From Trust to Takeover: Butterworths 1938-1967 a Publishing House in Transition

The history of Butterworth's, England's leading law publisher, falls into four parts - the 19th century when it was sedately and modestly run by its eponymous founders; the first four decades of the 20th century when it was dynamically built by Stanley Bond; the thirty-five years following Bond's death in 1943, when the company was owned by the Bond Family Trust; and the years since 1965 when Butterworth's/LexisNexis became a division of the International Publishing Corporation, which later became Reed International and latterly Reed Elsevier. This book covers the third of these four periods. Stanley Bond, a largely unrecognised publishing genius, built Butterworth's, over a period of fifty years, from obscurity into a major publishing house. In his will, he placed control of the company in the hands of a trust, to which he expressed his wish that his company should be preserved for his two sons. This did not happen. The company was sold twenty-four years after Bond's death. How this came about is a story of intrigue and power play, in researching which the author had access to confidential archives and was able to interview witnesses of the drama. The result is a tale that throws light on the mores of privately-run companies sliding unwillingly into the era of corporate ownership. Bond made very few mistakes in his publishing career, but there was one chink in his armour. He left it too late to get married, too late that is to father children who could take over the business after his death. When he died aged 65 in 1943 his two sons were aged three and one. By a strange quirk of fate, the author Gordon Graham employed Ian Bond in 1965/66 without knowing his connection with Butterworth's. He also met many of the other participants in the drama, including the one man, who, above all, was responsible for thwarting Stanley Bond's plans: his Nemesis.