The Francis Era
Francis was ten years of age when Taylor moved from Shoe Lane into the post-Great Fire seventeenth-century red-brick house in Red Lion Court where the firm was to remain established for over a century. One of the many courts and alley-ways leading north out of Fleet Street, Red Lion Court was probably named after a tavern which is mentioned as early as 1592. By the eighteenth century the Court had become closely connected with printing and publishing. It was here, for example, that Mary Harrison carried on her late husband’s printing business between 1769 and 1797 before her sons developed the House of Harrison in St Martin’s Lane. For a time Harrison was in partnership with Parker, another printer in St Martin’s Lane, with Richard Taylor as their bondsman. The deed of partnership, as well as miscellaneous balance sheets, remained in the hands of Taylor & Francis until 1954, when they were given to the House of Harrison. Ironically, the firm was destined to become Taylor & Francis’s chief competitor in publishing the transactions of scientific societies; here, too, the notable Leicestershire antiquarian and bibliophile, John Nichols, printed and published the Gentleman’s Magazine (founded 1731) between 1779 and 1820.