The death of my Uncle, Wilfrid Hodgson, left me temporarily in charge of seven large boxes of memorabilia from his family. In sorting through this, a number of fascinating stories emerged. The boxes were returned to the executors and relevant contents have been preserved by myself and others to allow further research into the family in the future.
The history of Hodgson & Co up to 1967 is contained in the leaflet that was included with their October 1967 catalogue and which is available as a PDF file. In brief, Edmund Hodgson b. 1793 moved from Dent to London and set up as a stationer and bookseller. In 1826 he joined Robert Saunders who had established a bookselling business in 1807 and in 1828 took control of the business which moved in 1863 to 115 Chancery Lane. His sons Barnard Becket b. 1831 and Henry Hill Hodgson b. 1837 took over the business in 1867 and John Edmund b. 1875 and Sidney Hodgson b. 1876 (H H H's sons) took over from them in 1900. In 1947, Sidney Hodgson's son Wilfrid b. 1915 became a partner. In 1967, the bookselling business was sold to Sotheby's but sales continued at Hodgson's Room until 1981 when Wilfrid retired and the family connections with the book trade ended.
115 Chancery Lane is now (2014) a high-quality supplier of garments.
Sidney was a great collector of antiquaria and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. Much of what he collected he donated to appropriate libraries such as at Penge, following his writing of a booklet on Penge in 1924. Four generations of the Hodgson's played an active role in the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers and all four served, in their time, as Master of the Company, a rare, if unprecedented record. Sidney died at the age of 96 but was still travelling by train to London to work at the Stationers' Hall or at Chancery Lane until near to the end of his life.
This page is headed: "Books" so I should perhaps mention that I have probably inherited the book-buying trait from the Hodgsons although, much to the displeasure of my wife, I have not also inherited the book-selling trait. Our house is full of "useful" books on subjects ranging from caving and mining to local history and from sociology to chemical engineering.
The photos above show:
(left c. 1856) Henry Hill Hodgson on his velocipede
(centre 1967) Hodgson's saleroom catalogue marked up with sale values
(right c. 1960s) Sidney Hodgson at work in the office in Hodgson's Rooms, 115 Chancery Lane
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