A brief history of BBTI

BBTI was founded in 1983 by Peter C. G. Isaac, Professor Emeritus of Civil and Public Health Engineering, University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Originally supported by the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and the Sir James Knott Charitable Trust, the project later received financial assistance from the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust.

Sadly, Professor Isaac died in June 2002, shortly after seeing the project established at Birmingham. Peter Isaac was a highly respected historian of the British provincial book trade and a former President of the Bibliographical Society. He was also the founding editor of Quadrat, a periodical bulletin of research in progress on the British book trade. Quadrat is now edited by Catherine Armstrong..

The three-year project hosted at the University of Birmingham was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and ended on 31 March 2005. By moving to Oxford in 2015, BBTI is entering its third phase of development, joining the other resources for book trade history hosted by the Centre for the Study of the Book.

BBTI is a database which aims to include brief biographical and trade details of all those who worked in the English and Welsh book trades up to 1851. There is a separate Scottish Book Trade Index at the National Library of Scotland, so BBTI includes only those Scottish book trade people who also traded in England or Wales at some point in their lives.

BBTI includes not only printers, publishers and booksellers but also other related trades, such as stationers, papermakers, engravers, auctioneers, ink-makers and sellers of medicines, so that the book trade can be studied in the context of allied trades. BBTI is, however, only intended as an index to other sources of information. It is not intended to be a biographical dictionary of book-trade people.

We do not hold any additional material at the BBTI office and are therefore unable to provide any information other than that on the website.