Roach, John (DNB00)

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ROACH, JOHN (fl. 1796), bookseller and compiler, kept a shop in Drury Lane, where he sold odd volumes and indelicate prints, and whence he issued various compilations, theatrical and other, which are both curious and scarce. The chief of these are: 1. ‘Roach's Beauties of the Poets of Great Britain,’ in 6 vols., London, 1794, 12mo. In 1795 Roach was sent to prison for twelve months, and bound over for a similar term, for publishing an immoral work; but the only book known to have been issued by him in that year is 2. ‘Beautiful Extracts of Prosaic Writers, carefully selected, for the Young and Rising Generation, by J. R.,’ 3 vols., London, 1795, 12mo. 3. ‘Roach's London Pocket Pilot, or Strangers' Guide through the Metropolis,’ giving a detailed account of Ranelagh and Vauxhall, London, 1796, 8vo. 4. ‘Roach's New and Complete History of the Stage, from its origin to its present state,’ London, 1796, 8vo. This catchpenny compilation is his best-known publication. 5. ‘Roach's Authentic Memoirs of the Green Room, containing Lives of all the Performers at the Theatres Royal, Drury Lane, Covent Garden, and Haymarket, with Poetic Criticisms to each and Characters of the Patentees,’ London, 1796, 12mo. The lives are quite untrustworthy, but the conception of the work was successful enough to attract imitations of similar ‘authenticity’ in 1799, 1800, 1803, and 1804.

[Lowe's Bibliography of Theatrical Literature; Timperley's Encycl. of Printing, p. 752; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

T. S.