Reg began his career in 1951 when he was taken on as a trainee by one of the oldest and most famous antiquarian bookshops: Francis Edwards Booksellers at 83 Marylebone High Street, London.
Reg started as a packer (just like I did) and rose through the ranks to become the assistant to Herbert Edwards, then Francis Edwards’ successor as head of the voyages and travel department.
When the Edwards family, after well over a century in business, chose to sell the business in 1979, Reg decided to leave and open his own firm with his son Philip.
The new business was run from the family home in Barnet, Hertfordshire, and Reg and Philip issued their first catalogue in 1979. Reg was meticulous about detail and every description and reference had to be checked over and over until he was totally satisfied; only then was the catalogue sent to the printer.
It gave Reg and Philip a great thrill when they received their first order…
Accepted by the ABA
In 1980, they were accepted as members to the ABA and started to exhibit at book fairs. Reg and his wife Mary attended their first fair in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was a very social event which they both enjoyed immensely. Mary was a lovely lady – full of ‘bubbly’ humour – and an absolute pleasure to be with.
In 1982 they exhibited at their first London book fair at the Europa Hotel. After that they exhibited at every London fair to date, including the Park Lane Hotel, Grosvenor Hotel, Olympia and Battersea.
Reg did attend the earlier New York book fairs but as time went on it was Philip who exhibited at the overseas book fairs including New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Reg and Mary would always attend the biannual ILAB conference and all the wonderful trips and festivities organised by the host country.
They were always at the ABA events including the annual Christmas party and the annual cricket match at Elstead in Surrey, where Reg would often stand in as one of the umpires.
In 1983 Reg and Philip decided to rent an office overlooking Cecil Court, at Suite 33, 26 Charing Cross Road, London WC2, which suited their needs and where we they had a central London base for clients to visit.
A couple of years later they made their next move – this time to an actual shop at 14 Cecil Court. Shops in Cecil Court were at a premium and they were very grateful to Bill and Keith Fletcher, for informing them that the shop was becoming available for rent. This new ‘open’ shop proved very successful for Reg and Philip and gave them access to new as well as their established clients.
St Albans move
The next move was in 1988 when they purchased from Edith Finer the lease of the larger Frognal Book Shop premises also in Cecil Court.
In 2002, because of rent and business rate increases, they closed the shop and moved to St Albans in Hertfordshire.
In 2002 Reg decided to retire mainly due to the ill health of Mary, but he was always on hand for cataloguing and attending UK book fairs.
During his lifetime he worked on and published 60 unique catalogues relating to voyages and travels.
I first met Reg in the late 1960s when I was just beginning my career – as a packer at our family firm of E Joseph in Charing Cross Road.
I fondly remember him as a true gentlemen, very private but always with a kind word and a smile for anyone.
Books were his life and his knowledge of voyage and travel books was unsurpassed. He met many collectors and colleagues during his lifetime who became his friends for life.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Philip, his sisters Kim and Tracy and all of their families.
The funeral will take place at Hatfield Road Cemetery, 178 Hatfield Rd, St Albans AL1 4LU, England on April 22, at 2pm – which unfortunately under the current Covid-19 restrictions will need to be a small event.
As such we are asking you not to send any flowers but if you would like to make a donation to the British Heart Foundation in Reg’s memory you can do this via the following link: https://giftofhope.bhf.org.uk/In-Memory/Reg-Remington.