Blackfriars Bridge antique print. Original antique copper-plate engraving of Blackfriars Bridge, seen across the River Thames, with St Paul’s Cathedral in the background. Dated in the plate, October 5th. 1796, and published by John Stockdale (25 March 1750 – 21 June 1814.) Stockdale was an English publisher whose London shop became a salon for the political classes and who had to face two actions for defamation. One by the House of Commons became a cause célèbre and resulted in an important change in the law. He was born in Caldbeck, Cumberland, the son of Priscilla Stockdale (1726–1789) and, Joseph Stockdale. He is believed to have been raised as a blacksmith, like his father, and then to have become valet to John Astley of Dukinfield, Cheshire. He married Mary Ridgway, a native of Roe Cross, Mottram-in-Longdendale, Cheshire, and sister to James Ridgway, a well-known publisher of Piccadilly, London. He had met Mary in the Dukinfield Moravian chapel. Stockdale moved to London about 1780 and worked as a porter to publisher John Almon, near to the premises of his brother in law. When Almon retired from business in favour of John Debrett, Stockdale opened a book shop in competition and, “being a man of natural parts, he soon became conspicuous in business in spite of much eccentricity of conduct and great coarseness of manners”. Both Stockdale’s and Debrett’s premises became meeting places for the political classes, Debrett’s being frequented by the Whigs and Stockdale’s by the supporters of William Pitt. John Adams, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States lodged with Stockdale for two months during 1783.