Debrett's Peerage celebrated a bicentenary year in 2002, it being two hundred years since John Debrett first put his name to the Correct Peerage of England, Scotland and Ireland. Debrett was of French Huguenot extraction. He was born in London in 1753, and was christened at St James's, Piccadilly. In 1766 he was apprenticed to Robert Davis, a bookseller, for a premium of [pound]10, and he remained in that family's employment until 1780, when he moved to John Almon, bookseller and stationer, whose premises were opposite Burlington House, Piccadilly. John Almon edited and published his first edition of The New Peerage in 1769, and went on to produce at least three further editions. By 1790 he had passed the editorship on to John Debrett, who confidently put his name to the work in 1802. It consisted of two small pocket volumes. Despite twice being declared bankrupt, Debrett continued as a bookseller in Piccadilly until he retired in 1814. He was found dead in his armchair at his lodgings at 11 Upper Gloucester Street, Regent's Park, on 15 November 1822, and was buried at St James's, Piccadilly.
Now in its 144th edition, and currently published every three years, Debrett provides a definitive genealogical guide to the titled families of the United Kingdom. Since the publication of the last edition in 2000, the deaths of 73 hereditary peers have been recorded (of which 5 titles have become dormant or extinct), and the deaths of 56 life peers. The biographies of 91 new life peers have been included in the new edition. One hereditary peerage has come out of abeyance (Barony of Herbert), and one has gone into abeyance (Barony of Howard de Walden). Of the Baronetage, 80 deaths have been recorded (not including peers who also hold baronetcies), and of these titles 6 have become dormant or extinct. This edition also includes over 30 new arms drawings.
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