Republished here on fully searchable CD-Rom is the 65th edition of Doidge's Western Counties Illustrated Annual. Printed and published in Plymouth in 1933 by Hoyten & Cole, Doidge's Western Counties Illustrated Annual advertised itself as 'A book to Read and a Book to Refer to', which sums-up this publication quite nicely. Containing 462 printed pages of all sorts of miscellany such as directories of doctors, druggists, etc., tide tables, lighting up times, lists of churches, fairs, market days, packet ships, postal delivery services and much, much more. As with all of the editions of Doidge's Western Counties Illustrated Annual, the publication paints an intimate portrait of the world as it was in the year of the Annual's publication, with particular emphasis on the Devon and Cornwall areas of England. A treasury of social history for the Western Counties, the Annual contains hundreds of local and indeed nation advertisements as well as hundreds of photographs of people and events from the western counties in 1932/33. Doidge's Western Counties Illustrated Annual was founded by Thomas Sweet Doidge and first published in 1869, the longevity of the Annual clearly illustration its popularity and success. Thomas Sweet Doidge, a Wesleyan Methodist was born in West Teignmouth in 1833, the son John Sweet Doidge, who ran a successful book shop in Plymouth. John Doidge gained a reputation as an ingenious and successful bookseller by offering huge discounts on new titles from American and London publishers, some at less that a quarter of the advertised price. By 1864 Thomas Sweet Doidge had inherited his father's business, which he moved to 169-70 Union Street in 1867. Continuing with his father's practice of allowing vast discounts on new books, Thomas quickly built-up the largest booksellers in the West of England. It was from Union Street that Doidge first published his highly successful Western Counties Illustrated Annual in 1869, which he continued to published until his death in 1888. Publication of the Annual remained in the control of the family after Thomas's death, when two of his young daughters, Evelyn and Lily continued their father's business, finally relinquishing the Annual to Messrs Hoyten and Cole in 1900, who retained by the Annual's name and highly successful format. Apart from the miscellany of directories, photographs and advertisements the 1933 edition of Doidge's Western Counties Illustrated Annual also contains some thirty short stories and sketches and numerous poems all of which make Doidge's Western Counties Illustrated Annual a fascinating and highly entertaining publication.
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