Woman magazine, a ghost and an omelette

September 17, 2014
Woman magazine cover 1904

Woman magazine from 1904 with a cover design by Septimus Bennett, younger brother of Arnold Bennett, the Potteries novelist and the magazine’s former editor

This magazine cover from 1904 is from an earlier title to use the name Woman than today’s IPC / Time weekly (which only dates back to the Odhams launch of 1937).

The cover design for this ‘high class penny paper for ladies’ was by Septimus Bennett. A book, Artist in Arms, was published in 2001 and is based on the diaries of a Septimus Bennett when he was working at a Vickers shell factory in Sheffield during the First World War. At first glance, it would seem to be an unlikely link between this Septimus and the cover designer, but it looks like they were the same man – and he was the youngest brother of the Arnold Bennett – voted greatest West Midland writer in 2005.

While Arnold is best known for his ‘Five Towns’ novels, based on the six Potteries towns, he started out as a writer in magazines. He won a literary competition in Tit-Bits – the best-selling magazine of the day – in 1889 and five years later became assistant editor of the Woman. This probably explains how brother Septimus got the job drawing the magazine’s cover. Arnold began writing fiction serials, which resulted in A Man from the North in 1898 and he became Woman’s editor in that year. He stepped down in 1900 to write full-time, including The Grand Babylon Hotel (1902), serious criticism and theatre journalism. He wrote a column in London’s Evening Standard in the late 1920s.

Nigel Slater has a recipe for Omelette ‘Arnold Bennett’, a standard dish at the Savoy in The Strand. His advice: ‘Stick with the classic interpretation unless you want the wrath of Arnold Bennett’s ghost upon you.’ Delia Smith also has a version and reckons that Bennett wrote the whole of his novel Imperial Palace (1930) while staying at the Savoy.

Septimus was an artist and designer and ran a studio in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, where he produced designs for ceramics. His cover incorporates advertising for P&P Campbell, the Perth Dye Works, which was a prominent advertiser in magazines and on hoardings. The typeset copy includes quotes from two other magazines: ‘Oldest and best dyers, Myra’s Journal’; and ‘Excellent dyers, The Lady’; the latter is still published from office in London’s Covent Garden.

Woman was printed by Unwin Brothers at 27 Pilgrim St in London for the publishers Beeton & Co. The company had been founded by Samuel Beeton and produced several famous and groundbreaking titles, including the Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine, Boy’s Own, Myra’s Journal and Queen. The first off these spun off the famous Mrs Beeton’s Cookbook, which was compiled from her work on the magazine. Note the cover credit: edited by Mrs C.S. Peel (the original Avenger?). Dame Deborah Primrose replied to readers’s queries. About a dozen contributors are named, all but one a woman. Several fashion illustrations are credited to Rene Robinson.

The editorial offices were at 10-11 Fetter Lane, a thoroughfare that is an essential stop on any Fleet Street tour, having been the base for many publishing enterprises, such as Railway Magazine (no 30 in 1901), the Daily Mail (no 110 in 1920-61), DC Thomson’s Red Letter for the Family Circle (no 12 in 1950) and Jocelyn Steven’s Swinging Sixties version of Queen (no 52). It is also the site of a statue of John Wilkes, a radical journalist and rebellious politician in the late 1700s.

Woman describes itself as ‘A journal of information, entertainment and practical counsel for womankind the wide world over’ on its frontispiece page and closed in 1907, a run of 19 years.

 

A jazz approach to the crossword puzzle

August 27, 2014

 

Experimental jazz crossword: Jazz word square from 1937 in Rhythm magazine (June)

Experimental jazz crossword puzzle: Jazz word square from 1937 in Rhythm magazine (June)

 

The crossword puzzle was still pretty new in 1937, when this one appeared in Rhythm magazine’s June issue and, as here, experimentation was rife. The first modern-day crossword was reckoned to have been published on 21 December 1913 in the New York World. It was composed by Arthur Wynne, an immigrant from Liverpool who had played such games as a boy.

The most popular word game at the time in Britain was probably John Bull‘s ‘Bullets’. These prize cryptic competitions predated crosswords – and the magazine claimed to have paid out £620,000 prize money for its first 1000 puzzles. John Bull was selling 1m copies a week from 1914 to 1955.

The Sunday Express was the first British newspaper to publish a crossword, in 1924. The Daily Telegraph followed in 1925: ‘The initial plan was for these new-fangled puzzles to be published for just six weeks in deference to a passing American craze.’ But the idea stuck and in March 1928 the paper started publishing a prize crossword on a Saturday and in 1937 a daily quick crossword. In 1941, W.A.J. Gavin, owner of Vanity Fair, issued a challenge on the letters page to do the crossword in 12 minutes. (Daily Telegraph: 80 Years of Cryptic Crosswords by Val Gilbert.) The paper also published an article last year celebrating 100 years since the first US crossword by Arthur Wynne.

So there was lots of experimentation going on, and the idea of popular cryptic word puzzles in Britain, such as ‘Bullets’ in John Bull, was added to the simple word-definition clue concept to develop the cryptic crossword, an idea that has yet to take off in the US, where jumbo crosswords are much more popular. The Economist publishes a Christmas crossword for its US readers, complete with instructions.

Other famous crosswords include The Listener‘s, which appeared in the BBC’s weekly radio review in 1930. Both The Times and Country Life took up the idea in the same year. The Listener‘s crossword was adopted by The Times when the magazine closed in 1991. A tradition also developed of cryptic names for the compilers, so Alec Robins was ‘Zander’ in the Listener (1949-92) and ‘Custos’ for the Guardian, but used his real name in Intercity magazine.

In the 1950s, such was the level of competition for readers between and among newspapers and magazines that Tit-Bits was devoting four pages at the back of each issue to football pools, betting advice – and the solutions to the prize crosswords in Sunday newspapers and weekly rivals such as John Bull and Reveille.

 

Blighty for the troops in the Great War

August 22, 2014
'Water Babies' Christmas 1919 issue of Blighty magazine

‘Water Babies’ Christmas 1919 issue of Blighty, a free magazine for Britain’s armed forces

This cover for the Christmas 1919 issue of Blighty magazine looks to have been inspired by Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies, which was already regarded as a classic – and had been published in two editions since the start of the First World War. Like so many books, Kingsley’s was first published as a serial in Macmillan’s Magazine (1862-63).

Among the illustrators for the various editions of the book were Noel Paton (first book edition of 1863), Linley Sambourne (1885), Warwick Goble (1909), W. Heath Robinson (1915) and Jessie Willcox Smith (1916), all of whom were established magazine illustrators. The artwork on the cover here was not credited.

Blighty magazine was an inspired idea and was produced solely for Britain’s fighting forces under the control of the Committee of Blighty from 40 Fleet Street. It was ‘a budget of humour from home’ sent free to the forces with a publishing strategy loosely based on the popular humorous titles of the day such as Punch and London Opinion. Many of their contributors drew or wrote for issues, but the magazine also encouraged contributions from men fighting at the front.

It was funded by advertising along with a special enlarged issue with a colour cover produced for sale at a shilling each Christmas and summer. The 1916 Christmas issue stated: ‘Every copy sold sends three to the trenches.’ This Xmas Home Number came out after the war had ended, of course, and makes no mention of free copies for the troops, because it had been turned into a commercial operation. Though still published from the same Fleet St address, it was now run by The Blighty Publishing and printing had been switched from Walbrook & Co in Whitefriars to George Berridge & Co in Upper Thames St.

A half page at the back of the magazine encourages people to buy a magazine that was ‘favourite reading’ for the armed services. The copy reads:

‘The paper is now on sale to the public. It is full of pictures and stories by the best humorous artists and writers, amongst whom are many men who sent their first contributions from the mud of Flanders, the sands of Mesopotamia, or the stormy waters of the North Sea … It was sent to you in the trenches. Now you can buy it at the shops and bookstalls. All Old Service Readers should be Civilian Readers now.’

Among the illustrators were Punch artist Ricardo Brook, Glossop, Dyke White, US ‘Gibson Girl’ artist C. Dana Gibson, Horace Gaffron (who had fought with the Gordon Highlanders and drew Good Housekeeping covers in the 1930s) and Arthur Ferrier (one of the most popular cartoonists of the 1940s and 50s).

Yet the strategy did not work, and the title closed within a year. However, Blighty was resurrected for the Second World War, again with official support as a free weekly for the troops. When hostilities ended, it was again turned into a men’s humorous weekly, this time successfully. It was rebranded as Parade in 1960 but collapsed as both advertising and readership were lost from all the weeklies to television and Sunday supplements, and became a top-shelf title.

 

AA Milne, Alfred Leete and St Bride’s Berlud mystery

August 18, 2014
Alfred Leete's blood-stained staircase at St Bride's Printing Library

Berlud! Alfred Leete and the curious case of the blood-stained staircase at St Bride’s Printing Library. Is it a joke based on an early play by Winnie the Pooh author AA Milne?

St Bride’s Printing Library has done a blog item – The curious case of the blood-stained staircase – about this Alfred Leete artwork they’ve discovered. They write:

‘… a blood-stained staircase in front of a dark green door with eyes peering through the letter box. Elsewhere in the image, a policeman stares in shock, or perhaps horror at the staircase. Adding confusion to possible interpretations is the paint can sitting at the bottom right corner of the door, which begs the question as to whether it is really blood at all. The word Berlud! is printed at the top of the frame’

There’s another curious detail – the copper’s bloodless, claw-like hands. Such a contrast against the ruddy face. They look like the hands of the vampire in Nosferatu, the 1922 German horror film. The word Berlud dates to June 1922 – it was in the title of an early play by AA Milne, Berlud, Unlimited. Also in April that year, the first murder mystery by the man who would go on to write Winnie the Pooh had been published, The Red House Mystery. It’s certainly possible the two men knew each other – in 1906 Milne was made assistant editor on Punch, which published Leete’s cartoons (though his Kitchener ‘Your Country Needs You’ poster was first published as a 1914 cover for a Punch rival, London Opinion). They were the same age and both served in the first world war.

I suspect this wasn’t a poster but the artwork for a whole page illustration of the sort Leete did for The Tatler. It could well have been a cartoon for the theatre pages of the society weekly. The Red House Mystery sold well and Milne was certainly making a name for himself with the literary public.

The letterbox and its peering eyes brought to mind the advertising flyer below from 1902. This letterpress flyer for the weekly Pictorial Magazine used spot colour to promote its latest serial, ‘The House with the Scarlet Knocker’, and carried an excerpt from the tale on the back. Could this 1902 image have sparked Alfred Leete’s imagination?

A letterpress flyer for the latest serial in Pictorial Magazine - could this 1902 image have sparked Alfred Leete's imagination?

A letterpress flyer for the latest serial in Pictorial Magazine – could this 1902 image have sparked Alfred Leete’s imagination?

 

 

 

 

Ravages of War in Kaiser Wilhelm’s face

July 15, 2014

Germany’s leader, Kaiser Wilhelm - The Ravager

Germany’s leader, Kaiser Wilhelm, with his moustache and military uniform, at the start of World War I. He is described as ‘The Ravager’

This postcard depicts Germany’s leader, Kaiser Wilhelm, with his flamboyant moustache and military uniform, at the start of World War I. He is described as ‘The Ravager’ and there appearss to be a tear falling from the right eye. It is when the card is turned upside down that ‘The Ravages of War’ he was responsible for are made clear.

The postcard turned upside down reveals the 'Ravages of War'

The postcard turned upside down reveals the ‘Ravages of War’ with the moustache becoming an imperial eagle

His nose and moustache become an eagle with a crown above its head – the German imperial symbol – atop a marble column. The falling tear has become a lion – a symbol for Britain – which is trying to climb the column to reach the eagle. And the lower eyelashes now spell out the names of the first Belgian cities that fell to the Germans – Liège and Namur.

The eyelashes spell out  Liège and Namur

The eyelashes spell out the names of the first Belgian cities that fell to the Germans – Liège and Namur

Both cities had been ringed with forts by 1892 and the Battle for Liège was the first engagement of the war. It began on 5 August 1914 and lasted until 16 August when the last fort surrendered. The attack on Belgium drew the British into the war. German troops then turned their attention to the forts around Namur on 20 August, bombarding them with heavy artillery, including the massive Big Bertha (a 420mm siege howitzer). Belgian forces withdrew and the city was evacuated and left to the attackers on 23 August. Magazines at the time such Punch referred to the Belgiums as steadfast in standing up to the Germans but ultimately being flattened by its might – ‘plucky little Belgium‘.

So the card was probably produced in the autumn of 1914. Like Alfred Leete’s famous Your Country Needs You cover from London Opinion, it was a visceral reaction to the war.

Turning back to the card, the detail on the Kaiser’s tunic portrays Belgian troops in front of a church facing cannon fire. One side of the collar depicts a German soldier bayoneting a mother in front of her child. The other side shows a line of troops firing on a fleeing family. The chinstrap depicts three lions.

The helmet shows two French armies with a smaller British force. The helmet’s ‘dome’ turns into howitzers firing at a dove that is falling from the sky, with an explosion to one side and a burning house on the other.

Deatail of moustache as imperial eagle

The nose and moustache become a German imperial eagle on a column, which a British lion is trying to climb. Part of the helmet shows British and French troops

The card was issued as part of the ‘Dainty’ series (possibly from Britain’s first mass-producer of postcards, E.T.W. Dennis) and has an unclear signature at the bottom right: possibly Victor Edmunds Pickup.

Postcard was issued as part of the ‘Dainty’ series (probably from Britain’s first mass-producer of postcards, E.T.W. Dennis) and has an unclear signature at the bottom right: possibly Victor Edmunds Pickup

Postcard was issued as part of the ‘Dainty’ series (possibly from Britain’s first big postcard printer, E.T.W. Dennis) and has a signature at the bottom right: possibly Victor Edmunds Pickup

Most British magazines and postcards did not show out-and-out brutality, instead hinting at illegal actions with slogans such as ‘Remember Belgium’ but French magazines certainly did.

Back of the Kaiser Ravages of War postcard with the 'Dainty series' label

Back of the Kaiser Ravages of War postcard with the ‘Dainty’ series label on the left

Japanese airmen fly Kamikaze into Britain

June 29, 2014
Photograph from the June 1937 issue of Popular Flying showing the two airmen at Croydon airfield at the end of their flight from Japan

Popular Flying magazine (June 1937 issue) showing the two Japanese airmen at Croydon aerodrome at the end of their record-breaking flight from Japan

 

 

 

 

 

Britain and Japan were allies during the first world war. British shipyards had built most of Tokyo’s fleet at the turn of the century, and they were still allies in the 1930s. So, the arrival of two Japanese airmen at Croydon airfield at the end of a record-breaking 10,000 mile goodwill flight from Japan to celebrate the May coronation of King George VI was a cause for celebration in 1937. Popular Flying magazine – edited by ‘Biggles’ author WE Johns – set the tone in its June issue:

‘The end of a great flight. Masaki Jinuma and Kenji Tsukagoshi, the Japanese airmen, arriving at Croydon in their delightfully named aircraft ‘Divine Wind,’ after flying the 10,000 miles from Tokio in 94 hours’

‘Divine Wind’ does indeed sound charming – until you see the Japanese for the name on the side of the aircraft – Kamikaze.

The word was originally used in Japanese folk lore with reference to the supposed divine wind that blew on a night in August 1281, destroying the navy of the invading Mongols.

In 1937, China and Japan were again at war – and that conflict would merge into the second world war after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941. in October 1944, fanatical kamikaze suicide pilots began deliberately crashing their aircraft into allied ships in the Pacific. In all, 47 Allied vessels  were sunk by kamikaze attacks, and about 300 damaged for the loss of 3,000 kamikaze pilots. About one in six planes hit a target.

A Japanese website has a painting of the aircraft, a Mitsubishi Ki-15 Karigane, which served as a reconnaissance plane and light bomber. Parts of the text read:

The exploit led to international fame for the aircraft and was accomplished between 6th and 9th April 1937. The flight was timed to mark the coronation celebrations on 12 May. The plane was the type’s second prototype, which was given the civil designation of J-BAAI for the occasion and named Kamikaze With Masaaki Iinuma as pilot and Kenji Tsugakoshi as navigator, the aircraft flew from Tachikawa to London in 94 hours, 17 minutes and 56 seconds, covering 15,353 km in a net flying time of 51 hours 17 minits and 23 seconds, at an average speed of 160.8 km/h. The flight was sponsored by the daily paper Asahi-Shinbun.

Popular Flying magazine was published on the 22nd of each month by C. Arthur Pearson from its offices in Covent Garden, Tower House in Southampton St, just off The Strand in London. It cost 6d an issue. Pearson’s magazines were owned by Newnes, which later merged into IPC. The printer was Williams, Lea & Co at Clifton House in Worship Street. Other articles described aerodrome holidays, flying over Britain and air holidays abroad. The cover is by Howard Leigh, who illustrated many of the Biggles books.

Popular Flying magazine cover June 1937

Popular Flying magazine cover June 1937

 

 

 

 

 

Oz and Dennis tycoon Felix Dennis dies

June 23, 2014

Felix Dennis, 1960s Oz editor and the man who made Maxim the world’s best-selling men’s magazine died on Sunday. The world will be a less colourful place.

Charlie Bibby's portrait for the FT of Felix Dennis withour his trousers

Charlie Bibby’s portrait for the FT of Felix Dennis without his trousers

Read the obituaries at the Guardian and Financial Times. The Guardian shows Dennis in his ‘throne’ but the FT’s Charlie Bibby picture is much more fun because Dennis has no trousers on.

Also see Lunch with the FT from 2008 and 20 questions for Dennis. The point of being rich? ‘It gives me the time to write poetry, plant trees and commission sculptures.’

Goalen – the super model face of the 1950s

June 13, 2014
super model - mannequin - Barbara Goalen

Sunday Times Magazine celebrates the style of 1952, as personified by super model Barbara Goalen (30 January 1977)

Model – or rather ‘mannequin’ in the teminology of the day – Barbara Goalen was chosen by the Sunday Times Magazine as the personification of the style of 1952.

The issue marked changes in ‘Britain at Work’ over the 25 years since Queen Elizabeth’s coming to the throne in 1952 in an article titled ‘The New Elizabethans’ (30 January 1977).

In that year, Goalen had been part of a 40,000-mile world tour over four weeks to promote British fashions and exports.

Goalen was born on the first day of 1921 and died in 2002. She was renowned for her wasp waist and her aloof looks.  Her measurements were 33 inches (for her ‘charlies’ in her own words), 18-in waist and 31-in hips; she tipped the scales at under eight stones.

Goalen’s modelling face was marked by arched eyebrows and she was the ideal mannequin for Dior’s New Look – ‘mink and diamonds’.

Despite her international success, she would be the leading super model in today’s terms, Goalen gave up modelling in 1954 when she married Nigel Campbell, a Lloyd’s underwriter. In the 1960s, she gave out fashion advice in the pages of the Daily Telegraph.

The National Portrait Gallery has four  photographs of Goalen ranging from 1949 to 1952, by Norman Parkinson (one with Wenda Parkinson, Parks’ wife since 1947) and John French. A fourth image from Keystone Press shows Goalen next to a portrait of herself by James Proudfoot.

Barbara Goalen on the cover of the general interest weekly Illustrated in 1953

Barbara Goalen on the cover of the general interest weekly Illustrated (29 August 1953)

The cover of Illustrated here shows an image from the shoot chosen by the Sunday Times Magazine. (There is a certain irony here in that the advent of free Sunday supplements sparked by the Sunday Times, was a big factor in killing off the general interest weeklies such as Illustrated.) Illustrated headlines Goalen as modelling the ‘London Look’. Inside, two photographers are credited, Peter Waugh and David Olins. (Some websites have identified the photographer as Richard Avedon, but this seems unlikely.)

Illustrated rival Picture Post also featured Goalen cover on its cover in 1952, in this case with a photo by John French.

 

Kitchener – this is not a poster!

May 29, 2014
Daily Mail's Event magazine with its Ralph Steadman article

Daily Mail’s Event magazine with its Ralph Steadman article that mistakenly identifies a poster as the original London Opinion cover

Whatever the faults of the Daily Mail, it exhibits a sense of history in the logo it carries on its ‘answers to readers questions’ page. The logo is based on the original title for the magazine that founded the Daily Mail dynasty back in 1888: Answers to Correspondents on Every Subject under the Sun, founded by Alfred Harmsworth.

Logo from the present-day Daily Mail - based on a magazine title from the 1880s

Logo from the present-day Daily Mail – based on a magazine title from the 1880s

As Answers, this became a massive success, building on the pioneering George Newnes’s Tit-Bits, for which Harmsworth had worked, to help establish British magazines as the first truly mass media. Answers claimed to answer questions sent in by readers directly by post, and those of general interest were published. Answers was a such a success that it was the foundation of a magazine and newspaper empire, the likes of which the world had never seen. Alfred and his brother Harold went on to found both the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror, then buy up both the Sunday Observer and the Times and become lords Northcliffe and Rothermere. Alongside the newspapers, the Harmsworth’s Amalgamated Press (later Fleetway) became the largest periodical publishing empire in the world. Viscount Rothermere rules the roost at today’s descendant, the Daily Mail & General Trust.

London Opinion 1914

The original magazine cover – this is NOT a poster!

So it’s no surprise that the paper is running a series to mark World War One, including an 80-page souvenir issue of its listings section, Event. Pride of place in the May 4 edition was a feature by the brilliant Ralph Steadman, whose father fought in that war and was injured three times. Steadman interprets Alfred Leete’s famous Kitchener image and the article make reference  to its original appearance as a London Opinion cover – but then shows one of the early London Opinion posters in the centre of the spread rather than the magazine cover!

The error adds to half a century of no less an august body than the Imperial War Museum (which was given the artwork by Leete) getting it wrong; Picture Post using the artwork in 1940 and again referring to it only a poster; and biographers such as  Philip Magnus adding to the confusion. Even the British Library captions the cover as a poster in an article by the historian Professor David Welch. To cap it all, the Royal Mint makes no reference to Leete even as it copies his artwork for a commemorative coin!

The full story of Alfred Leete’s cover illustration for London Opinion is told in the book, The Amazing Kitchener Poster.

At last, a history of magazines

May 28, 2014
grub_street_book_cover

The jacket of ‘Grub Street’ shows George Newnes’ ‘Strand’, with its long-lived George Haité cover design, on an iPad

There has long been a gap when it comes to books about magazines in that there has been no substantial history of the industry. That is not to say there are no books that include elements of that history, but the academics Howard Cox and Simon Mowatt are the first authors to take on the complete story, at least for consumer magazines, with Revolutions from Grub Street.

The book takes as its starting point the days of Grub Street – once a real street in London’s Moorfields that by 1630 had given its name to an area where hack writers lived. Grub Street was ‘much inhabited by writers of small histories, dictionaries, and temporary poems’, according to Samuel Johnson in his Dictionary of 1775, and is today Milton Street.

Dr Johnson and his fellow hacks aspired to move closer to the publishers that employed them, in the centre of the printing and publishing industry around St Paul’s Cathedral. By 1882, Fleet Street had taken over as a shorthand for the ‘whole spirit of the English Press’. Johnson himself moved to Gough Square at the north end of Wine Office Court, an alley that runs from Fleet Street up the side of Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub (rebuilt in 1667, having been burnt down the year before in the Great Fire of London).

Fleet Street came to embody the publishing industry because it led to where printing had been established. Wynkyn de Worde had moved Caxton’s printing press to set up a print shop in Shoe Lane after the latter’s death in about 1500. The site is marked by a plaque at the livery hall of the Worshipful Company of Stationers (itself rebuilt after the Great Fire) on Ave Maria Lane, near St Paul’s.

Cox and Mowatt have written a densly-referenced but brisk summary of almost 400 years of magazine-making, of clear interest to academics and researchers in business and strategy. Both authors specialise in business history and Cox wrote The Global Cigarette for OUP. They collaborated on a  paper, ‘Networks, Relational Assets and the Internationalisation of Consumer Magazine Publishing‘, the theme of which contributes to this book. They describe how magazine publishing companies developed from the Grub St era by exploiting developments, first in letterpress printing on exemplars such as the Family Herald, and then powered machinery, to meet the demand for popular reading matter from an expanding, and more literate, population.

Penny weeklies and sixpenny monthlies leapt at the opportunity provided by illustrations, famously by Punch and Illustrated London News with their upmarket fare for the middle classes. In 1881, came the publishing sensation of George Newnes’ Tit-Bits, which used innovative journalistic and marketing techniques to help establish strategies for the million-selling popular weekly. Alongside Arthur Pearson and Alfred Harmsworth, these magazine publishers evolved into the massive press baronies of the 20th century that made Fleet Street famous across the world. Grub Street concludes by charting events since the mid-20th century three-way merger that created the giant IPC, and the factors through to the present day that saw it lose its near-monopoly position – but it and its rivals run into the challenge of today’s digital competition.

The book bases its story on events in company structures and the development of the unions, as well as technology. It is weaker on the influence of specific titles and individuals; for example, Stefan Lorant (Pictorial Weekly, Lilliput and Picture Post) is barely mentioned (and his name is mis-spelt). Also, it has a limited scope, focusing on mainstream consumer publishers and rarely touching on trade magazines, newspaper supplements and contract magazines.

However, Grub Street will  at last enable course leaders on magazine journalism and publishing courses to address a gaping hole in their syllabuses.

Revolutions from Grub Street: A history of magazine publishing in Britain by Howard Cox and Simon Mowatt, Oxford University Press, 288 pages, £35

 

 

 


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