George Hawkes Whitcombe arrived in New Plymouth in 1870. Being French, George made a career of teaching the language – but there are no clues of what brought him down to Christchurch. He became a bookseller and publisher. In 1883, he joined with George Tombs, a printer and book binder who already had a shop set up in Cashel Street.
Whitcombe and Tombs became an instant success. A printery with a retail shop, the two of them printed stationery and leaflets as well as produced their own diaries, textbooks and children’s stories. The pair worked well together. By 1917, Whitcombe and Tombs were the largest educational publishers in the southern hemisphere.
Sadly in 1971, a merger with Dunedin’s “Coulls, Somerville and Wilkie” eventually ended the era of the printeries and book-making for the company. Now known as Whitcoulls, it would now only serve the public as a retail chain, selling other brands and no longer their own.
For a more in depth look at Whitcoulls, please check out the following link: http://www.peelingbackhistory.co.nz/whitcoulls-130-years/
* Image courtesy of Seven Roads – http://www.sevenroads.org/**