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Popular magazines from 100 years ago on display in the Berkeley Library foyer

‘The Strand Magazine’, ‘Pearson’s Magazine’, and ‘The Windsor Magazine’, September 1912.

"O mistress mine, where are you roaming" by Edwin Abbey, used to accompany an article on "Music in Picture" by Austin Chester.
“O mistress mine, where are you roaming” by Edwin Abbey, used to accompany an article on “Music in Picture” by Austin Chester.
The Windsor Magazine, September 1912

From around 1880 until 1950, general-interest family magazines proliferated in Britain. These took inspiration from popular American titles such as ‘Harper’s’ and included a high proportion of popular fiction. Printed on high quality paper, the magazines were copiously illustrated, with ‘The Strand Magazine’ aiming at a picture on every page. Circulation figures and distribution are unfortunately difficult to establish with accuracy, but the sheer number of titles tells its own story. Mike Ashley, in his history of the medium, ‘The age of storytellers, (London, 2006) lists 144.

"November Joe, the detective of the woods" by H. Hesketh Prichard. "The mystery of the black fox skin."
‘The mystery of the black fox skin.’
“November Joe, the detective of the woods” by H. Hesketh Prichard.
Pearson’s Magazine, September 1912.

Of these magazines, ‘The Strand Magazine’ is the most famous, made so by its serialisation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. Following the runaway success of ‘The Strand’, magazines such as ‘Pearson’s Magazine’, ‘The Windsor Magazine’, and ‘The Pall Mall Magazine’ entered the market, each attempting to carve out its own niche. In general the magazines tended to include a mixture of popular fiction, non-fiction feature articles, poetry and humour.

To give a flavour of what was popular 100 years ago, we currently have issues of ‘The Strand Magazine,Pearson’s Magazine, andThe Windsor Magazinefrom September 1912 on display in the foyer of the Berkeley Library. The article from ‘The Strand Magazine’ is particularly fabulous, so we’ve reproduced it here in full. To read the text you will need to click into the gallery, and then click the ‘View full size’ link at the bottom right of the page.