In 1865 William Yeates, the manager of the Company’s Dublin’s branch introduced Vere Foster to the firm. Vere Foster was a wealthy Anglo-Irish philanthropist with an interest in public education.
Marcus Ward and Company, Belfast, became the printer for these highly popular works, although Foster continued to control the publishing of them. Their popularity led to a total of over four million of them being produced.
So successful was this activity that in the 1870’s the firm built new premises in Dublin Road, Belfast, partly on the strength of it. The relationship between Vere Foster and the Company broke down in a series of acrimonious disputes and eventual litigation. Foster eventually withdrew his lucrative business from the Company. This loss was certainly a factor in the final closure of the Company.
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