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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
17th January 1899 Born today: Nevil Shute [Norway], London, novelist (On the Beach, Town Like Alice)
17th January 1886 Born today: Ronald Firbank, London, novelist (Flower Beneath the Foot)
17th January 1775 R B Sheridan's Rivals, premieres in London
17th January 1670 Highwayman Claude Duval found guilty of 6 robberies and sentenced to death.
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.