Pears' Cyclopaedia

Pears' Cyclopaedia is a one-volume encyclopaedia published in the United Kingdom. Pears' Soap launched the original Pears' Shilling Cyclopaedia in December 1897.

Each edition has traditionally featured an atlas, a gazetteer, a chronological list of events, a list of prominent people (past and present), a miniature encyclopaedia of general information and around a dozen or more other sections on various subjects such as cinema, classical mythology, current events, wine, astronomy, ideas and beliefs, gardening, medicine, etc. The selection of subjects has varied slightly over the years, and recently the atlas section has been dropped.

Since 1953 it has been published annually. As of January 2017 the most recent edition (2016-2017) is the 125th, published on 4 August 2016.[1] It was for many years published by Pelham Books but is currently published by Penguin Books.[2] It has been edited by Dr. Chris Cook since 1977.[3]

The 2017-2018 edition which was released on 31 August 2017 is subtitled "THE FINAL EDITION"[4] The publisher has confirmed it will be the last: "In the age of the internet, Pears' has continued to be a uniquely British almanac, reaching readers across generations. It is with great sadness that we stop publishing it as Dr Cook retires but we celebrate his dedication and generosity over the past four decades."[5]

Sam Leith writing in The Times Literary Supplement on the other hand hints at the irony of a death notice in resource of this once bastion of the English bourgeoisie: "Now, rendered quite redundant in that respect by resource (among many, many other things), Pears' is more a curiosity than a serious reference resource." [6]

" Statistics from Nielsen BookScan have also revealed volume sales of the work have sharply declined in recent years: the 2001/02 edition sold 24,229 copies whereas the 2016/17 edition sold only 2,854 copies"

During the 1950s, the encyclopaedia awarded the Silver Pears' Trophy annually to a prominent person for "outstanding British achievement in any field."


  1. ^ "Pears' Cyclopaedia 2016-2017 by Chris Cook". Penguin Books. Archived from the original on 2017-01-30. Retrieved . 
  2. ^ "Pears Cyclopaedia". Penguin Books. Archived from the original on 11 December 2015. Retrieved 2015. 
  3. ^ "Chris Cook". Penguin Books. Archived from the original on 2016-01-13. Retrieved . 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Pears' Cyclopaedia to cease publication after 125 years | The Bookseller". Retrieved . 
  6. ^

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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