Edmund Ward (Publishers) Ltd. was a pulishing house based in Leicester that was the original publisher of the Railway Series, from 1945 to 1968. It merged with another publisher, Nicholas Kaye, to form Kaye & Ward.


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Edmund Ward Ltd. was established by Franklyn Edmund Ward, who had decided to set up a publishing company in order to provide some book printing for Raithby Lawrence & Co., otherwise known as the De Montfort Press, where he had worked since 1920 as a sales representative and latterly as a director. The company was based on 16 New Street, opposite Leicester Cathedral.

During the Second World War, there was a dearth of children's books and Ward, with a view to redressing this state of affairs, placed an advertisement in The Times in 1941, asking for manuscripts from new children's authors. The first publication, in 1943, was a book with colour illustrations entitled Rhymes for Young Nature-Lovers, and thirteen other titles were added to the list before Edith Gregorson submitted the manuscript for three railway stories, written by Wilbert Awdry. Like most publisher's of children's book of the time, Ward bought the copyright of its titles for an outright fee, rather than pay an advance and royalties, and bought the copyright of Awdry's stories for £25.

Initially intended to be published as separate books, Ward opted to publish them as one, and asked Wilbert to write a fourth story to round the book off, which was submitted in November 1943. Ward, however, refused to commit to a publication date for the book, as wartime shortages made it difficult to acquire paper. Printing finally began in February 1945 and the book was published on May 12th 1945, with an initial print run of 22,500 that had cost Edmund Ward £1569 to produce. The book was a massive success and two additional print runs of 17,000 and 16,000 were issued within a few months. In July, Wilbert submitted the manuscript for a second book, which was accepted for publication two months later.

In 1952, Franklyn Edmund Ward retired from active managent of his eponymous publishing house and sold it to the London printers, Straker Brothers Ltd., who had also taken over another small publisher, Nicholas Kaye. The two companies were merged into Kaye & Ward, though they retained the imprint "Edmund Ward" to publish some titles, including the Railway Series. In 1955, the company and many of its employees moved to Bishopsgate in London, while Ward himself remained in Leicester as a director of the firm in an advisory and consultive capacity until his death in 1957.

The "Edmund Ward" imprint was dropped in 1968 and subsequent releases and reprints were published under Kaye & Ward.

Books Published


  • Edmund Ward's logo was of Aquarius, the water carrier, and its slogan was "The sign of a good book".
  • The "Edmund Ward" imprint was last used in 1968, appearing on the spine of that year's Duck and the Diesel Engine reprints, though Kaye & Ward are named as the publishers in the book itself.