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John Menzies


1808 - 1879

Bookseller and newsagent. Born in Edinburgh, Menzies entered the book trade on leaving school. He moved to London and worked with a bookseller in Fleet Street but, on the death of his father, returned to Edinburgh in 1833 opening his own shop at 61 Princes Street. There he sold newspapers, as well as books and stationery. He soon began to extend his business, taking advantage of the development of the railways to open a network of bookstalls in stations. Menzies also became the agent for various London publishers, holding the rights to the works of Charles Dickens in the East of Scotland. He also negotiated the rights to distribute magazines, including Punch, and newspapers to other newsagents across Scotland. In 1868, he opened a wholesale warehouse in Glasgow and further extended his network. He created a successful business, though at the cost of a sizeable overdraft, which passed to his sons on his death.

Menzies lies buried in Warriston Cemetery (Edinburgh).


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