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David and Charles Ltd

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

David and Charles Ltd
F&W Media International company logo.png
Parent companyDavid and Charles Ltd (since 2000)
Founded1 April 1960 (1960-04-01)
FounderDavid St John Thomas
Charles Hadfield
Headquarters locationExeter, England
DistributionGMC Distribution, Grantham Book Service (UK)[1][2]
Publication typesBook, E-book, E-learning
ImprintsDavid & Charles

David and Charles Ltd, is a publisher of illustrated non-fiction books, eBooks, digital products, craft patterns and online education courses. It is the international arm of F+W and owner of the David & Charles imprint, which specialises in craft and lifestyle publishing, including sewing, knitting, crochet, quilting, papercraft, vintage, cake decorating and mixed crafts. The company also owns and runs the Stitch Craft Create ecommerce store (formerly the RU Craft store[3]) and publishing brand in the UK.

David and Charles Ltd acts as the worldwide (excluding North America) distributor for all David and Charles Ltd books and content outside North America, and also distributes Interweave Press publications in the UK, Worldwide (excluding North America), and as foreign language editions.[4] In addition, the company distributes Dover Publications and Reader's Digest books into the UK Trade[5] and is also used by David and Charles Ltd as a UK and Europe distribution platform for the overseas acquired companies Krause Publications and Adams Media.


David and Charles Ltd, is a publisher of illustrated non-fiction books and provider of online learning. The current company was founded in 2019, taking the original founding name of the business that was first established in 1960. The company is the UK distributor for Dover Publications.


Early Years David and Charles was first founded in Newton Abbot, England, on 1 April 1960 by David St John Thomas and Charles Hadfield. It made its name publishing titles on Britain's canals and railways. The company's first employees worked from a hut in David St John Thomas' garden. As the business expanded the company relocated to the Newton Abbot railway station building, eventually taking over the locomotive shed for use as a warehouse. During the early years the company became particularly renowned for its classic books on the railways and canals of the United Kingdom. The railway linkage led to the company publishing a full page monthly advert "David & Charles News" on the back cover of The Railway Magazine. This started with a half-page on the November 1966 back cover with the full page "News" starting in January 1967.[6] In the period from 1965 to 1970 David & Charles had an extensive list of books published with the American imprint Augustus M. Kelley. These books were usually almost identical to the United Kingdom product but with changed dust jacket and publisher's information.[7]

Book Clubs In 1971, the company bought Readers' Union, a group of book clubs catering to enthusiasts of needlecraft, handicrafts, gardening, equestrian pursuits and photography. The company's publishing programme began to reflect these subject areas, moving away from the traditional transport titles for which it had become known. Membership of the book clubs peaked at 268,000 members in 1992. The company was sold to Reader's Digest in 1990 before a subsequent management buy-out in 1997. In 2000, the company was bought by American company F+W Publications, which later became F+W Media. The growth of internet retailing led to the closure of the Readers' Union book clubs in 2008, which were replaced with the ecommerce business RUCraft. RUCraft won several awards, including Best Catalogue Refresh 2012, and was Highly Commended by Craft Business magazine for its Direct To Consumer Online Store.[9] RUCraft rebranded to become Stitch Craft Create in January 2013.

F&W Media International The company had been distributing the Interweave, Northlight and Writer's Digest imprints on behalf of F+W Media and rebranded to become F&W Media International in 2010. It continued to publish new books under the David and Charles imprint, focusing entirely on craft and lifestyle categories. In October 2013, the company launched a new UK ecommerce site in partnerhsip with Burda Style. In November 2015, the company moved from Newton Abbot to Pynes Hill in Exeter and completed the acquisition of the online ecommerce business

Return to David and Charles In March 2019, F+W Media announced entered Chapter 11 Bankruptcy proceedings. The book publishing assets of F&W Media International (substantially the publishing business of David and Charles) were acquired in a Management Buy-Out led by Managing Director, James Woollam. A new company was formed in July 2019 to complete the buy-out and was able to return to the David and Charles name.

Early publishing

Among the early titles were The Canals of the British Isles series, edited and often written by Hadfield – he wrote in full or part, at least five of the volumes. Another series was the A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain (15 volumes); with the first volume written by St John Thomas and which led to the publishing of two companion series: Forgotten Railways and Railway History in Pictures. The Scottish writer John Thomas wrote a series of books on Scotland railway lines and railway companies, first published in the 1960s and 1970s by the company. John Marshall was another railway historian published by the company. The company also published travel and topographical works from the 1960s through to the 1990s of which the Islands series and the Light and the Land books by Colin Baxter were the most prominent examples. In the twenty-first century their travel publishing continued with the "Most Amazing Places" series. One of their 1968 titles was a new edition of E. Temple Thurston's The Flower of Gloster which had been out of print since 1918. The book is today regarded as both a seminal work in canal literature and a classic example of Edwardian romanticism. The company also specialised in reprints of early technical and travel works and republished several issues of Baedeker's early-20th-century country guides as well some of the Edwardian works by Fred T Jane.

Online Learning

David and Charles creates course materials and operates the website, a partnership with the Royal School of Needlework to provide self-paced online learning courses.

See also


  1. ^ Clients
  2. ^ Penguin Random House Distribution
  3. ^ RUCraft to rebrand as Stitch Craft Create FW Media
  4. ^ F&W Media International to distribute leading craft publisher Interweave Press in the UK and international markets, Accessed 8 January 2014
  5. ^ F&W Media International company overview, Accessed 8 January 2014

Further reading

  • Anonymous (1981). Good Books Come from Devon, the David & Charles Twenty-First Birthday Book. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. ISBN 978-0-715-38139-7.
  • Boughey, Joseph (1998). Charles Hadfield: Canal Man and More. Phoenix Mill, Thrupp, Stroud, Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing, in association with the Inland Waterways Association. ISBN 978-0-750-91052-1.

External links

This page was last edited on 20 November 2020, at 21:29
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