Bear Hudson Publishing – The Bear Facts (5)

Some of the other things?

On 8 June 1956, Abraham Assael (“known as Albert Assael”) was granted a Certificate of Naturalisation according to the London Gazette, 17 August 1956. His origin was given as Turkey. His occupation was given as Company Director (Printers, Publishers and Stationers), probably a standard category rather than a full and accurate description.

This led into my other question. What was Bear Hudson doing after its Forties publishing wound down?

If your interest is only in the pulp fiction, the following may not appeal. Please flick down past the reading-bear logo, and resume when it reappears.

Bear Hudson after publishing

One clue as to the firm’s further activities appears in, of all places, the Chemist and Druggist, 11 July 1953:

“REPRESENTATIVE required by established house to carry an attractive and original line. Non-competitive with present lines carried. Liberal commission. Apply: Bear Hudson, Ltd., 63 Goldhawk Road, Shepherds Bush, W.12.”

I wonder what that “attractive and original line” could have been. Perhaps something like the “Key-lite” device advertised in Motor Sport for December 1964?

(web image)

Technical Suppliers Ltd.? At the same address? Oh, yes. See a brief mention in the Jewish Chronicle for 24 June, 1966:

“… our Managing Director, Mr. B. Babani, Technical Suppliers Ltd., Hudson House, 63 Goldhawk Road, London, W.12.”

Babani. Hudson House. Again. Technical Suppliers Ltd. had evidently moved from W.6 to W.12. along with Bear Hudson. Parts of the jigsaw puzzle are starting to fit together. I find another piece, a 1964 half-page advertisement in Practical Wireless for Bernards Books’ radio manuals. They are available by mail from Bear Hudson Ltd. of 63 Goldhawk Road.

So the close link to Bernard Babani continued for decades. In 1944 Technical Suppliers Limited was printing booklets for Bernards and for Bear Hudson. In 1953 it was printing the Hudson House Classics. In 1964 it was operating from the same building as Bear Hudson, as presumably it always had.

Technical Suppliers Ltd.

At 63 Goldhawk Road, Technical Suppliers Limited carried on the production and distribution of radio equipment and associated electrical/electronic items. Some of its products seem to have been of German manufacture and branded TSL. A guitarist with a family connection recalled:

“I got my Dad to build me an amp, which he did. My Father knew Jim Marshal when Marshall was in Hanwell and Dad had a shop called Technical Suppliers Limited in the Goldhawk Road, Shepherds Bush and used to do the odd repair and occasionally supply valves to Marshall in Hanwell.”

Same address, different companies!

(web image)

(web image)

Siamese twins?

Bear Hudson Limited and Technical Suppliers Limited seem to have had a strange symbiotic relationship to Bernards. For example, Bernards Radio Manual No. 186 (1963) mentions that TSL had specialised in supplying materials recommended by Bernards for the last ten years. That is, from about 1953, approximately when the last Bear Hudson venture as a book publisher ceased. But while Technical Suppliers continued their supplying, Bear Hudson continued too. As a mail-order shop.

Practical Wireless carried regular display ads for radio/electronics equipment and spares sold by Bear Hudson Ltd. at “The Constructor’s Paradise”. Some ads mention another store at 11 Jerdan Place, Fulham. So yes, even without publishing, Bear Hudson had a busy life after 1950.

(Bernards too stayed busy, of course. May I digress? Bernards invites digressions. From 1958 the General Editor of its technical publications was a young Clive Sinclair, who left in 1961 to start his own company and thereafter became a pivotal innovator in British computing. Note his name in the Bear Hudson advert above. B B Babani himself had been introducing British engineers to germanium diodes and suchlike long before the teenage Sinclair joined him, and may have been a considerable influence on British use of transistors. He was also an early importer of Continental four-track tape recorders. Both Clive Sinclair and Bernard Babani wrote many electronics titles themselves, but these are generally less valuable than some of the Bernards WWII booklets which can be offered at up to $500.00 each. In the early 1970s the booklets seemed to mutate between Bernards’ Radio Manuals, Tandy Publications and Babani Press, the latter two bearing new numbering systems, before everything settled down again as variants of Bernards. Until1972 Bernards – or rather the “B.A.B. Souvenir Company” – had a brief spell of issuing football stickers which have excited some interest … but that is a step too far from Bear Hudson. Possibly. You never quite know.)

Returning to the post-war period, I cannot help wondering if all this radio hardware has a connection with a small advertisement in Wireless World for March 1946:

“Radio factors and wholesalers, limited company, in Central London, with wide connections, for sale; £1,000, including fixtures and fittings and s.a.v, excellent opportunity, turnover £20,000 p.a. – Write Advertiser, c/o Sidney Gainsley , Harrison & Co., 1, Quality Court, Chancery Lane, W.C.2.”

But I had better relegate the Sidney Gainsley connection to an Appendix.

(Bernard Babani, 1959, in The Tape Recorder, Vol.1 No.4)

(Bernard Babani, 1959, in The Tape Recorder, Vol.1 No.4)

I mentioned that some Bernards’ WWII booklets are being offered at $500.00 each. Fortunately most are far cheaper, if you can find them.

(Bernards’ first fifty would make a lovely little collection. No. 49 was Shoe Repairing at Home, the archetypal WWII social-history item, while No. 50 was World Wide International Short Wave Radio Station List, which provides exactly what it says on the cover. And this is a good point at which to end the digression into Bernards at war.)

To return to Bear Hudson, slightly dazed, I can now summarise the basic situation after its publishing stopped:

During the Fifties and Sixties the twin companies of Bear Hudson Limited and Technical Suppliers Limited concentrated their activities on radio/audio equipment and sales at 63 Goldhawk Road, leaving the publishing to Bernards nearby at The Grampians, Western Gate.

That’s it. I think. (Not even an unique story; consider how the later paperback publishers Ace Stoneshire transformed themselves into “Book Peddlar Products”, offering mail-order reproduction miner’s lamps and the like, c. 1983. But it was certainly an interesting chase, following Bear Hudson through the years.)

Perhaps I could have omitted the above section and simply written:

“Bear Hudson Ltd became a mail-order service for Bernards Radio Manuals and for Bernards’ hardware arm Technical Suppliers Ltd.”

Shorter, but an over-simplification. These people were busy, able and inventive. There are still far too many gaps in their history. Better to let my research stay as given, and hope that someone else can give a fuller picture?

The end of Bear Hudson

In the Seventies, “Bear, Hudson Limited” was among the dissolved companies named in the Registrar of Companies’ List 3764 (London Gazette, 4 February 1975). Technical Suppliers Limited was dissolved in the same list. Bernard B. Babani died in the October of that year, and eventually Bernards was replaced by the successor publishing company of Bernard Banani Ltd., currently run by his son.

I believe that 63 Goldhawk Road is now a hair and beauty salon.

And that was the end of Bear Hudson Ltd. For most of its life the firm seems to have published little or nothing. Until 1950 though, Bear Hudson was a spirited player, not glamorous but not sleazy either, one of the quirkier and more likeable denizens of the “mushroom jungle” of low-cost Forties publishing. Such a pity that the old British Association of Paperback Collectors did not stay together long enough to pool its members’ talents and compile collaborative surveys of Bear Hudson and the others.

But we can still see the covers, the titles and the hopeful strap-lines. The Bear Hudson list is a window into a vanished world of make-do and mend … plus of course the murder mysteries, the dames and the vampires.

(web image)

(web image)


(Image courtesy of British Library – Duncan Heyes)

(Image courtesy of British Library – Duncan Heyes)

You notice that some blurbs were revised between lists.

The number may not always be a reliable indicator of publishing sequence. No. 521 Ballroom Dancing was “in preparation” in 1945, judging by some 1945 title-lists and its own March 1945 preface, but seems not to have been published until 1946. The general types of activity by year are indicated below, with dates taken from the printed books unless marked *.

1943*              503      I Speak to the Workers

1944                506      Nature’s Toys

1945                527      They Led Us to Victory

1945-46           Includes main run of thriller fiction (see lists above)

1946                540      Be Clever with Leather, Book 2

1946                Bear Pocket Books series

1946                Cub Books series

1947*              Starlight Comics

1948*              Magazines (see Appendix 3, below)

1948                546      How to Make Lampshades

1948                ‘How To’ of Sport No. 1 Boxing

1949                554      Gifts to Make

1950                555      How to Make Rugs

1954                Treasure Island (Hudson House)

A Bear Hudson reprint of Frank King’s lengthy novel The Terror of Staups House appears to have been dated 1947, but does not carry a sequence number. I list below the various titles which are definitely outside the main numbered sequence, and would be interested to hear of any others.

Cub Book titles – 1946

StraphangersNorah C James         (Bear Hudson)

I Never Left HomeBob Hope            (Bernards)

The Cub Books were not numbered.

Bear Pocket Book titles 

BP.1    Store of LadiesLouis Golding

BP.2    VulnerableDale Collins

BP.3    The Narrative of Arthur Gordon PymEdgar Allan Poe

BP.4    The Terror from TimorkalFestus Pragnell

BP.5    Precious PorcelainNeil Bell

BP.6    Night in the HotelEliot Crawshay-Williams

BP.7    The Death PackRay Sonin

BP.8    What’s in it for Walter, Frank Tilsley

BP.9    Murder with Pictures, George Harmon Coxe

The ‘How To’ of Sport

1          Boxing, Joe Bloom

(I have assumed rather arbitrarily that Boxing was not in the main numbered sequence while Be Clever With Leather Book 3, similarly un-numbered, was)

Hudson House Classics

Good WivesLousia M Alcott

KidnappedRobert Louis Stevenson

Tales from Hans Andersen (no other credit)

Treasure IslandRobert Louis Stevenson

The Water BabiesCharles Kingsley

The Hudson House Classics were not numbered.

Publisher listed as “Hudson House” or “Hudson House Classics”.


The writer is grateful to all those who have given permission for material to be reproduced:

Brian Ameringen

Friardale (Stewart)

Laurence Worms

Steve Holland

Morgan Wallace

The Science Fiction Encyclopedia (David Langford)

Tilley’s Vintage Magazines (Tony Tilley)

The British Library (Duncan Heyes)

And to Haverfordwest Public Library for inter-library loans and photocopies.

Apologies are offered if any copyright has been infringed by use of unattributed web images or brief quotations; such material can be removed or credit acknowledged upon appropriate request.)

References etc

A tailpiece: No. 538. Collectable!

(Image courtesy of Ash Rare Books)

(Image courtesy of Ash Rare Books)

I thank you for your interest.

[Appendices to follow]

8 thoughts on “Bear Hudson Publishing – The Bear Facts (5)

    1. David Redd

      Hello Paul – thought Coe’s was a W H Allen “Super Hurricane” pb, is that right? Never seen it. Thanks, David

  1. paul daniels

    Yes true but also published by bear hudson and in 1945. Same oblong rectangular shape as the bear pockets. Can provide a scan. mail me.

    1. David Redd

      Thanks Paul – just catching up on a few things. That double publication sounds very weird indeed. Did Bear Hudson repackage remainders that early? Would love to see scans/photocopies proving it! (To me at SA62 3NQ, will happily reimburse costs.)

  2. Alex Abrahams

    Albert Assael is my great-uncle. He was born in 1911 and was the eldest son of a Sephardi Jewish family from Salonika (present-day Thessaloniki in Greece, then the Ottoman Empire).
    My great-grandparents (Elie and Sol Assael) immigrated to London in 1914 due to the Balkan Wars, annexation of Salonika by Greece and general decline of the Ottoman Empire. They were Ottoman subjects and did not become naturalised Britons.
    Most of the Sephardi Jewish immigrant families from the Ottoman Empire settled in the Shepherd’s Bush/White City/Hammersmith areas (because of the Franco-British Exhibition in 1908) and they eventually founded Holland Park Synagogue in 1928.
    Albert married Judith Babani, from another Sephardi Jewish family. Her family arrived in London earlier from Istanbul. As you know, Judith’s brother Bernard founded Bear Hudson.
    My grandfather Harry (Henry) Assael was Albert’s younger brother. He was born in the UK in 1915 and co-founded Hamiliton & Co (later Panther Books) with his RAF friend, Joe Pacey.
    I hope this clears up some of the mystery around the connection between the families.

    1. Morgan Wallace

      Paul. Do you have an email address? Reply direct: morganwallace AT gmail DOT com
      Love to look over your collection. Had trouble working the website.


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