Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Noorthouck, John

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NOORTHOUCK, JOHN (1746?–1816), author, born in London about 1746, was the son of Herman Noorthouck, a bookseller of some repute, who had a shop, the Cicero's Head, Great Piazza, Covent Garden, and whose stock was sold off in 1730 (Nichols, Lit. Anecdotes, iii. 619, 649). Early in life John Noorthouck was patronised by Owen Ruffhead and William Strahan the printer (ib. iii. 395). He gained his livelihood as an index-maker and corrector of the press. He was for almost fifty years a liveryman of the Company of Stationers, and spent nearly all his life in London, living in 1773 in Barnard's Inn, Holborn. His principal work was ‘A New History of London, including Westminster and Southwark,’ London, 1773, 4to, with copperplates. This book gives a history of London at all periods and a survey of the existing buildings. Noorthouck also published ‘An Historical and Classical Dictionary,’ 2 vols. London, 1776, 8vo, consisting of biographies of persons of all periods and countries. In 1814 Noorthouck was living at Oundle, Northamptonshire (ib. viii. 455), where he died about July 1816, aged about 70.

In a bookseller's catalogue, issued by John Russell Smith in London, April 1852, ‘the original autograph manuscript of the life of John Noorthouck, author of the “History of the Man after God's own Heart,” “History of London,” &c.,’ was offered for sale, and was there described as an unprinted autobiography containing many curious literary anecdotes of the eighteenth century (Notes and Queries, 1st ser. xii. 204). In the ‘Biographical Dictionary of Living Authors’ (1816, p. 253) is attributed to John Noorthouck ‘Constitutions of the Free and Accepted Masons,’ new edit. 1784, 4to.

[Gent. Mag. 1816, pt. ii. pp. 188–9; Nichols's Lit. Illustr. viii. 488–9; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

W. W.