Ward, Lock & Co.’s Sevenpenny Net Novels

Ward, Lock & Co. Ltd. (London, UK)
Series dates: 1912-1917
Size: 4.25″ x 6.5″

Ebenezer Ward and George Lock started publishing as Ward & Lock in 1854. They are known for publishing the Red Guides as well as early Sherlock Holmes stories. The company was split up and sold in 1964.


Ward, Lock and Co.’s Sevenpenny Net Novels reprint series debuted in 1912 in the midst of an explosion of similar series from many publishers. The books are of moderate quality construction at best, with coarse paper and a bright dust jacket. The titles are a veritable smorgasbord of late 19th and early 20th century authors, many long forgotten. A few of the more interesting authors are E. Phillips Oppenheim, Edgar Wallace, and Conan Doyle. The series seems to have a focus on adventure and detective stories.

An advertisement from the Publisher’s Circular (1912) announces the series:


Max Pemberton’s White Walls is undated, but advertised as newly issued in an issue of The Windsor Magazine in 1916. This title is among the last titles issued in the series; advertisements for the series appear only through about 1917. White Walls is #109 in the series and the jacket (below) lists up to #111, Guy Boothby’s Farewell Nikola which was published in the series in 1917.

Jackets are colorful and the spines include eye-catching graphics to catch the eye of perusing consumers. The price (7d) is on the spine. The primary way these series were advertised was in terms of their cost, so the 7d. price is more or less the series name. That price is also included on the front of the jacket. A list of other series titles, with series numbers, begins on the front jacket flap. The series number for this title is also on the spine.


The list of series titles continues to the rear flap. An advertisement for Swan Pens (also advertised on Wayfarer’s Library jackets) fills the back of the jacket.


Bindings are of moderate quality, not as bad as some of the cheaper series. Red debossed plasticized material with gold type and decorations.


A half-title page:


One illustration, in this case, different from the one on the jacket, faces the title page. No dates are included on the title page. There is no copyright page and no dates appear in the book. The series name is also not to be found on the book cover or front matter.


A series catalog is included in the back of the book. The catalog lists all titles up to Pemberton’s (#109) – two more titles are listed on the jacket. This catalog with the two additional titles is most likely the entire run of the series.