R L Allan Celebrates 150 Years of Bible Publishing

November 11th, 2013 | By Ian and Dominique Metcalfe | Category: Bibles Direct Latest

R  L Allan & Son Publishers will move to London to begin a new chapter at the end of November

In 1863 Robert Allan established his publishing company in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, and 150 years later R L Allan & Son Publishers remains true to the vsion of its founder, publishing perhaps the world’s finest leather Bibles and distributing them around the world to our many thousands of committed customers.

In 1922 John  Gray of Pickering & Inglis Ltd, another well-established Glasgow Christian publishing enterprise, licensed the rights to two hymnbooks from R L Allan & Son, which was the start of the Gray family’s relationship with Allan’s; almost 50 years later his son, Andrew Gray, took over the company itself.

Nicholas Gray, who, along with his wife Wendy, has owned Allan’s for nearly 25 years, began his career with William Collins in Glasgow before moving to work with his father at P & I in the late 1970s, remaining with the company through the ups and downs of the 1980s before returning to Glasgow to run the P & I shop in Bothwell Street, and then buying Allan’s from its corporate owners to return it to its Glasgow roots.

Over the past 10 years in particular, Allan’s has gone from strength to strength as the spread of the internet has enabled more and more customers to find our Bibles – wherever they are in the world. Now, with an ever-broadening range of translations on offer it is time to pass on the mantle to a new generation.

In a career with surprising parallels to Nicholas’s own, Andrew Gray’s grandson – and Nicholas’s nephew – Ian Metcalfe also started out at what had become HarperCollins, in London, and which now included the Pickering & Inglis business, so that he spent much of his time working on many of the titles originally commissioned by his grandfather and uncle. Ian quickly became the in-house Bible expert, working first on the production side and then as editor on the Bibles list which includes the King James Bible, New Revised Standard Version and Good News Bible. Then as Editorial Director, Ian oversaw the launch of the English Standard Version in the UK, securing its establishment as one of the leading evangelical translations. Ian now works as Publishing Director at Hodder Faith, the UK publisher of the best-selling New Internatuional Version.

Ian and his wife, Dominique, met while studying at Cambridge University and married in 1996. They live in southwest London with their three children, and are actively involved in their local church. Dominique worked for a cancer charity and then in a small business with her father.

Together, Ian and Dominique have the perfect combination of skills to take R L Allan into the future. In December this year we will be moving the business to London and Ian and Dominique will be taking over the day-to-day running. Nicholas will remain closely involved to ensure a smooth transition and that our commitment to offer the best Bibles and hymnbooks for Allan’s loyal customers, and develop new, high quality editions in the years ahead is undiminished.

Nicholas Gray

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