A difficult transition

Our History / 19th Century / A difficult transition

In 1885, with his wife, Marianne, having previously died in childbirth, William Pollard died suddenly leaving seven young children. There was no male family member to lead the business – as was the expectation of the time. The women of the family, particularly Emma (William’s sister), rallied round to both care for the children and appoint managers for the business. They succeeded on both counts. Five of the children remained engaged in the company right up to the 1950s. The Exeter Almanac for 1892 declared that: ‘Wm Pollard & Co., owing to the demand for space necessitated by their increasing business have, during the past year, re-built and greatly extended their premises. This improvement has enabled them to add new machinery of the latest type to their already extensive plant.’ A particular, if temporary, success of those years was development as an Educational Publisher – based on appointment to supply National Society schools with workbooks, textbooks, stationery, etc. These were expanding rapidly as legislation provided for universal ‘elementary education’. At this time, the business advertised itself as: ‘Printers, Stationers, Account Book Manufacturers and Educational Booksellers’.

Seven young orphans: (left to right) Herbert, Katie, Henry, Alice, Frances, Marion and Leonard.

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Finger on the pulse