Edward Stanford was an English mapmaker and publisher, who built his firm to be the largest (and best) mapmakers and publishers in London by the end of the nineteenth century. In 1847 he returned to London to work for Trelawney William Saunders, becoming first a partner and then taking over the firm, founding “Stanford’s Geographical Establishment” in 1857. When Edward I retired in 1882, the firm passed to his son Edward II (1856–1917) and continues to the present, as Stanfords.
The Stanfords were active publishers and mapsellers, creating and offering a wide range of maps for all purposes, notably Ordnance Survey publications and imported maps, their stock expanded with the acquisition of some of Henry George Collins’s stock at auction in 1858 and John Arrowsmith’s stock at auction on 14th July, 1874, including the plates for his London Atlas of Universal Geography, which the Stanfords reprinted as atlases until about 1915, as sheets (with some issued into the 1930s) and as pocket maps, dissected and folded into covers.
In 1893, the firm acquired the Wyld business, their chief rivals, and so consolidated their position as the leading cartographic publishers in England, recognized by their appointment as Geographer to the Queen.
While their stock is simply too extensive to attempt to list, they offered maps of the many theatres of war, battle plans, a range of maps of the British Isles, geological maps and plans of London, many of the latter representing parliamentary proposals for the railways and the changing boundaries of the regional divisions of local government, local education boards and so on.
The firm also contributed maps to the publications of other publishers, notably to the guide books issued by John Murray.