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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
29th March 1979 Caryl Churchill's Cloud Nine, premieres in London
29th March 1959 Born today: Marina Sirtis, London, actress (Troi-Star Trek: The Next Generation)
29th March 1871 the Albert Hall was opened by Queen Victoria.
29th March 1869 Born today: Edwin Lutyens, architect, London
Magic, Gizmos & FUN
The Largest Mail Order House for Novelties in the World
Location: 246 High Holborn, WC1
Description: 'Ellisdons' seemed to be on the back page of almost every comic back in the day...
'Established in 1898', Ellisdons literature used to claim, but that was in Australia, dealing in somewhat more practical merchandise.
Then, in the early 1930s, for reasons unexplained, three generations of the Ellisdon family arrived in England and acquired premises in High Holborn. Within four years they were issuing wonderful catalogues and claiming to be 'The Largest Mail Order House for Novelties in the World'.
And it is on this spot that the company worked from.
At its peak, the business was mailing 100,000 catalogues, as well as importing from Europe and the Far East. It employed a large workforce preparing and manufacturing at various sites in London and, later, Bedford.
The decline, when it came in the '70s, was rapid, sparked by an assortment of factors, prominent amongst them, as is so often the case, the retirement of the last member of the founding family.