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History of the Press

An image showing a portrait of King Henry VIII
The Cambridge story began in 1534 when Henry VIII granted us letters patent, allowing the Press to print 'all manner of books'.

Cambridge published its first book in 1584 making it the oldest publishing house in the world. Over the next four centuries the Press's reputation spread throughout Europe, based on excellence in scholarly publishing of academic texts, poetry, school books, prayer books and Bibles. Along the way Cambridge published ground-breaking works such as Newton's Principia Mathematica, Milton's Lycidas, Ernest Rutherford's Radio-activity, and Noam Chomsky's Language and Mind.

In the 20th century Cambridge extended that influence to become a global publisher. Today Cambridge has over 50 offices across the globe, employs over 2,000 people, publishes over 50,000 titles by authors from over 100 countries, and is still growing, bringing thousands of subjects and millions of ideas to the world.

Watch our short film about the Press Museum, based at our offices in Cambridge.

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