About Grub Street

Grub Street was a London neighborhood where, in the 1700’s, authors and artists, publishers and bookstores survived cheek by jowl in less than ideal surroundings but in the company and camaraderie of similar spirits 24 hours a day.

Writers who believed they would eventually write great books of sweeping import wrote for pennies a book. Books were written in a matter of days in response to a publishers demand for “another like the other one” or “write one like Henri’s”. The style may not have been notable but the area was accommodating to struggling writers.

The publishers? The public was hungry for stories and tales produced and sold cheaply: often chapbooks, predecessors to those later books known simply as “pulps”.

The market for these books was strong and the Grub Street bookstores sold books for readers, not collectors and the unusual little colony flourished for years.

The Hermit of Grub Street

The Hermit of Grub Street

Grub Street even housed an eccentric hermit, disappointed in his brother’s integrity, so shunning the world. He was a man of some means who never ventured out but sent others out to errand and market for him.

This wood cut shows him sitting at his table with a small (Grub Street?) book before him as more traditional books rest on a shelf above him.