When Emily’s maternal grandfather, Richard M’Arthur entered partnership with Robert Hodges, the establishment was five decades in existence. It was then Gilbert and Hodges.
In its first incarnation the business, the bookshop opened for business in 1768, on Skinner’s Row. The original proprietor was John Milliken. It appears that the shop remained in his family for at least one more generation. Over the years the shop changed locations, and merged with other bookshops owners forming partnerships.
One time partner was William Gilbert who founded a bookshop on South Great George’s Street in 1776. In 1802 he teamed up with Robert Hodges, and opened a store on Dame Street. In 1817, Gilbert retired, he was well over 80 years.
It was then that Hodges teamed up with Emily’s grandfather Richard M’Arthur. The shop relocated the short distance to 21 College Green, adjacent to Trinity College. The duo did a good trade with the college, selling academic books to students of medicine, science and law. But students were not the only customers. Many private collectors did business with the shop, too. One such person was Lord Bellew, of Mountbellew, County Galway. Richard M’Arthur sources books for the Lord from London and Paris. Their relationship ending when the lord died in 1827.
It was the same year, 1827 that Richard M’Arthur left the partnership, returning to Co. Down with his family, he returned briefly to Rathmines in Dublin, in the hopes that his failing health might improve, but that was not meant to be. He died in 1829.
The gap he left was was filled by Smith. The Hodges and Smith partnership, presumably later generations, lasted until 1877, when it became Hodges, Foster and Figgis, in 1884, Foster left and the shop, which was by then on Grafton Street became as it is known today – Hodges and Figgis.
Based on Irish Times article of 19 December 1961 for An Irishman’s Diary (Quidnunc)
Irish Times 19 December 1961
A Dictionary of Members of the Dublin Book Trade 1550-1800; Mary Pollard, Guild of St. Luke the Evangelist (Dublin, Ireland), Bibliographical Society (Great Britain)
Hodges and McArthur (booksellers), and Christopher Dillon Bellew. Receipts Etc From Hodges and McArthur, Booksellers of Dublin to Christopher Dillon Bellew.
Illustrated London News 19 November 1900