Here is Sir Allen Lane at London zoo with a (real) penguin.
Allen Lane Williams was born in Bristol. In 1919 he joined the publishing company Bodley Head as an apprentice to his uncle and founder of the company John Lane. In the process, he and the rest of his family changed their surname to Lane to retain the childless John Lane's company as a family firm. He was knighted in 1952.
He rose quickly at Bodley Head becoming managing editor in 1925 following the death of his uncle. Lane, together with his brothers Richard and John, founded Penguin Books in 1935 as part of the Bodley Head.
Penguin Books became a separate company the following year. The legend goes that on a train journey back from visiting Agatha Christie in 1934, Lane found himself on an Exeter station platform with nothing available worth reading. He conceived of paperback editions of literature of proven quality which would be cheap enough to be sold from a vending machine; the first was set up outside Henderson's in Charing Cross Road and dubbed the "Penguincubator". Lane was also well aware of the Hamburg publisher Albatross Books and adopted many of its innovations.
Most booksellers and authors were against the idea of paperbacks. They believed that paperbacks would result in individuals spending less money on books. Lane was a person that was very stubborn when it came to his company. He operated mainly on intuition and imagination. He was quoted as saying, "I have never been able to understand why cheap books should not also be well designed, for good design is no more expensive than bad."
Edward Young designed the horizontal bands and used Gill Sans Bold for the title's lettering. He was also sent to the Zoo in Regents Park to sketch penguins for the cover. Allen Lane wanted a cover design that was consistent and easily recognizable. In 1937 the font was changed to Times New Roman. His Pelican Books were non-fiction books. Penguins were meant to entertain while Pelicans were meant to enlighten. In the 1950s his company had grown so much that it had major outposts in both Australia and the United States. Lane's management style put him and the individuals in charge in his United States office at odds. These individuals eventually left Penguin books and started their own publishing companies: Bantam Books and New American Library.The plaque marking the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Penguin Books by Allen Lane at 8 Vigo Street.
It reads: "Here, fifty years ago, Allen Lane published his first paperbacks, thereby changing reading habits throughout the English-speaking world. 30 July 1985".
I have noticed that in countries such as Italy and Spain, which didn't have pocket books, people don't read so much. I do hope that e-books will get more people to read in those countries.
By the way, Allen Lane's daughter Clare married the above mentioned author Sir Michael Morpugo.
The stamp is beautiful. It features an old stage coach used for carrying mail. The writing reads: The old postal routes.
Luckily we didn't get stopped by the police (we are not allowed to leave the village). Our neighbour a few houses down was not so lucky. He got fined 300 euros for going to the supermarket in town. He had a good reason to go into town and thought he'd pop into the supermarket as he was there. No, no. Not allowed! The police spotted the shopping in the car and fined him.
The world is becoming so complicated. I had to go to the post office this morning and then pay a particular bill at the bank. I had a half hour wait in the queue to get into the post office (only one person allowed in there at a time), and then another half hour in the queue outside the bank. (the same: only one person at a time inside).I should not moan really. Lets move onto something nicer: I'd like to show you my succulent, that is flowering again. It lives on the landing on the stairs, and loves it there.