix put forward a proposal for a new journal on town planning in developing countries. It would later become IDPR. On the books’ side, meanwhile, the Secretary was able to report that the Press had 'more manuscripts in process and projects and co-publishing proposals under development, than at any previous time.'