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It was reported that Charlotte Brontë and Ann Brontë stayed at the Chapter Coffeehouse on the street when visiting London in 1847. They were in the city to meet their publisher regarding Jane Eyre.
A fire broke out at number 20 Paternoster Row on 6 February 1890. Occupied by music publisher Fredrick Pitman, the first floor was found to be on fire by a police officer at 21:30. The fire alarm at St. Martain's-le-Grand and fire crews extinguished the flames in half an hour. The floor was badly damaged, with smoke, heat and water impacting the rest of the building.
This blaze was followed later the same year on 5 October by 'an alarming fire'. At 00:30 a fire was discovered at W. Hawtin and Sons, based in numbers 24 and 25. The wholesale stationers' warehouse was badly damaged by the blaze.
On 21 November 1894, police raided an alleged gambling club which was based on the first floor of 59 Paternoster Row. The club known both as the 'City Billiard Club' and the 'Junior Gresham Club' had been there barely three weeks at the time of the raid. Forty-five arrests were made, including club owner Albert Cohen.
On 4 November 1939, a large scale civil defence exercise was held in the City of London. One of the simulated seats of fire was in Paternoster Row.
Trübner & Co. was one of the publishing companies on Paternoster Row.
Destruction during World War II
The street was devastated by aerial bombardment during the Blitz of World War II, suffering particularly heavy damage in the night raid of 29-30 December 1940, later characterised as the Second Great Fire of London, during which an estimated 5 million books were lost in the fires caused by tens of thousands of incendiary bombs.
After the raid a letter was written to The Times describing 'a passage leading through "Simpkins" [which] has a mantle of stone which has survived the melancholy ruins around it. On this stone is the Latin inscription that seems to embody all that we are fighting for :- VERBUM DOMINI MANET IN AETERNUM' [The word of God remains forever].
Another correspondent with the newspaper, Ernest W. Larby, described his experience of 25 years working on Paternoster Row:
...had he [Lord Quickswood] worked for 25 years, as I did, in Paternoster Row, he would not have quite so much enthusiasm for those narrow ways into whose buildings the sun never penetrated... What these dirty, narrow ways of the greatest city in the world really stood for from the people's viewpoint are things we had better bury.
-- Ernest W. Larby
The ruins of Paternoster Row were visited by Wendell Willkie in January 1941. He said, "I thought that the burning of Paternoster Row, the street where the books are published, was rather symbolic. They [the Germans] have destroyed the place where the truth is told".
Printers and booksellers based in Paternoster Row
Title page of An Essay on the Management of the Present War with Spain printed for T. Cooper at The Globe
Note: Before about 1762, premises in London had signs rather than numbers.
The Brazen Serpent (1627-1650) - Robert Dawlman (1627-1635, 1635-1638, died 1659), Luke Fawne (1635-1638, 1639-1641), Samuel Gellibrand (1639-1641, 1641-1650)
The Golden Ball/Ball (1650-1675) - Samuel Gellibrand (1654, 1655, 1656, 1661, 1667, 1669, 1673) (died 1675), two of his sons Edward Gellibrand (1676, 1678, 1679, 1680, 1681, 1685), John Gellibrand (1679-1685), F.? Gellibrand (1683)
No. 60 - Friendly Female Society, "for indigent widows and single women of good character, entirely under the management of ladies."
In popular culture
The Paternoster Gang are a trio of Victorian detectives aligned with the Doctor in the television series Doctor Who, so named because they are based in Paternoster Row.
In the episode "Young England" of the 2016 television series Victoria, a stalker of Queen Victoria indicates that he lives on Paternoster Row. (Coincidentally, the actress playing Victoria in the series, Jenna Coleman, had appeared in several episodes of Doctor Who that featured the aforementioned Paternoster Gang.)
^London Topographical Record. 3. London Topographical Society. 1906. p. 159.
^ abcdeSmith, Sydney; Jeffrey, Francis Jeffrey; Empson, William; Napier, Macvey; Lewis, George Cornewall; Reeve, Henry; Elliot, Arthur Ralph Douglas; Cox, Harold (1817). The Edinburgh Review: Or Critical Journal. 28. A. Constable.
^ abGlasse, Hannah; Wilson, Maria (1800). The Complete Confectioner; or, Housekeeper's Guide: To a simple and speedy method of understanding the whole ART OF CONFECTIONARY. London, United Kingdom: West and Hughes. [...] Printed by J. W. Myers, No. 2, Paternoster-row, London, for West and Hughes, No. 40, Paternoster-row. [...]
^Various editions published during this period, including Morris, F. O. (1857) . A History of British Birds (six volumes).
^Church of England Temperance Tracts, no. 19, 1876
^The Secret History of the Court of England from the Commencement of 1750 to the Reign of William the Fourth. W. Brittain. 1840. p. frontispiece.
^The London catalogue of periodicals, newspapers and transactions of various societies with a list of metropolitan printing societies and clubs. Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans. 1856. p. 3, of wrapper.
^Practical CARPENTRY, JOINERY and CABINET MAKING. Thomas Kelly. 1840-07-01.
^The World's Paper Trade Review, 1904-05-13, p. 38
^Plain truth: or, an impartial account of the proceedings at Paris during the last nine months. Containing, Among other interesting Anecdotes, a particular statement of the memorable tenth of August, and third of September. By an eye witness. 1792.