Posts Tagged ‘penny weekly’

Racy pin-ups – Edwardian style

September 19, 2015
Racy centre spread pin-up in Photo-Bits in 1902 (October 18)

Racy centre spread pin-up in Photo-Bits in 1902 (October 18)

Photo-Bits was a racy men’s penny weekly dating from the late Victorian era. This is its centre spread from 18 October 1902.

The upper picture is captioned:

Sweets on a shelf… which any well-endowed viscount (K of K not excepted) can enjoy with the assistance of a wedding-ring and a brief but dignified ceremony at St George’s, Hanover Square.

Quite why K of K – Lord Kitchener of Khartoum – is referred to is unclear. The woman is not identified.

The lower image has the caption:

On Blackpool’s sandy beach. A delightful memory of a week at the delightful Lancashire watering-place.

The cover of Photo Bits, October 18, 1902. Note the masthead in the form of letters on pinned-up cards

The cover of Photo Bits, October 18, 1902. Note the masthead in the form of letters on pinned-up cards

Photographs were still a novelty in magazines, so the romantic kiss of the canoodling couple on the cover was just the start of 32 pages of pictures. The caption reads:

LOVE’S ANXIETY
SHE: Kiss me again.
HE: My dear, I’ve just kissed you seventeen times in seventeen seconds.
SHE: (reproachfully) – Harold, you love another!

The pinned-up cards of the title also set out the features of the magazine: ‘Up to date. Bright. Sketchy. Smart. Witty. Pictorial. Pithy. Original. Spicy.’ That mantra predates that of men’s monthly FHM ‘funny, sexy, useful’ – by 75 years.

Inside, the masthead announced copyright in Great Britain and Ireland.  It also noted the magazine was ‘entered at Stationers’ Hall‘. The Stationers, one of the City of London’s worshipful companies, had enforced copyright for hundreds of years with powers comparable with the Inland Revenue today.

To see almost 500 magazine covers and pages, look out for my book, A History of British Magazine Design, from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design