LUP's Early Years

‘A University without a Press tends to become a silent University or one with no articulate voice of its own.'


4th October 1899, a resolution of the Senate of University College Liverpool (later University of Liverpool) appoints a Printing and Stationery Committee to oversee a University Press. The founding Committee members were:

  • Chevalier Eugenio Londini, University College Registrar 1881-1904
  • Sir Richard Glazebrook, Principal of University College, Liverpool 1898-99 (physicist)
  • Sir Edward Gonner, Professor of Economic Science
  • Professor F S Carey, Professor of Mathematics, 1886-1923
  • Professor Woodward
  • Dr John Sampson, University Librarian and first Secretary (Director) or Liverpool University Press.
Founding Document 1899, The University of Liverpool Library
John Sampson, The University of Liverpool Library, reference number SP9/5/2 (153)

The idea appears to have come from John Sampson, who had left Ireland for Liverpool at 14 and already had a printing business behind him when his deep interest in languages and books saw him appointed the first Librarian at University College Liverpool.

The founding committee also received considerable advice from Mr Walter Blaikie of Edinburgh during the establishment of the Press.

An Address to the Faculty of Arts, The University of Liverpool Library

The first publication of the Press, published that same year, was a pamphlet by J W Mackay, An Address to the Faculty of Arts, 1899


On the 6th February 1900 the University Council resolved that ‘while approving of the proposal for the establishment of a University Press, the Council is of the opinion that it is undesirable that the College should be responsible for its management but that the Press should have a separate organisation to be subject to the approval of Council.’ As a result of this resolution the University Press of Liverpool was registered as a company limited by guarantee, a formulation that it has embraced at various points in its history.

The Temples and Ritual of Asklepios, The University of Liverpool Library

LUP published its first book, The Temples and Ritual of Asklepios by R Caton. Rather eccentrically the Press’s first book was a second edition.

Malarial Fever by Ronald Ross, pictured in the Special Collections Archive at The University of Liverpool Library

Malarial Fever: Its Cause, Prevention and Treatment by the Nobel Prize-winning scientist Professor Ronald Ross is published by Liverpool University Press.


First issue of Town Planning Review, courtesy of The University of Liverpool Library

William Hesketh Lever, Lord Leverhulme, donates money won from the Daily Mail in a libel case to the University of Liverpool to support the development of the nascent discipline of Town Planning. As a result, Liverpool University Press launches the world’s first planning journal, Town Planning Review


During the years before 1914 the Press published a score of learned books and twice that number of pamphlets. It also launched some important periodicals, including the Biochemical Journal (1906, later official journal of the Biochemical Society); Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology (1907, now with Taylor & Francis); and Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology (1908).

Benjamin Moore, Secretary of the Press, noted: ‘A University Press becomes an essential rather than a luxury to any progressive University where research is being actively prosecuted and knowledge advanced in any domain of the arts or sciences. Such labours must not only be performed but fitly recorded. A University without a Press tends to become a silent University or one with no articulate voice of its own.’

Image of marketing flyer from Benjamin Moore, from The University of Liverpool Library