On Albermarle Street in Mayfair, just off Piccadilly, stands John Murray Publishers. Founded in 1768 by John Murray (1737 – 1793), and run for over two centuries by a succession of John Murrays until its takeover by Hachette, John Murray Publishers was responsible for producing several landmark English texts, most famously the works of poet Lord Byron and naturalist Charles Darwin.
For an introduction to the John Murray Publishing House and its archive, by the current John Murray, see below.
Charles Darwin’s 2nd edition of The Voyage of the Beagle, On the Origin of Species, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, and The Descent of Man were all published by John Murray. For a video of John Murray talking about the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, click here.
To see Randall Keynes, a descendant of Charles Darwin, speak about pigeons and evolution, see below.
John Murray was also the publisher of Lord Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, the work which rocketed Byron to fame in 1812.
Members of the public may request a tour of the premises, as we did, and in our case we were very kindly shown around by the current John Murray himself. Items of interest include many historical portraits and first editions, and happily, photography is permitted.
Below is the fireplace in which Byron’s memoirs were destroyed by the John Murray of the time, and several well-meaning friends, following Byron’s death. They hoped to spare the poet’s reputation of further scandal, but in doing so they have robbed subsequent generations of historians and readers of a priceless resource.
To request your own tour, contact John Murray Publishers.