Durham antique map from Cassell’s County Atlas, published c.1864. Original hand-colouring. Map includes details of County Durham ’s Parliamentary representation in the House of Commons.
John Cassell (1817–1865), who was in turn a carpenter, temperance preacher, tea and coffee merchant, finally turned to publishing. His first publication was on 1 July 1848, a weekly newspaper called The Standard of Freedom advocating religious, political, and commercial freedom. The Working Man’s Friend became another popular publication. In 1849 Cassell was dividing his time between his publishing and his grocery business. In 1851 his expanding interests led to his renting part of La Belle Sauvage, a London inn which had been a playhouse in Elizabethan times. The former inn was demolished in 1873 to make way for a railway viaduct, with the company building new premises behind. La Belle Sauvage was destroyed in 1941 by WWII bombing as well as many archives.
Thomas Dixon Galpin who came from Dorchester in Dorset and George William Petter who was born in Barnstaple in Devon were partners in a printing firm and on John Cassell’s bankruptcy in June 1855 acquired the publishing company and Cassell’s debts. Between 1855 and 1858 the printing firm operated as Petter and Galpin and their work was published by W. Kent & Co.
John Cassell was relegated to being a junior partner after becoming insolvent in 1858, the firm being known as Cassell, Petter & Galpin. With the arrival of a new partner, Robert Turner, in 1878, it became Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Company. Galpin was the astute business manager. George Lock, the founder of Ward Lock, another publishing house, was Galpin’s first cousin. Petter resigned in 1883 as a result of disagreement over publishing fiction, and in 1888 the company name was changed to Cassell & Co, Ltd, following Galpin’s retirement and Petter’s death.