Peeps into the Past: A Detailed 1919 History of Bloods and Journals

Compiled by Bill Blackbeard and Justin Gilbert (2001)


Boys of England image courtesy E. M. Sanchez-Saavedra

Introduction by Bill Blackbeard


When the old London Journal expired, its title was purchased by the publisher of Spare Moments, F. A. Wickhart, in June of 1918. A long devotee of sensational fiction, Wickhart revived TLJ as a supplement to the weekly SM, starting on October 27, 1918. As the leading feature in this new LJ, Wickhart asked a major collector and scholar of bloods and penny journals named Frank Jay to write a chatty, informal (but detailed and accurate) history of this field, based on Jay’s own very extensive collection and the BM files, to be published over as many issues of TLJ as it might take. Starting with an in depth account of the LJ and its authors, editors, and illustrators through the two initial installments, then thence to The Penny Storyteller, the various half-penny journals, and so on, to Reynolds Miscellany, where he dwells at length on Reynolds himself and then lists the fiction contents of the full run of the magazine. Next, Jay tackled the old boys journals in a virtually exhaustive look at the field, citing contents at length, and profiling major authors and publishers, all in three jammed microprint columns per page through several weeks, finally turning to bloods for the reminder of this initial part of the history on April 5, 1919 and going on in great depth though innumerable titles with discursive data on authors, publishers, and artists at almost every point, wrapping the account up in the LJ for May 17, 1919. Apparently both the publisher and a vocally effective number of readers were delighted with Jay’s effort, for in July, 1920, Jay returned with a further series of “Peeps Into The Past,” based on further research over the intervening year, which ran in the LJ/SM supplement through 12/15/20, just as richly detailed on bloods and boys journals as the foregoing history had been. With its exhaustive lists of story paper contents and blood publishers’ titles, there is adequate material here, coupled with the lists of Montague Summers and A. E. Waite, to serve as the basis for a really fine index of the field.

Peeps into the Past; being a History of Old-time Periodicals, Journals and Books.



First Series.




George Stiff.

John Frederick Smith.

Pierce Egan the Younger.

Percy Bolingbroke St. John.

Emma Dorothy Elize Nevitte Southworth.

Bayle St. John.



An Interesting Personality.

The Miscellany.

Chats with Correspondents.

More about Reynolds.













The Versatile Smith.

Some Noted Names.








THE FARTHING JOURNAL.  (Edward Elliott, pub.)

THE FARTHING JOURNAL.  (B. D. Cousins, pub.)







The Million — The Girl of the Period Miscellany — The Young Englishwoman — The London Saturday Journal — The Halfpenny London Journal — London Bells — The Illustrated People’s Paper — The London Penny Journal — The Young Ladies of Great Britain.
































































The Boys’ Leader — The British Boys’ Paper — Boys’ Stories of Adventure and Daring — The Boys’ Weekly Novelette — The Boys’ Story Teller — Boys of the Empire — The Boys’ Monster Weekly — The Big Budget — The Garfield Boys’ Journal — Boys — The Boys’ Leader — The Boys of Albion — The Boys of Britain — The Boys of England.




A Day in the Country.  A Visit to Mr. Edwin J. Brett at St. Peter’s, Broadstairs.  From “Sala’s Journal.”














Second Series.








Mr. W. Boucher.


SOME FAMOUS BOYS’ WRITERS.  By William Hellier.  Richard Quittenton — J. A. Maitland — Charles Anderson Reade.










OLD BOYS’ JOURNALS.  From the “Times Literary Supplement.”























The Girls’ Quarterly — Friendly Work — The Girls’ Own Messenger — The Young Woman — The Girls’ Empire.









YOUNG FOLKS.  (Addenda).



THE OLD “BOYS’ BOOKS.”  By A. G. Cheverton

Third Series.



October 26, 1918.


The prevailing fashion of taking “peeps into the past,” recounting old scenes and memories of old places, shops, eating and coffee-houses, theatres and plays, operas, musical comedies and, not least, thrilling dramas, together with “personal recollections” of people famous in art, literature, journalism, operatic, theatrical, and music hall history, including the under-world of Bohemian life, began with Mr. G. R. Sims’s splendid series of chapters, entitled, “My Life:—Sixty Years’ Recollections of Bohemian London,” and which were followed by his “Glances Back.”

Mr. H. G. Hibberts also wrote some interesting articles on “Theatre Memories.”  The interest with which the above articles was followed has induced me to take up in a similar manner a subject that has hitherto been forgotten, or neglected, but which, in its way, is to my mind (and to a great number of people) of equally absorbing interest, namely, that of the “Old Periodicals” and “Journals,” which were so popular, and which flourished in the forties, fifties, sixties and seventies.  Possessing a tolerably good collection of these periodicals, and having made a thorough research, extending over several years in our national library, I hope to be able to place on record facts, figures and fancies for a future generation, and to recall to my mind many happy and pleasant memories of the past, which, I feel sure, will assist in some sort of way to counteract the present-day feelings of depression and uncertainty, occasioned by the turmoil of the great world war.

Even “Dagonet” of the “Referee” admits this need for diversion.  A little while ago he wrote:  “What to read in war time is a great question, I mean in the way of fiction.  I don’t want the actualities of today; one gets a surfeit of realism on the newspapers.  Therefore, I am finding a certain amount of relief from the stress in taking up the books or my youth again.  I am reading James Grant’s “Romance of War,” and Mayne Reid’s “White Chief,” and Fennimore Cooper’s “Last of the Mohicans.”

There are no doubt very many people who can recall the old-fashioned periodicals, and especially amongst the readers of SPARE MOMENTS, so that a review of them cannot help but interest and entertain them as “milestones of the past,” and may bring back pleasant memories of younger days.  Some of these old periodicals were “household words,” and were far more eagerly sought after and read than much of the present-day “literature.”  As evidence of this fact I have been particularly struck by the manner in which many of these old periodicals and journals which I have in my possession, and also which have passed through my hands, have been bound up and preserved, their condition to-day being as clean and perfect as when first published, clearly showing the love and care of their owners.

I have seen some of them in the very best and superior bindings, equal, in fact, to the Family Bibles, and, in comparison to this, I ask, “How many of the present-day periodicals and journals do you find being “bound up,” and preserved in like manner?”  I am afraid there are very few that will survive ten years, let alone the fifty and more years that some of the older ones represent.

It is, perhaps, only right that I should begin my series of articles dealing with old periodicals with that well-known, extremely popular, and highly esteemed old-time publication—

The London Journal.

To commemorate this auspicious occasion, the proprietor of SPARE MOMENTS, who also owns the copyright on the title, has agreed to devote four pages each week to what may prove to be a new and prolonged life for THE LONDON JOURNAL.  I am quite sure that old boys—and old girls too, for that matter—will be grateful to Mr. Wickhart for reviving this companion of our youthful days.

Now there is an impression that the LONDON JOURNAL was the first of its kind of periodical to be launched, but my researches have negatived this belief, because, as a matter of fact, the equally well known and highly respected “Family Herald” (of which I hope to write later on), was published by Mr. George Biggs, at 421, Strand, on May 13, 1843.  The first periodical to carry part of our title was the “London Saturday Journal,” which was first published on January 5, 1839, and ran to four volumes, ending December 26, 1840.  This was followed by the new series of four volumes from Jan. 2, 1841, to August 27, 1842.  Another similar publication bearing the title of “Grant’s London Journal,” was commenced on January 4 and completed on December 26, 1840, from which it will be seen there were two papers of practically the same title running at the same time.  Then there was a fourth paper of a similar title, called “Mayhew’s London Journal,” but details of this I have not been able to obtain.  Should I do so, I will give them later in the form of an addenda.  “Mayhew’s London Journal” was bought by Mr. George Stiff, and doubtless led to the inception of THE LONDON JOURNAL.  The periodicals I have mentioned were not illustrated, so the idea of publishing a weekly periodical with illustrations apparently originated with Mr. Stiff, who was the founder, editor and publisher of THE LONDON JOURNAL, which I propose to deal with exhaustively.

The first number of the LONDON JOURNAL appeared on March 1, 1845, its full title being “The London Journal and Weekly Record of Literature, Science and Art,” and was published by George Vickers, 28, Holywell Street, Strand, London.  It consisted of sixteen quarto pages, and its price was one penny, which never varied down to the date of its suspension.

The contents of the first volume comprised short articles and sketches dealing with the following:  “The Arts,” “Biography,” “Diagrams,” “Essays,” “Etiquette for the Millions,” “General,” “Good Humour,” “History of the Consulate and the Empire of France under Napoleon” by M. A. Thiers, “The Mysteries of the Inquisition,” “Narratives,” “Poetry,” “The Newspaper and Periodical Press of London,” “Portraits,” “Reviews,” “Science,” “Short Tales,” “Useful Recipes,” “Voyages,” “Travels” and “Topographical Descriptions,” and was embellished with two or three wood-cut illustrations to each number.

The first proprietor was, as I have said, Mr. George Stiff, but in order to make it more popular and pushing, he engaged as editor Mr. G. W. M. Reynolds, who at the period was becoming somewhat famous through the publication of his celebrated work, “The Mysteries of London,” the first volume of which appeared in1845 (but of this publication I intend to write separately), and which had taken the reading public by storm.  Mr. Reynolds wrote the first serial for the LONDON JOURNAL, its title being “Faust” (a romance founded upon the popular German legend that a certain Doctor Faustus sold himself to Satan on certain conditions).  This began in No. 32, vol. 2, October 4, 1845, and ended in No. 73, vol. 3, July 18, 1846.  It was afterwards published in weekly penny numbers, and had an immense sale.

The next serial was “Monte Christo,” by Alexander Dumas, which began in No. 61, vol. 3, April 25, 1845, and ended in vol. 4.  This was followed by a very popular story entitled “Martin the Foundling,” by Eugéne Sue, in No. 75, vol. 3, August 11, 1845, which also ended in vol. 4.  This romance became one of Roscoe’s Library Editions, and was published by Henry Lea, Warwick Lane, London, in penny weekly numbers dating 1845-46.  It was also one of the serials that appeared in vol. 1 of the “London Pioneer,” 1846.  Together with “Monte Christo,” it formed the “backbone” of the LONDON JOURNAL whilst it ran in its pages.  Both serials were well illustrated—in fact, the whole contents of the LONDON JOURNAL had become superior by this time.  But after these serials had run their course the general “get-up” was modified, and there was a great deal of miscellaneous reading to fill up the pages.

Towards the end of 1846 Mr. G. W. M. Reynolds had a disagreement with Mr. Stiff, and resigned the editorship of the LONDON JOURNAL.  Shortly afterwards he produced his own Miscellany, which publication I hope to deal with in a separate article, and Mr. John Wilson Ross (a son of the Attorney-General of Demerara), author of the “Lover of Paris,” 1846, contributor to the old “Monthly Magazine” and “Bentley’s Miscellany,” became the editor of the LONDON JOURNAL at the age of twenty-seven.  He introduced new features, one being a series of descriptive articles on romance entitled “The Seven Cardinal Sins,” by Eugéne Sue, which began in No. 144, vol. 6, November 27, 1847.  There were also two celebrated romances by Thomas Miller, namely “Gideon Giles, the Roper,” in No. 180, vol. 7, August 5, 1848, and “Godfrey Malvern,” in No. 210, vol. 8, March 3, 1849.  These stories marked the introduction into popular journalism of pictures by a forefront artist, the two tales being illustrated by some of the best works of John Gilbert, who afterwards became Sir John Gilbert, R.A.

At this stage I cannot do better than recount some of the words used by the late Mr. Henry Vizetelly in his work, “Glances Back Through Seventy Years,” published in 1893.

Writing of the LONDON JOURNAL he says of Mr. George Stiff:  “The ‘Family Herald’ had at that time secured a very large circulation, and Stiff puzzled his brains how he could best cut into this.  He had not a penny piece of capital, and was, moreover, without credit.  Still he had a specious tongue, and determined this would procure him all he wanted.  He prevailed on Mr. John Gilbert to make him a few drawings, which he induced various engravers to engrave, for he was fully conscious of his own incompetence.  Finally he talked over a large firm of wholesale stationers to open a month’s account with him.  On such a frail superstructure as this the LONDON JOURNAL, which some dozen years afterwards he succeeded on selling for over £24,000, was raised.

“I remember being told by one of the firm who supplied Stiff with paper that they first began to press their customer for £30 odd, but that his account with them gradually increased until it amounted to £13,000 before any attempt was made to reduce it.  It was part of a regular system in those days for impecunious publishers and proprietors of struggling periodicals to get sufficiently into wealthy stationer’s debt to compel him to find both cash and paper in the hope of saving the amount they already owed from being irrevocably lost.  When by pleading and cajolery Stiff had succeeded in getting a few hundred pounds into his stationer’s debt he knew the game was in his hands, and before long, on the score of affecting certain necessary economies, he prevailed upon them to advance him large sums, first for the purchase of printing machines and next to enable him to build a printing office of his own.  Eventually Stiff worked up the weekly circulation of the LONDON JOURNAL to several hundred thousand “copies,” for he allowed nothing to turn him aside from his own set purpose—the increasing of the sale of the publication.  This was done, not by means of prize competitions and insurance offers, after the favourable practice of the present day (1893), but by providing his readers with lengthy and exciting stories, telling how rich and poor babies were wickedly changed in their perambulators by conniving nursemaids, how long-lost wills miraculously turned up in the nick of time, and penniless beauty and virtue were led to the hymenal altar by the wealthy scion of a noble house after they had gained the fair one’s affection under some humble disguise.”

In the early part of the year 1849 Mr. Stiff had dispensed with his editor, Mr. John Wilson Ross, and secured the services of Mr. John Frederick Smith, who had in a measure failed as a three-volume novelist, with a story entitled, “The Jesuit,” published in 1832.  Mr. Stiff persuaded Mr. J. F. Smith to try his hand as a writer of sensational romances, with the result that the celebrated historical story, “Stanfield Hall,” began in No. 221, vol. 9, May 19, 1849, and ended in No. 299, vol. 12, November 16, 1850.  This was followed by “Amy Lawrence, the Freemason’s Daughter,” on No. 309, vol. 12, January 25, 1851, ending in No. 345, No. 14, October 3, 1851, and “Minnigrey,” in No. 346, vol. 14, October 11, 1851, ending in No. 397, vol. 16, October 2, 1852.  This romance raised the circulation of the LONDON JOURNAL to 500,000 copies—an unheard of number in the days of cheap publications, when they were heavily handicapped with a paper duty which positively doubled the price of the material they were printed upon.

To quote Mr. Henry Vizetelly again—“So cleverly did J. F. Smith pile on excitement towards the end of the stories which he wrote for Mr. Stiff, that the latter told me his weekly circulation used to increase by as many as 50,000 when the denouement approached.  He surmised that the factory girls in the North, the great patrons of the LONDON JOURNAL, were in the habit of lending it to one another, and that when their curiosity as to how the story would end was at its greatest height, the borrowers being unable to wait for the LONDON JOURNAL to be lent to them, expended their pennies on buying a copy outright.”

“The Will and the Way,” by J. F. Smith, appeared in No. 398, vol. 16, October 9, 1852, and ended in No. 445, vol. 18, September 3, 1853.  (This romance was afterwards dramatised by the author).  “Woman and Her Master,” another of J. F. Smith’s most popular works, appeared in No. 445, and ended in No. 498, vol. 20, September 9, 1854.  “Temptation” began in No. 498, vol. 20, September 9, 1854, and ended in No. 522, vol. 20, February 24, 1855.

“Masks and Faces,” attributed to J. F. Smith, but which he denied (in a subsequent announcement in No. 106, vol. 3, “Cassell’s Illustrated Family Paper,” January 5, 1856), was wound up after the first twelve numbers, and in this connection I cannot to better than once more to quote Mr. Henry Vizetelly.  He says:—

“John Cassell enticed J. F. Smith away from the LONDON JOURNAL, on to some publication of his own (‘Cassell’s Illustrated Family Paper’), and the pair kept the affair a profound secret.  Smith, who always wrote his weekly instalment of ‘copy’ at the LONDON JOURNAL office, chanced to be in the middle of a story for Stiff at the moment he had chosen for abandoning him.  In this dilemma he had decided upon bringing the tale to a sudden close and to accomplish this artistically he blew up all the principal characters on board a Mississippi steamboat, and handed the “copy” to a boy in waiting.  Thus, proud of having solved a troublesome difficulty, he descended the stairs, drew his payment for the instalment, and directed his steps to La Belle Sauvage Yard, to take service under his new employers.

“When Stiff saw the number after it was printed off, and recognized how completely he had been tricked, he was thunderstruck:  but he speedily secured a new novelist, Pierce Egan, the younger, I believe, who ingeniously brought about a resurrection of such of the characters as it was advisable to resuscitate, and continued the marvellous story in the LONDON JOURNAL for several months after.


November 2, 1918.

The LONDON JOURNAL reached its high water mark during the fifties, brought about through Mr. Stiff’s business acumen and in his securing the services of so much talent.  Amongst his other writers were Harrison Ainsworth, Thomas Miller, Captain Mayne Reid, Pierce Egan the younger, Percy B. St. John and his brother Bayle St. John, Charles Reade, and Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth, whilst among his illustrators he had John Gilbert, Halswell, Louis Howard, Hablot Knight Brow (Phiz), John Proctor and Julian Portch.

I wish however to correct Mr. Vizetelly’s statement as to Pierce Egan completing J. F. Smith’s romance “Masks and Faces.”  It was not Mr. Egan but a lady, by the name Emma Robinson, the author of “Whitefriars; or, the Days of Charles the Second” (published in three vols. 1844), and “Whitehall; or, the Days of Charles the First” (also in 3 vols. 1845), and one or two other historical romances.  She also wrote “Cæsar Borgia,” a serial tale in “Ainsworth’s Magazine,” in 1845, but for a long time her identity was not known.  It is related by one authority that her father was a bookseller in Oxford Street, who used to frequent “The White Hart Tavern,” where several old Bohemian journalists and writers foregathered.  On the strength of more instalments of “Whitefriars” being forthcoming, he received praise for his work, and many a free drink.  This went on for some time, it is stated in Vol. 2, “Reminiscences of an Old Bohemian,” published in 1882.

The copy of “Whitefriars” in the British Museum is “dedicated to Joseph Robinson as a mark of gratitude and affectionate respect by his friend and pupil—The Author,” meaning her father, a rather singular proceeding.

Mr. S. M. Ellis, in his fine work, “W. H. Ainsworth and his Friends,” published 1911, says in vol. 2, “Colburn (publisher of Whitefriars) is in a rage, I am told, at my letting the world know that the author of ‘Cæsar Borgia’ (which appeared serially in “Ainsworth’s Magazine,” 1845), is a naughty young lady, who ought to be shut up for her improprieties; she was also the author of ‘Whitefriars.’”

Her real name was kept a secret until 1868.  She afterwards re-published “Masks and Faces” under the title of “The City Banker; or, Love and Money,” and contributed the first instalment of a serial under the title of “The Star in the Dark,” in No. 578, vol. 23, The LONDON JOURNAL, March 22, 1856.  This story, for some reason or other, was discontinued after Chapter 12 had been printed.  In 1862 she was awarded a pension on the Civil List of £75 per annum.

She was born in 1814, and would, therefore, be about 31 years of age when she wrote “Whitefriars,” and 44 when she took up and completed “Masks and Faces.”  She died in a lunatic asylum on December 18, 1890.

According to a writer in “Notes and Queries,” in 1913, Mr. Stiff at the period in question was making £10,000 a year, and gave Halswell £800 for one of his pictures.  On October 8, 1851, Mr. Stiff sold the copyright of THE LONDON JOURNAL to Mr. Herbert Ingram for £24,000, and the “Journal” entered upon a new era of life.  Mr. Ingram appointed Mark Lemon as its editor, and Mr. Devonport as its sub-editor, Mark Lemon remaining until 1859 when he joined “Punch.”

It is curious to relate, but it is a fact that the circulation and popularity of THE LONDON JOURNAL decreased considerably whilst Mark Lemon was in the editorial chair; so much was this the case that Mr. Ingram re-sold the paper to Mr. Stiff, who in turn sold it to Mr. W. S. Johnson, printer, of St. Martin’s Lane.

As I have related, John Gilbert began his connection with THE LONDON JOURNAL in 1846, and it lasted—with the exception of a few months interval first in 1850 and again in 1859—till the spring of 1863, when he abruptly, in the middle of a long serial story, announced his decision to retire finally from the practice of woodcut illustration.  Mr. Stiff, in an editorial in 1848 claimed to be the “discoverer” of John Gilbert, bracketing him with Thomas Bolton the engraver, as having owed his success chiefly to THE LONDON JOURNAL, but in1846 Gilbert was already well known, and although that paper’s wide circulation may have brought his name before the public, it was undoubtedly his genius and striking illustrations which helped to raise the JOURNAL to its unrivalled position as an illustrated paper.  The stories from the fertile pen of John Frederick Smith, Pierce Egan, Percy B. St. John, Mrs. Southworth and others, materially assisted.  When John Gilbert left the paper, the proprietors were so fearful that his secession would cause a serious falling off in the sale, that they requested new artists to, at least for a while, imitate the style of Gilbert’s drawings.

There is no doubt that Gilbert really felt a sentimental loyalty to Mr. Stiff, for it is certain that but for the final change of proprietorship, he would have stayed with the journal for a few years longer.  After 1863 he very seldom returned to wood drawing.

The volumes containing Gilbert’s illustrations are now eagerly sought after by collectors, especially the earlier ones; although few of them bear his initials or signature, his masterful work “stands out” in strong evidence, as is shown by the two or three I am reproducing, and which are printed from the original wood blocks now in the possession of Mr. F. A. Wickhart, who was fortunate in rescuing them from the holocaust to which the majority were consigned a few years back.

Some years ago Sir John Gilbert presented a set of the illustrations from THE LONDON JOURNAL, drawn by himself, to the Guildhall Library, London.  These have been placed in chronological order and nicely laid down and bound in two handsome folio volumes, and so will be handed down to posterity.  The British Museum also possesses proofs from the woodcuts to four novels published in THE LONDON JOURNAL from 1852 to 1854.  Some of the woodcuts bear the initials “J.G.” with the J running through the G, but this is no guarantee that the work was by John Gilbert.  There was another artist by the name of J. Geldes who was also an engraver, who now and then added his initials “J.G.” to the blocks, so that a mistake in the names can easily be made.  In order to prevent his pitfall being created I am preparing a list of the stories, numbers, volumes, and dates in which Gilbert’s drawings appeared, and this will be some guidance to those who are interested.  Some notes about the famous artist may be appropriately included here.

Sir John Gilbert was born at Blackheath on July 21, 1811, the son of Felix Gilbert, land and estate agent, of Blackheath Lane.  John was a clerk in the office of Messrs. Dickson and Bell, estate agents, Charlotte Row, Walbrook, from 1833 to 1835.  Besides drawing for THE LONDON JOURNAL he illustrated the first story in “The Leisure Hour,” namely, “The Accommodation Bill” (1852), and was a regular contributor to the “Illustrated London News,” from its commencement.  Some of his drawings about the time of the Crimea were real works of art.  He began to exhibit his paintings in the Royal Academy in 1836, became President of the R.W.S., and was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1871, and was elected to the Royal Academy in 1872.  He designed the fourth cover for “Punch,” 1843, and this was used for the monthly parts for a long time afterwards.  He died a bachelor at Ivy House, Blackheath, on October 5, 1897, and was buried in Lewisham Cemetery, in the family vault.

Some years before his death he conceived the idea of collecting his paintings with a view to presenting them to the nation.  With this end in view he brought together a noble series representing his work from 1839 to 1891, and distributed them among London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Blackburn, depleting his own house to do so.

The “Art Journal,” July, 1857, says:  “We feel justified in speaking of John Gilbert as the most popularly known artist in the world.”

He was certainly a most prolific worker, for it is estimated (“Magazine of Art,” 1898) that the did 30,000 cuts for “The Illustrated London News” alone, irrespective of other work—truly a wonderful achievement.  To add to the wonders done by this great artist it is related that he had no wardrobe, no armour, and never needed models to sit to him.  He drew everything, as the children say, “out of his own head.”  It is said that a messenger was sent down to Blackheath with the portion of the story intended for the next number of THE LONDON JOURNAL, and that Gilbert read it, drew his illustration direct on the wood block, and gave it to the boy to take back to town with him.

Walter Gorway was his “woodpecker” and skilful ally in all his LONDON JOURNAL work.  His technical skill (as shown in the proofs of THE LONDON JOURNAL illustrations in the Print Room of The British Museum), must have been of the highest order.  Unfortunately there does not appear to be any records of him, nor of C. M. Gorway or H. White, whose initials appear on a few of Gilbert’s cuts, one in particular being the illustration to “Godfrey Malvern,” March 10, 1849.  This is a fine example of black and white work.


November 9, 1918.

George Stiff.

The truly marvellous way this man produced and firmly established what was at the time a great novelty in cheap journalism, and what was really the progenitor of the penny illustrated weekly periodical (for he set the pace and others quickly followed) calls for a little comment.  A brief note of his career taken from “Boase’s Modern English Biography,” will therefore not be out of place.  He was born in 1807, and became a wood engraver.  He was the director of the “Illustrated London News” engraving establishment for a time, and then started as a publisher at 3, Catherine Street, Strand (1846-48), and at 334, Catherine Street, Strand (1848-62).  While he owned the LONDON JOURNAL he started the “Weekly Times,” on Jan. 23, 1847.  He projected the “Seven Days Journal of Literature, Science, Art and General Information,” in 1862, but this paper only ran to 36 numbers.  He had purchased the copyright of the “Morning Chronicle” in 1860, but the last number of this was published on March 19, 1862.  Then he started the “Daily London Journal,” which existed for two days only, being stopped by an injunction, presumably for infringement of title, by the new proprietor of the LONDON JOURNAL.  The “London Reader of Literature, Science, Art and General Information” was his next venture, in which “The Seven Days Journal” became incorporated.  He filed his petition in bankruptcy on March, 20, 1862, with debts amounting to £52,250, and was granted an order of discharge on Dec. 3, 1862.  He became joint proprietor of the “Weekly Dispatch” in 1869, and managed it down to Feb. 1873.  A wonderful record of “ups and downs.”  It can safely be said that he was one of the pioneers of cheap papers for the masses.


John Frederick Smith.

The exact date of this talented and extremely popular novelist’s birth is not known.  Several biographers have made extensive research, but all that can be discovered is that it was some time in 1804 or 1805, and took place either in the City of Norwich or in the country of Norfolk.  His father is believed to have been George Smith, lessee of the Theatre Royal, Norwich and manager of the Norwich Theatrical Circuit.  Nothing is known of his mother, but it would perhaps be right to assume that she, too, was connected with the stage.  His father came from good stock, his father’s uncle being Doctor Powell, Master of St. John’s College, Cambridge, and Archdeacon of Colchester.  This learned and reverend gentleman disinherited Mr. John F. Smith on account of his connection with the stage.  The family of this branch of the Smiths were Roman Catholics and when quite a child our author was place under the care of a Jesuit priest, which doubtless greatly influenced his mind.  J. F. Smith possessed a natural, restless and imaginative disposition, which did not agree with his tutor’s severe and rather narrow-minded discipline.  It is said that an intense hatred arose in the boy’s mind toward Jesuitism, and the intensity of this feeling may be gathered from his first work, “The Jesuit,” written as he himself says when he was only a boy of 19 years of age.  This work was published in 3 vols. in 1832, but was later on repudiated by him, although he is known to be its author.  Previous to this time he had visited Russia, with a relative, and here he picked up a large amount of information of which he afterwards made good use.

On his return he commenced a little as an actor and before he deserted the stage he played under most of the leading actors of the day.  It is assumed that he took the “heavy” parts, for it is recorded in “Notes and Queries” that “In 1830, while attached to the company of George Smith of the Norwich circuit, Miss Noel married Mr. Henry Marston, the bride being given away by the ‘heavy’ man of the troupe, who was the manager’s son, Mr. J. F. Smith, subsequently author of ‘Stanfield Hall.’”

Nothing is known as to how he otherwise spent the early years of his manhood, but the age of twenty-nine he left his home and started upon his world travels.  He visited the principal sites of Europe, mixing mostly with youthful artists of Bohemian tastes.  He spent two winters in Rome and when there he was able, on one occasion, to render valuable service to the Church, for which the Order of St. Gregory was conferred upon him by Pope Gregory XVI.  This was how he gained the knowledge of Italy, which he utilizes in some of his novels, notably that of “Minnigrey.”

Leaving the Holy City he adopted a Bohemian life and wandered aimlessly through Germany.  Many stories are told of his life during this period, but as none of them have been authenticated by Mr. Smith himself, who had only a smile when questioned on the subject, we need not repeat them here.

During his absence from England his first drama, “Roger de Coverly,” was presented at the old Adelphi Theatre.  He also wrote the librettos of some operas, which appeared about this time.  About ten years after he first adopted his bohemian wandering life, he returned to England, but did not remain here long.  In a year or two he was back again in his old familiar haunts.  Before his departure, however, his most successful play, “The Court of ‘Old Fritz,’” appeared at the old Olympic Theatre.  It is worth remarking that Bulwer-Lytton’s famous line, “The pen is mightier than the sword,” was taken from this play by J. F. Smith.

When the author’s restless spirit took him again to the continent, he sojourned in France.  Here he held the appointment of English professor for rather more than a couple of years at the Abbey of the Grande Scinde.  It was on his next return to England that he first became connected with the LONDON JOURNAL.  His subsequent career may be summed up in a few words—when a man achieves success, his life, as a rule, ceases to be eventful.

Some of his romances appeared as serials in other periodicals, which I hope to enumerate.  Nearly all his works have been published from time to time in book form on both sides of the Atlantic, for he has still thousands of admirers in America; in fact all over the world where the English language is spoken.  Several of his stories have been translated into foreign languages, showing how popular he had become, and even now there is a great demand for his works.  One of his biographers asserts that the author of “Minnigrey” can lay claim beyond doubt, to the title of the most popular novelist at the period his stories first appeared, and remarks, “a well-informed contemporary declared that Mr. Smith had a thousand readers where Dickens had ten, and Thackeray one, the reason being that Smith’s romances appeared in penny periodicals that came within the reach of the masses.”

It is not generally known that J. F. Smith was engaged by Mr. Cassell to write “Cassell’s History of England,” which originally came out in weekly numbers, but his delivery of “copy” became so uncertain that the work was placed in other hands.

Smith was a pure bohemian, and it is related of him that, whilst in the height of his popularity, and enjoying the income of an Under Secretary of State, he lived in seclusion in a boarding house in Bloomsbury and would not associate himself with his fellow writers, one reason for this exclusiveness being his deafness, which prevented him from entering into profitable conversation with others.

It is further related that his “copy” for THE LONDON JOURNAL was generally written in the office of the periodical.  He would go there on one day each week, ask for the last week’s instalment or copy of his serial, glance at it, send a boy out for a bottle of port wine, light his pipe or cigar, and, shutting himself in his room, write off the instalment for the next number.  He then saw the cashier, drew his pay, and again sending the boy out to see if anyone was waiting for him, would leave the office and not return until the following week and then – through the same performance.  Towards the later part of his life he visited the United States, where he lived in retirement, and where he died in March, 1890.  Only one English newspaper gave a brief obituary notice of his death, and this the present writer has so far been unable to trace, although he had made a most careful and diligent search.

Before passing, I ought to mention that J. F. Smith wrote that fine work, “The Lives of the Queens of England,” which commenced in No. 387 vol. 15 of THE LONDON JOURNAL, July 24, 1852.  It was through his writing this series that Mr. John Cassell was induced to offer him the writing of “The History of England.”

[NOTE.—I interpolate here some notes of J. F. Smith, by Mr. Alfred Hallam, of 9, Johnson Street, Stretford Road, Manchester, who, like myself, is much interested in the subject.—F. JAY]

“J. F. Smith’s first contribution to THE LONDON JOURNAL was a short Eastern story extending to six columns only, entitled ‘Marianne:  a Tale of the Temple.’  It is described as by the author of ‘The Jesuit,’ ‘The Prelate,’ etc, which connects him with the tale.  It will be found on pp. 150-2, vol. 9, May 1849.  The week following, that is to say, May 19, was commenced Smith’s most ambitious work, a historical romance, ‘Stanfield Hall,’ with a well-drawn and excellent illustration of ‘Stanfield in the time of the Saxons,’ by W. H. Prior, and in the issue of May 26 an illustration of Norwich Castle in the reign of William the Conqueror, by the same artist.”

November 16, 1918.

The third number is illustrated by John Gilbert and to the end of the romance, affording good examples of the great draughtsman’s work, being artistically conceived, vigorous in execution, and in treatment highly dramatic.  The first part of the romance, which was styled “The Chronicle of Ulrick the Saxon,” was concluded on Oct. 27, 1849, vol. 10, and was followed on Nov. 3 by Book II, “Chronicles of the Heiress,” the scene being laid in the reign of Henry VIII, who, with Wolsey, and Anne Boleyn, figures prominently in the story.  This part, which consisted of twenty chapters, was brought to a termination on May 4, 1850, Vol. 11, and part 3, “Cromwell, or the Protector’s Oath,” started with No. 272 of THE LONDON JOURNAL, May 11, 1850.  This part extended to twenty-six chapters, and was brought to a close on Nov. 16, 1850, Vol. 12, the entire work having had a successful run of eighteen months.

I may pause here to say that an article by J. F. Smith, “The mother and uncle of Napoleon,” appeared in the “Journal” on Aug. 4, 1849, pp. 341-2, and some verses, “Erin’s prayer to the Queen,” on page 412 of the same volume, and which are by no means destitute of poetic merit.  The lines are stated to be “by J. F. Smith, Esq., author of ‘Robin Goodfellow.’”  On page 62, vol. 10, Sep. 28, 1849, there is “An Ode to Hungary,” by J. F. Smith Esq., and on page 69 an interesting paper “by the author of ‘Stanfield Hall,’” entitled “The Plague of London,” obviously suggested by “Defoe’s Journal of the Plague.”  A further part of this sketch appears on page 85.  Smith again breaks into verse on page 280 with an Epistle, “The Bygone Year, 1849.”  With No. 309, Jan. 25, 1851, began Smith’s story, dealing with domestic life, “Amy Lawrence, the Freemason’s Daughter,” finely illustrated by John Gilbert.  The scene is laid in Manchester, in the neighbourhood of Cannon Street and Shudehill.

Smith’s next story was the well-known “Minnigrey,” Oct. 11, 1851, ending on Oct. 2, 1852, and illustrated by Gilbert.  This work, which may justly be accepted as the highest

achievement of the author, was deservedly very popular.  It was read by all classes and attained the distinction of having been mentioned approvingly by that accomplished scholar, Sir George Cornewall Lewis, in the House of Commons.  Another admirable story came next, “The Will and the Way,” Oct. 9, 1852, concluding on Sept. 3, 1853, vol. 18.

Appearing simultaneously with these tales was Smith’s “Lives of the Queens of England,” the first chapter of which appeared July 24, 1852, and the last, dealing with the death of Elizabeth, vol. 18, Feb. 4. 1854.  They were illustrated by C. F. Sargent, John Gilbert, and Harry Rafter.  “Woman and her Master” commenced on Sept. 3, 1853, and was continued until Sept. 9, 1854, vol. 20.  It was followed by “Temptation,” Sept. 9, 1854, vol. 20, to March 3, 1855 vol. 21.

Smith’s connection with the LONDON JOURNAL lasted six years, during which time he contributed seven serial tales to its columns.  Few works were ever written which are so well adapted to the mental wants of those that Smith addressed.  To this order of readers the finest page of Thackeray would have been tedious and devoid of interest.  Dickens came nearer to this class, with his humourous and grotesque creations.

Smith’s writings are honest and healthy in tone and sentiment.  In his pages no sex problems are discussed and left unsolved, there are no interesting or innocent adulterers, no reformed or saintly housebreakers, no Moll Flanders, or Roxana.  The fastidious critic may find somewhat crude and hastily sketched figures, easily recognisable, but endowed with many virtues, full of generous impulses, ever charitable, and on the side of the oppressed, and running through a well-drawn story, which never slackens and shows no little skill and constructive power.  He who wants a finished and life-like portrait, a deathless creation, a Squire Western, a Parson Adams, a Lady Bellaston, a Lieutenant Bowling, or a Captain Shandy, must go elsewhere than to the romances of J. F. Smith.  He never allows you to mistake his rascals for other than they are.  He accompanies them with a mock deference, exhibits them powerful and rich, apparently prospering and triumphant in their guilt, but finally with a courteous bow, he hands them over to the devil, who, you are conscious, has been waiting for them all the time!


Pierce Egan the Younger.

This clever and popular author succeeded Mark Lemon as editor of THE JOURNAL, and held the position for a lengthy period.

He was born in 1814, and was the son of Pierce Egan the elder, who was the author of “Tom and Jerry,” and other well-known works, including “Pilgrims of the Thames,” which was illustrated by Pierce Egan the younger.  The latter wrote “Wat Tyler,” 3 vols., in 1841; “Robin Hood,” “Adam Bell, Clym of the Cleugh, and William of Cloudeslie,” in1842; also “Paul Jones, the Privateer,” 2 vols., illustrated with his own engravings in 1842; “Quintin Matsys, the Blacksmith of Antwerp,” 1839; “The Thirteenth; or, The Fatal Number,” 1849; “The London Apprentice, and the Goldsmith’s Daughter of West Chepe,” 3 vols., 1852, and several others before joining the JOURNAL.  His best known and most widely read romances in the JOURNAL were “The Flower of the Flock,” “The Snake in the Grass,” “Love me, leave me not,” “The Wonder of Kingswood Chace,” his last one being “A Shadow of the Future,” which appeared in 1879.

He was also connected for some time with “The Weekly Times.”

Other stories from his pen were “The Poor Girl” (one of his best known novels) (1862 –63) “Such is Life” (Dec. 5, 1863 – July 2, 1864), “Fair Lilias” (Jan. 14 – Dec. 16, 1865), “The Light of Love; or the Diamond and the Snowdrop,” (April 28, 1866 to Feb. 16, 1867), “Eve, or the Angel of Innocence,” another widely popular romance (May 13 to Dec. 21, 1867), “The Blue-eyed Witch; or, Not a Friend in the World” (Sept. 5, 1868, to May 8, 1869).

From this time his prowess appeared to decline, as may be seen in his next romance, “My Love Kate; or, The Dreadful Secret” (Nov. 6, 1869, to May 7, 1870.)

He attempted to revive his popularity with “The Poor Girl,” by adding companion novel entitled “The Poor Boy”’ (Oct. 8, 1870 to April 8, 1871).  His last stories were “Mark Jarratt’s Daisy, The Wild Flower of Hazlebrook,” (Nov. 25, 1871, to May 25, 1872), “Eve, My Queen,” (Feb. 15 to July 5, 1873), “Her First Love,” (March 21 to Aug. 8 1874), “False and Frail” (Feb. 13 to June 19, 1875), “The Pride of Birth” (Nov. 20, 1875, to April 1, 1876), “Two Young Hearts” (Nov. 25, 1876, to April 14, 1877), “His sworn Bride” (Dec. 15, 1877, to May 4, 1878), “Loved in Secret” (Nov. 2, 1878, to March 29, 1879), and, finally, “A Shadow on the Threshold,” but, the title having been anticipated, it was changed to “A Shadow of the Future” (Dec. 13, 1879, to March 6, 1880).  All these romances appeared in THE LONDON JOURNAL as detailed.

He is deservedly accounted one of the pioneers of cheap literature.  His “Snake in the Grass” and several of his best known romances were republished from 1887 onwards.

He contributed to the early volumes of the “Illustrated London News,” and edited “The Home Circle” from July 7, 1849, to the end of 1851.  It is said that he was practically the

only old bohemian writer and author who died wealthy.  His death took place at his residence, “Ravensbourne,” Burnt Ash, Lee, Kent, on July 6, 1880, and he was buried in Highgate Cemetery.


Percy Bolingbroke St. John.

Another very popular contributor to the LONDON JOURNAL, and a fine old bohemian author, was born in Camden Town, in 1821.  He was the eldest son of James Augustus St. John, a journalist.  He accompanied his father on some of his travels, particularly to Madrid, when the latter was searching for material for his “Life of Sir Walter Raleigh,” and he also travelled in America.

Percy St. John began to write tales when he was quite a lad, and translated a number of Gustave Aimard’s Indian Tales into English between 1876-79.  In 1846 he was editor of “The Mirror of Literature,” and in 1861 of “The London Herald.”  He contributed several fine romances to THE LONDON JOURNAL, including “Photographs of the Heart,” Blythe Hall,” “Quadroona,” “The Red Queen,” (1863), and several others.  He died in London on March 15, 1889.


Emma Dorothy Eliza Nevitte Southworth.

This well-known writer, more commonly known as Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth, contributed several fine romances to THE LONDON JOURNAL her best known being “Brandon of Brandon.”  According to Allibone’s Dictionary of English Literature and of English and American Authors, she was the daughter of Captain Charles L. Nevitte, of Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.A., and was born in the city of Washington in 1818.  She became Mrs. Southworth in 1841, and was thrown upon her own resources in 1843.

Her first novel, “Retribution,” was published in book form in 1849, and was succeeded by “The Deserted Wife” in 1850, “Shannondale” and “The Mother-in-law” in 1851, and “Children of the Isle,” and “The Foster Sister” in 1852.  From that date onward she wrote some twenty-nine or thirty romances of more or less sentimental character, and from 1869 to 1878, about a dozen more, some of which appeared as serials in several English periodicals, notably in collaboration with Mrs. F. H. Baden.

“The Fatal Secret” (1877), “The Phantom Wedding, or the Fall of the House of Flint” (1878), were two of her last stories, after which date no others can be traced, nor is the date of her death recorded.  Her stories which appeared in THE LONDON JOURNAL were powerfully written; she had a style peculiarly her own, and her works were eagerly read by a large number of admirers.


Bayle St. John.

There is one other writer I should wish to mention, namely, Bayle St. John, brother of Percy B. St. John, who contributed one or two serials to THE JOURNAL.  He was born in Kentish Town on Aug. 19, 1822, and died at Grove End Road, St. John’s Wood, on Aug. 1, 1859.  Most of his other works were of a religious tendency.


Nearly all the illustrations to the principal stories throughout the 50 volumes of THE LONDON JOURNAL were engraved by W. Gorway, and they form a splendid record of his consummate skill.  Unfortunately, there is no biographical record of this fine artist.

Sometime in 1863, supplementary volumes of THE JOURNAL were published, containing many of the principal tales and stories by J. F. Smith, Pierce Egan, Percy B. St. John, Eugene Sue, Mrs. Southworth, Mrs. Gordon Smythies, etc.  The series comprised 8 vols., undated with the exception of Vol. 7, which is dated on the title page 1866.  These supplementary volumes are exceedingly scarce, and I have been unable to locate them in the British Museum.  Mr. F. A. Wickhart, the previous owner of the copyright in the title—THE LONDON JOURNAL—possesses what is probably the only set in existence.  At the end of 1883 the copyrights of THE LONDON JOURNAL were sold by Mr. Johnson to Messrs. C. W. Bradley & Co., of 12 and 13 Fetter Lane, Fleet Street, the editor at that time being Pierce Egan the third.  The new proprietors decided on a new series of the Journal, so the first series (commenced March 1, 1845) of THE LONDON JOURNAL terminated with No. 2029, Vol. 78, December 29, 1883.  The new series began with the number dated January 5, 1884, when several new features were introduced, including a long center complete story and what were then considered “up-to-date” illustrations.  The new features did not, however, “catch on,” and the sales consequently did not improve.  Attempts were made to restore its popularity, but whether the editing was at fault, or for some other reasons, they were unsuccessful.  Then, early in 1887, one of the publishers (Mr. E. J. Blogg), suggested to Mr. Bradley an experiment—namely, to republish “Minnigrey” in serial form.  The proprietors were not in favour of this, but later in the year, as sales continued to decline, it was a case of “death or glory.”  So the decision was come to try J. F. Smith again.  The feature was boomed, and in six weeks the sales had jumped by over fifty thousand per week, proving that the famous author was still a popular novelist.  Pierce Egan the third died about 1889, and he was followed by Mr. Herbert J. Allingham.

Several of J. F. Smith’s romances were then republished in serial form from 1887 onwards, and some of Pierce Egan’s also about the same time.  These appeared in the New Series of THE JOURNAL.

With No. 363, Vol. 13, New Series, (Vol. 91 Old Series), November 25, 1890, there was presented “The London Journal Pictorial Almanack,” a large sheet measuring 25 inches by 33 inches, containing fine portraits of Lady Brooke, Lady Dunlo, Miss Mary Anderson, Lady Zetland, Lady Randolph Churchill, Adelina Patti, Ellen Terry, Winifred Emery, Madame Albani, Nikita, and, in the centre, surrounded by these beautiful and celebrated ladies, the latest portrait of John Frederick Smith, author of “Minnigrey,” etc., truly a place of honour and admiration.

The new, or second series, of THE LONDON JOURNAL ran successfully from No. 1 January 5, 1884, to No. 1167, April 28, 1906 (about 46 vols.), when the third series commenced (May 5, 1906), under the title of THE NEW LONDON JOURNAL.  The title was again changed to LONDON JOURNAL with No. 159, Vol. 7, May 8, 1909, and the publication ceased to be issued with No. 301, Vol. 12 (Third Series), January 27, 1912, when it became incorporated with No. 1207 of “Spare Moments,” after an honorable career extending to nearly 67 years.  The serials that were running etc., were continued in the latter publication, and now the old LONDON JOURNAL begins a new life, which everybody hopes will, after the war, be a long and prosperous one.


November 23, 1918.


Pierce Egan the third, son of the author of “The Poor Girl,” and other famous stories, edited THE LONDON JOURNAL for several years during Mr. Johnson’s ownership and afterwards.

He was a barrister, and although a clever writer of verse and possessor of a great critical faculty, he had no gift for writing fiction.  He died in 1889, and was succeeded by Herbert Allingham, a young man fresh from the University, who made up in enthusiasm what he lacked in experience.

During his reign as editor Mr. Allingham made many attempts to revive the past glories of THE LONDON JOURNAL, but he was hampered by the proprietor’s incurable reluctance to pay for new stories.

Mr. C. W. Bradley was a shrewd man of business and a good employer, but the success he achieved by reprinting Mr. J. F. Smith’s stories made him believe that any old story was better than any new one.  It may be said that THE LONDON JOURNAL was both revived, and then killed by “reprints.”

Despairing of ever being able to induce his proprietor to engage new writers, Mr. Allingham ultimately wrote a story himself.  This was a very exciting work, which bore the sensational title, “A Devil of a Woman.”  The story achieved a remarkable success, and had since been reprinted no fewer than five times under various titles in different popular publications throughout the kingdom.

Mr. Allingham resigned the editorship of THE LONDON JOURNAL in November, 1909, and has since achieved success as a writer of serial stories for other journals.  He was the author of “Driven from Home,” a story which obtained an enourmous success a few years ago, and which is said to have doubled the circulation of the periodical in which it appeared.

Following Mr. Allingham, one of the employees of Bradley & Co. tried his ‘prentice hand at editing the paper, but it continued to decline, as did the firm itself, until 1912, when it expired as a separate publication.  As we said previously, the title was disposed of in June 1915, to Mr. F. A. Wickhart, the present proprietor (and founder in 1888) of SPARE MOMENTS who is already laying his plans for the resuscitation of the old favourite.




This exceedingly scarce publication was undoubtedly the first penny illustrated weekly periodical ever published.  Its full title was “The Penny-Story Teller, adapted for Family Reading and Amusement, consisting of Tales and Legends of all Countries.”  Published by Charles Penny, 110, Chancery Lane, London.  No. 1, Vol. I., August 1, 1832, the printers being Mills, Jowett and Mills, Bolt Court, Fleet Street.  The publisher for the trade was W. Strange, 21, Paternoster Row.  It consisted of eight pages (small quarto) of matter in broad double columns, and was illustrated on the front page with a quaint and wonderfully executed woodcut of the “Catnach Press,” and “Lloyd’” old penny number “bloods” type, the perspective and composition being of a most humorous character.  Each number contained a complete tale or romance, romantic, sentimental, and historical.  The remainder of the periodical was made up with short stories, anecdotes, poetry, etc.

The publication ran to 4 vols., the first vol. to 60 numbers, July 31, 1833, the second to 120 numbers, July 30, 1834; the third to 134, August 26, 1835; the fourth to 250, Sept. 28, 1836.  It was again published under a slight change of title, from 11, Bolt Court, Fleet Street, on Oct. 5, 1836, and this new series ran to two vols., Dec. 26, 1838.  Another series with a new heading commenced on Jan. 2, 1839 and terminated with number 52, December the same year.  All these issues were illustrated.  Another series, with a totally different heading, but with no illustrations, and published at No. 4, Broadway, Ludgate Hill, and ran to 53 numbers, December 30, 1840, when it ceased to exist.

Most probably Mr. George Biggs, the first proprietor and publisher of “The Family Herald,” took his cue from the production and popularity of the 1st volume of “The Penny Story-Teller,” for the two publications are somewhat similar in character and it is also safe to presume that Mr. George Stiff, when he took over “Mayhew’s London Journal,” also took the illustrated volumes of the “Penny Story-Teller” as a pattern when he introduced illustrated serials in THE LONDON JOURNAL.  This, of course, may be all conjecture, but there is some possibility of the connection between the several publications.



1848 – 1869.


Before beginning a description of this most interesting and much sought after publication I think I had better first give a short history of its proprietor and publisher.  Mr. George William McArthur Reynolds (affectionately known as G.W.M.R.), author of the “Mysteries of London,” 1845-48; “Mysteries of the Court of London,” 1850-56; founder and publisher of that well-known and fearless newspaper, “Reynolds’s Weekly Newspaper,” May 5, 1853, author of numerous romances, stories and tales, came from good Kentish stock, as testified by various tombstones and monuments in the churchyard of the small and pretty village of Eythorne, near Dover, Kent, the original family seat of the branch of the family of Reynolds to which he belonged.


An Interesting Personality.

There is one to an “Admiral John Reynolds,” who was the Governor of Georgia, dated the middle of the 18th century, and another of a later date to a “Mr. William Reynolds,” who held a distinguished post at the Admiralty; afterwards we find his two sons attaining a high position in the Royal Naval Service.  The elder one was the father of G. W. M. Reynolds, who was born at Sandwich, Kent, July 23, 1814, his father being at the time a post captain in the Navy, and his mother the daughter of Captain Dowers, R.N., Governor of Deal Hospital.  Mr. Reynolds was educated first at Dr. Nance’s school, Ashford, Kent, and then passed on to the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, February 12, 1822.  He was intended for the army, but, losing his parents while still young, he was left comparatively his own master, and inheriting ample means from his father he was enabled to follow the bent of his own inclinations by abandoning a military career and devoting himself to literary pursuits.  He left Sandhurst September 13, 1830, when about 25 years of age, and travelled a great deal, particularly in France, and finally resided in Paris, where he started a daily English newspaper, which turned out a failure.

His natural bent was towards sensational literature, and his first novel of this character was entitled “The Youthful Imposter,” published in 1835.  About the year 1840 he entered into politics and wrote a work entitled “Reynolds’s Political Instructor,” which ran to 30,000 copies, the outcome of which was “Reynolds’s Weekly Newspaper,” the first number being published on May 5, 1850, and the price 4d., afterwards reduced to 2d.

Some time about 1835-36 he became the editor of the old “Monthly Magazine,” but relinquished that position the latter part of 1837.  He wrote the romance “Grace Darling,” in 1839, and “Pickwick Abroad,” a travesty on Charles Dickens’s “Pickwick Papers,” in the same year; “Alfred, or the Adventures of a French Gentleman,” “Robert Macaire,” “The Steam Packet,” “The Drunkard’s Progress,” and “The Last Days of a Condemned Man,” during 1840; “Sister Anne” and “Modern History of France” during 1839-41, and “Master Timothy’s Bookcase” in 1842.  In 1845 he became the editor of THE LONDON JOURNAL, already dealt with in my previous article.  He died at Woburn Square, London, June 17, 1879.

References:  The “Dictionary of National Biography,” vol. xlviii.  “Reynolds’s Miscellany,” December 10, 1859.  The “Bookseller,” July 3, 1879.


The Miscellany.


No. 1 vol. 1, “Reynolds’s Miscellany,” was published Saturday, November 7, 1846.  The first four numbers were entitled “Reynolds’s Magazine of Romance, General Literature, Science, and Art,” but Mr. Reynolds, thinking the title “Miscellany” a better one, the change was made with No. 5.  There were 16 pages to a number, the size of sheets being 6¾ in. x 9¾ in., a rather unusual size for a publication of this nature.  A portrait of Mr. Reynolds by a British artist adorned the first page, and a smaller one appeared on the frontispiece or title page, with the initials “G. W. M. R.” underneath.

No. 1 opens with the weird romance, entitled “Wagner, the Wehr Wolf,” by the editor and is well illustrated throughout, and a series of interesting articles begins under the heading of “The Provincial Press of the United Kingdom,” the first article dealing with—1, the “Manchester Guardian; 2, the “Manchester and Salford Advertiser; 3, the “Manchester Times; 4, the “Manchester Courier,” all very interesting.  Popular papers on science, reviews, essays, general literature, short stories, and a little padding.

As a prelude to his intended publication the editor addressed his readers in the back page as follows:  “Stimulated by the growing improvements in the public taste, and convinced that the readers of ‘cheap literature’ are imbued with a profound spirit of inquiry in respect to science, art, manufacture, and the various matters of social and national importance the proprietor of the ‘Magazine’ has determined to blend instruction with amusement, and to allot a fair proportion of each number to useful articles, as well as to tales and light reading.  Cheap literature has become respectable, because the immense class that support it has lately made a wonderful intellectual progress; and those periodicals which hope to gain and secure the favour of that class must provide a literary aliment suited to the improved taste of the present day.

“Appearing in opposition to no existing cheap publication—started without the least idea of rivalry—and issued in the full belief that there is room for its being without replacing any other, the ‘Magazine’ is established to supply a desideratum which has for some time been acknowledged.  The remark on one side has been that certain cheap publications contain too much light matter, while on the other side it is observed that another set of periodicals are too breezy.  To steer the medium course is the object of ‘Reynolds’s Magazine.’”

“Wagner” runs through vol. 1, 27 numbers, and ends in No. 38, vol. 2.  In vol. 1 a series of letters to the industrious classes, signed by G. W. M. Reynolds, appeared.  They are masterpieces of language and common sense; in fact, they are classics of their kind.  They appeared in vol. 2 also, but my object being to describe the sensational romances and tales, I will not dwell on them.

“The Days of Hogarth; or, the Mysteries of Old London,” by the editor, began in No. 30, vol. 2, May 29, 1847, and ended in No. 30, vol. 3, April 29, 1848.  The illustrations to this romance are copies of Hogarth’s originals, and were very well drawn.  “The Last Days of a Condemned Man,” from the French of Victor Hugo, appeared, or rather, began in no. 58, vol. 3.

These three romances comprize all the serials in the first three series of the “Miscellany,” and these three volumes are exceedingly scarce, and highly prized by those who possess them.


Chats with Correspondents.

The editor conducts the correspondence page and one is struck by the close and personal touch contained in the various inquiries and replies.  They contain a great deal of “data” to anyone desiring information respecting the work of Mr. Reynolds and his wife.  For instance, in No. 3, in reply to a correspondent, he says:  “Master Timothy’s Bookcase” is a romance, and “Faust” is an entirely original tale, founded on the popular belief in Germany that Dr. Faustus sold himself to Satan.  In No. 4 he says:  Mr. G. W. M. Reynolds is no longer the editor of THE LONDON JOURNAL.  Again, Mr. John Wilson Ross, the present editor of THE LONDON JOURNAL, is the son of the late Attorney-General of Demerara.  He first appeared as an author in the pages of an old Monthly Magazine, and has written several excellent articles for ‘Bentley’s Miscellany.’  His age is twenty-seven.  In No. 11 the circulation of the “Miscellany” is over 30,000 weekly.  In No. 16 a correspondent is thanked for his desire that two numbers of “The Mysteries of London” should be published weekly, but Mr. Reynolds thanks him for the compliment conveyed by the wish, but he could not write the quantity which would be required at such short intervals.  In no. 18 the drama entitled “The Mysteries of London” was founded on the work of the same name.  In No. 19, in reply to “Enquirer,” he said:  “The Parricide” is founded on facts.  The real name of the imposter, or fortunate youth, as he was called, was Cawston.  The affair made a great noise at the time, and the deceit was discovered by General Sir Robert Wilson.  In No. 24 he says:  The entire career of Richard Markham in “Mysteries of London” is a fiction, as also the episodical tale of Lydia Hutchinson.

In No. 39 the circulation of “Wallace,” by Gabriel Alexander, is 6,000.  In No. 51 the circulation of “The Miscellany” is 38,000 a week.  In No. 58 “The Bottle,” attributed to himself, was written by Mr. Gabriel Alexander, the author of “Wallace, the Hero of Scotland.”  And a great many similar replies appeared in other numbers.  They are useful in establishing facts for collectors.  Mr. Reynolds was continually assailed in the public Press by a series of articles, entitled “The Literature of the Lower Orders,” to which in No. 57 he gives one of his characteristic replies.  It is too long to reproduce, but I will give the most salient points.

“In Mr. Bunn’s ‘Word with “Punch”’ we find it stated the Mr. Gilbert Abbot à Beckett, one of the writers for ‘Punch,’ and the author of the ‘Comic History of England,’ went through the Insolvents’ Court in 1834, and described himself in his schedule as follows:  Gilbert Abbot à Beckett, formerly of Hyde Street, Bloomsbury, Middlesex, gentleman afterwards and late of Staples Inn, Holborn, Middlesex, proprietor and editor of certain periodicals called the ‘Figaro in London’ and the ‘Wag,’ having an office for the ‘Wag’ at Temple Bar, Fleet Street, London; and also lately proprietor of the ‘Evangelical Penny Magazine,’ Dibdin’s ‘Penny Trumpet,’ the ‘Thief,’ ‘Poor Richard’s Journal,’ and the popular ‘Penny Pictures’; in co-partnership with Thomas Littleton Holt, of Edmonton, having an office for the publication thereof at 194, Strand, Middlesex; also, formerly on my own account proprietor of the periodicals called ‘The Terrific Penny Magazine,’ ‘The Ghost,’ ‘The Lover,’ ‘The Gallery of Terrors,’ ‘The Figaro Monthly Magazine,’ ‘The Figaro Cantatrice Gallery’; and lately lessee of the Fitzroy Theatre, Fitzroy Square, Tottenham Court Road, Middlesex!—Here is enough of the blood-and-murder literature, heaven knows!—And how admirably does that extract from the schedule show forth the versatility of Mr. à Beckett’s genius when it proclaims him to have been the proprietor of ‘The Evangelical Penny Magazine,’ and of ‘The Gallery of Terrors!’  There was religion for the millions on the one hand—and murder for the millions on the other!  How happens it that a gentleman who plunged so deeply in penny horrors and halfpenny terrors some years ago should now be so intimately connected with those pious, moral, sanctimonious printers who entertain such an abhorrence of the respectable cheap literature of the present day?”

To return to “The Miscellany,” the first came to an end with Vol. 3, Saturday, July 1, 1848.

In the meantime Mr. John Dicks, publisher of “The Miscellany,” published “The Weekly Magazine of Fiction, Miscellaneous Reading, and General Information,” beautifully illustrated with numerous wood engravings, a publication of eight pages, containing two or three illustrations, price one halfpenny.

This periodical ran to twenty-eight numbers and ran its course, also, on July 1, 1848.  The leading serial was entitled “The Poacher’s Daughter,” by Mrs. G. W. M. Reynolds, authoress of “Gretna Green; or, All for Love.”  The other serial was entitled “The Count of Crisono,” by Edwin F. Roberts.

An announcement on the last page states that in future “The Weekly Magazine” will be incorporated with “Reynolds’s Miscellany” and that the literary services of Mrs. Reynolds and Mr. Roberts will be transferred to “The Miscellany.”


November 30, 1918.


More about Reynolds.


The new series of “Reynolds’s Miscellany” began on Saturday, July 15, 1848, the number consisting of sixteen pages, size 10½ in. by 8½ in. with three or four illustrations.

The leading tale was entitled “The Coral Island, or the Hereditary Curse,” By G. W. M. Reynolds (one of his best productions).  As it would be too lengthy a task to enumerate all the tales, stories and romances published in the “Miscellany,” I will confine myself to the principal ones, particularly those by Mr. Reynolds, Malcolm J. Errym, and E. F. Roberts, abbreviated as much as possible.  The list is very useful to collectors, old readers, and others interested, who wish to know in which volume they appeared.

For many years the identity of M. J. Errym was hidden and no trace of him as an author was to be found in any reference books.  In chatting over the matter with an old Fleet-st.

journalist, I was considerably astonished when I was informed that Errym was merely a nom-de-plume formed by an altered letter in the name of Merry which was the author’s real name.  In those days, as now, proprietors of periodicals were very jealous of their writers, especially when they happened to “strike ile” in discovering a new genius, consequently it was either customary to hide the real name under a nom-de-plume, or omit it altogether.  Merry wrote a number of stories for various periodicals of the period.

Volume 1, besides “The Coral Island,” contains “The Life of a Labourer,” “The Road to

Transportation,” in six steps; and “The Road to Happiness,” in six steps, by Edwin F. Roberts.

Volume 2, 1849, “The Coral Island,” continuation; “The Gamester’s Progress,” in six

stages (Roberts), “The Bronze Statue” (Reynolds), “The Manufacturer,” in six chapters (Paul Pimlico).

Volume 3, “The Bronze Statue,” continuation; “History of the Girondists,” “Lives of

Remarkable Women.”

Volume 4, 1850, “The Seamstress,” “The Slaves of England” (Reynolds), “The Drunkard’s Progress:  A Tale of two Periods” (Reynolds).

Volume 5, “Pope Joan, the Female Pontiff” (Reynolds).

Volume 6, 1851, “Kenneth:  A Tale of the Highlands” (Reynolds), “The Overlooker of the Factory,” “Gerald Carew” (Roberts).

Volume 7, “The Mother’s Choice, or the Half-Brothers,” “The Wreckers:  A tale of the Coast” (Roberts).

Volume 8, 1852, “The Lapland Rat, or the Loss of the Royal George” (Roberts); “The Cotton Spinner:  A Tale of the Manchester Factories” (Roberts); “The Young Highlander,” “Onesta.”

Volume 9, “The Massacre of Glencoe” (Reynolds). “The Ashes on the Hearth,” “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

Volume 10, 1853, “The Rye House Plot” (Reynolds). “The Gold Seekers” (Roberts).

Volume 11, “The United Service,” “The Two Loves” (from the French).

Volume 12, 1854, “The Rye House Plot,” “The Lamplighter.”

Volume 13, “The Rye House Plot” ends; “May Middleton, or the History of a Fortune” (Reynolds); “Omar:  A Tale of the Crimean War” (Reynolds); “Fashion and Famine.”

Volume 14, 185 “Omar” continued.

Volume 15, “Omar” ends; “Leila, or the Star of Mingrelia” (Reynolds); “The Man of Many Daughters.”

Volume 16, 1856, “Margaret, or the Discarded Queen” (Reynolds).

Volume 17, “Poisoners and Slow Poisoning,” “Margaret” continued.

About this time Pierce Egan had scored a success in THE LONDON JOURNAL with “The Snake in the Grass,” and Reynolds was not slow to secure a story from his pen for his “Miscellany.”  From then on Egan wrote a number of stories for Reynolds.

The idea of a story being reprinted in the same periodical never occurred to the proprietors in those days.  Having once been published it was considered to have served its purpose.  To this fact is no doubt due the republication of J. F. Smith’s “Rochester” in the Miscellany in 1857.

Volume 18, 1857, “The Waits” (Pierce Egan); “Canonbury House, or the Queen’s Prophecy” (Reynolds); “Margaret” ends; “The False Step” (Pierce Egan), “Rochester” (J. F. Smith).

Volume 19, “Jessie Phillips:  A Tale of the Union Workhouse” (Mrs. Trollope); “Rochester” and “Canonbury House” continued.

Volume 20, 1858, “Canonbury House” and “Rochester” end; “The Snow Drift” (Pierce Egan); “The Sepoys, or The Highland Jessie”; “The Woman of the World” (Pierce Egan).

Volume 21, “The Will of the Wisp” (Pierce Egan).

Volume 22, “The Life Raft:  A Tale of the Sea” (Malcolm J. Errym); “Mary, Queen of the Scots” (Reynolds).

Volume 23, 1859, “The Fallen Star,” “True Blue, or Sharks upon the Shore (M. J. Errym); “The Tempter,” and “The Incendiaries” (both by M. J. Errym).

Volume 24, 1860, “The Young Shipwright” (M. J. Errym), “Margaret Falconer, or The Steward’s Daughter” (E. Winstanley).

Volume 25, “The Ruling Passion.”

Volume 26, 1861, “Lamia, or The Dark House of Derwenter” (M. Blount); “Secret Service” (M. J. Errym).

Volume 27, “The Young Fisherman, or the Spirits of the Lake” (Reynolds); “Once Wooed Twice Won,” “Set in Gold” (M. Blount).

Volume 28, 1862, “George Barrington, or Life in London 10 Years ago” (M. J. Errym); “Zoe, the Octaroon.”

Volume 29, “George Barrington” ends; “Rose of Kilkenny,” “Rupert the Forger” (M. J. Errym), “Garibaldi.”

Volume 30, 1862, “May Dudley, or The White Mask” (M. J. Errym); “Sea Drift” (M. J. Errym), “Old Westminster Bridge, or the Trail of Sin” (H. Leslie); “The Lost Love” (by the author of “The Woman of the World”) (Lady Clara Cavendish).

Volume 31, “Hollow Ash Farm,” “William Shakespeare” (Vane T. St. John).

Volume 32, 1863, “Marriage of Mystery,” “How the World Wags” (H. Leslie).

Volume 33, “The World’s Verdict” (Vane I. St. John), “The Lass of Richmond Hill” (V. I. St. John).

Volume 34, “The Golden Heart” (M. J. Errym), “The Buccaneers, or The Hidden Treasure” (Ellis); “The Poisoned Necklace.”

Volume 35, 1865, “The King’s Highway:  A Romance of the Road 100 Years ago” (Ellis); “Rip Van Winkle.”

Volume 36, “Purer than Gold,” “The Maid of the Inn,” “The Dove and the Eagle.”

Volume 37, 1866, “A White Face and a Black Mask” (Ellis); “Born Bad,” “High and Low, or the Phases of Life.”

Volume 38, “Strange if True, Stranger if False”; “The Village Terror” (Hamblin Smith).

Volume 39, 1867, “The Red Doctor” (L. Wray); “The Golden Pilot, or the Murder of Rendril Hollow”; “Hugh Mortimer, or the Shadow on the Threshold” (Hamblin Smith).

Volume 40, 1868, “Broomsgrove Manor House,” “The Veiled Heart,” “The Fly in the Golden Web,” “The Queen’s Diamonds:  A Story of Whitehall” (Hamblin Smith).

Volume 41, “The Broken Vow,” “Black Daryl,” “The Three Heirs, of the Miser’s Will”; “Left to Seven, or a Man of Money” (by the author of “Marvel of Marwood.”)

Volume 42, “Solved at Last,” “The Stepmother,” “Back from the Grave, or the Pet of the Farm.”  The last number of this volume is 1,087, June 19, 1869, and all the serials ended then.  On the back page is the following announcement:

“To the Public.—With this number the ‘Miscellany’ terminates.  From the moment it was started I have conducted it down to the present time, and this labour and responsibility have therefore extended over a period of twenty-three years.  It is now my desire to abandon the task, not merely for the purpose of devoting more of my attention to ‘Reynolds’s Newspaper,’ but also that I may find the requisite time to prepare a work of historical character which I have long contemplated.  Having superintended the literary management of the ‘Miscellany’ during the whole of its existence, I do not now chose to delegate the editorial duties to another, and as my name is so intensely connected with it and forms part of the title, I am equally disinclined that it should pass by sale into other hands.  I therefore prefer, notwithstanding the profit which it yields, to bring it to a close.—GEORGE W. M. REYNOLDS.”

And thus this extremely fine and popular old periodical came to an end.

Most of Reynolds’s, Edward Ellis’s, and Malcolm J. Errym’s tales were illustrated by John Gilbert, and represent some of his work in this line.  In point of fact all the illustrations in the publication were first-class, and Mr. Reynolds conducted his “Miscellany” in quite an enterprising manner, and scored a big success with the publication.  He would not allow matrimonial notices or advertisements (so profuse in similar productions) to appear.  These were from love-stricken young ladies and gentlemen asking to correspond with others of the opposite sex with a view to matrimony.  One periodical in particular, a great rival to the “Miscellany,” simply teemed with hundreds upon hundreds of these notices.

Most of the tales and romances written by Mr. Reynolds, E. Ellis, M. J. Errym, and Pierce Egan were afterwards republished in penny weekly numbers and in book form by John Dicks and afterwards formed part of the People’s Sixpenny Edition of Dicks’s English Library, which had a large sale.  The first-named, as well as the “Miscellany,” are exceedingly scarce, and consequently of good value, and the latter (cheap editions) are also becoming rare; they are seldom seen nowadays.

Mr. Reynolds’s best work undoubtedly appeared in the earlier volumes—in fact, in the later ones he seems to have relied almost entirely on outside authors.  He died almost exactly ten years after discontinuing the “Miscellany.”  “Reynolds’s Newspaper” survives him.  Mr. Reynolds was beyond a doubt one of the most successful pioneers of cheap and sensational literature for the masses.

I append the names of the artists who illustrated some of the serials of “Reynolds’s Miscellany.”

“Wagner,” Criffen and Duvercier.

“The Days of Hogarth,” W. G. Standfast, E. Brett and C. M. Gorway.

“The Coral Island,” H. Anelay, E. Hooper.

“The Seamstress,” H. Anelay, E. Hooper.

“The Greek Maiden,” H. Anelay, E. Hooper.

“Pope Joan,” John Gilbert, Kenny Meadows, and W. H. Thwaites.

“Kenneth,” John Gilbert, E. Hooper.

“The Necromancer,” Frederick Gilbert and E. H. Corbould, and E. Hooper.

“The Lapland Rat,” W. H. Thwaites, W. Williams.

“The Cotton Spinner,” W. H. Thwaites, W. Williams.

“Onesta,” W. H. Thwaites, W. Williams.

“The Massacre of Glencoe,” E. H. Corbould, E. Hooper.

“The Waits,” Frederick Gilbert, E. Hooper.

“Margaret,” Frederick Gilbert, C. Bonner.

“The False Step,” Frederick Gilbert, C. Bonner.

“Canonbury House,” E. H. Corbould, C. Bonner.

“Omar,” E. H. Corbould, C. Bonner.

“Leila,” Frederick Gilbert, C. Bonner.

“Rochester,” Frederick Gilbert, C. Bonner.

“The Snow Drift,” E. H. Corbould, C. Bonner.

“The Sepoys,” E. H. Corbould, C. Bonner.

“Margaret Falconer,” E. H. Corbould, C. Bonner.

“Maid, Wife and Widow,” F. Gilbert, — White.

“Rye House Plot,” E. H. Corbould, C. Bonner.

“Once Wooed, Twice Won,” F. Gilbert, C. F. B.

“The Peep of the Day Boy,” W. H. Thwaites, C. F. B.

“The Family Feud,” F. Gilbert, C. F. B.

“The Dream of Fate,” F. Gilbert, C. F. B.

“The Young Fisherman,” W. H. Thwaites, C. F. B.

“The Court Page,” W. H. Thwaites, C. M. Gorway.



December 7, 1918.


“The Seven Days Journal of Literature, Science, Art, and General Information.”  Such is the full title of a short-lived periodical which first appeared September 6, 1862.  It consisted for the first two numbers of twelve quarto pages, and the price was a halfpenny, but number three was increased to the usual sixteen pages, and the price raised to a penny.  The first numbers had one or two illustrations, and after the increase of size it had four or five well-drawn illustrations in each number.

The opening serial was “The Will and the Way,” by J. F. Smith, which had previously run through the LONDON JOURNAL, indicating either some connection with that periodical, or an arrangement with the proprietors.  The other serial was entitled “Astrea, or the Bridal Day,” by Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth.  The publisher was J. G. Gelder, 13, Catherine-st., Strand.

These serials were followed by “Self-Made, or, Out of the Depths,” by Mrs. Southworth, “The Cloud and the Coronet,” “Loving and Being Loved,” by A. M. Maillard.  This periodical only ran to thirty-six numbers, the last one being dated May 9, 1863, when it became incorporated with the



“The London Reader” of Literature, Science, Art, and General Information, 1863, etc., quarto.  In progress.”  Such is the official entry in the Periodical Publications Catalogue in the library of the British Museum.  No. 1, volume 1, was first published by J. E. Gelder, 334, Strand, on May 18, 1863.

The opening serial is the continuation of “The Will and the Way,” by J. F. Smith, from Chapter 100, the others being the continuation of “The Cloud and the Coronet,” “Elsie of Huddon” (no author given), “The Crown Jewels, or the Magician of Madrid” (no author), of “Vialetta,” by Percy B. St. John, author of “The Quadroon,” “Blythe Hall,” “Photographs of the Heart,” and “Self Made” (continuation) by Mrs. Southworth.

It consisted of thirty-two pages (a rather unusual number for a penny periodical) and contained three or four illustrations.

On the back page appeared this notice:

“The ‘London Reader’ with which is incorporated the ‘Seven Days Journal.’—Notice to the Public.—It is respectfully announced that the ‘Seven Days Journal’ will henceforth be incorporated with the ‘London Reader,’ and that the combined work will contain thirty-two pages, with illustrations in the first style of art.  Price one penny.”

The general “get-up” of the “Reader” was very good, there being a lot of general articles and essays, but the serials predominated.  “The Will and the Way” ends at Chapter 135, No. 15, August 22, 1863, and the equally popular romance, “Woman and Her Master,” by the same author, began in the preceding number.

The fine old romances, stories, and tales that eventually appeared in the “London Reader” were contributed to by Percy B. St. John and his brother, Vane Ireton St. John, Bracebridge Hemyng (Jack Harkaway) in “Amy Robsart” produced some of his best work in fiction, and Ernest Brent, “His Strange Marriage.”  Most of the illustrations in the earlier volumes were the work of John Proctor (afterwards the “Puck” of “Young Folks’ Weekly Budget”), and represent some of his good work, especially in the romance entitled “The Lost Heiress of Ladymere.”

After a time no author’s names were given, so it is rather difficult to trace the authorship of some of the serials.  The number of pages was afterwards reduced to twenty-four, and for a long period remained so.

It was respectively published by Messrs. Gelder, Watson, Smith, and Speck, all from the same address, and was a well-conducted and popular periodical throughout its long career.



This was published by Edward Lloyd (the founder of “Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper”) the date of the first number being October 10, 1846.

This exceedingly scarce and consequently valuable periodical from a collector’s point of view, was made famous by the fact that it contained the celebrated thrilling romance entitled “The String of Pearls,” in which “Sweeny Todd, the Barber of Fleet Street,” is one of the characters, and figures prominently in the tale.

It begins in No. 7, November 21, 1846, and ends in No. 24, March 20, 1847.  It is not a very lengthy tale, and ran to only thirty-seven short chapters; but it formed the basis for several reproductions with additional horrors, which were published in penny numbers, each having an illustration of a blood-thirsty character.  Copies of these are also very scarce, and I have not found one in my researches in the British Museum.

Fred Hazleton, author of “Charley Wag,” “Captain Jack,” and “The Pirate King,” wrote a drama entitled “Sweeney Todd, the Barber of Fleet Street; or, The String of Pearls,” in three acts, founded on the popular work of the same title, which was produced at the Old Bower Theatre, Stangate, Lambeth, during 1862, Mr. Richardson taking the character of Sweeney Todd.  Another version of the romance, but as unlike unto the original as chalk is to cheese, was published in penny numbers during the early eighties by Charles Fox (publisher of “The Boys’ Standard” and “The Boys’ Leisure Hour”).  It ran to 169 chapters, forty-eight numbers, and forms a bulky volume at 576 pages.  Each number is embellished with an illustration of a startling character.  Equally startling coloured plates were given away with Nos. 1 and 2.  The full title is given as “Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street; or, The String of Pearls,” and is described as being full of adventures of the most thrilling and dramatic incidents.

A great many people “credited” the late Mr. G. A. Sala as being the author of the original “Sweeney Todd,” but I have been able to disprove this, firstly by the fact of Mr. Sala’s youthful age at the time the story was written (he was born in 1828), (the tone of the story is of far too deep a nature for such a young man to conceive and write) and, secondly and finally, by Mr. Sala’s emphatic denial to a correspondent in “Sala’s Journal,” No. 9, June 25, 1892, and again in No. 22, September 24, the same year.

In the former he says:

“A. G. S. (Catford Hill), at the close of a kind letter, for which I am very much his debtor, asks me if I can tell him the name of the author of a story called the ‘String of Pearls, or Sweeney Todd, the Barber of Fleet Street.’  Confound ‘Sweeney Todd,’ wither ‘The String of Pearls,’ beshrew ‘The Barber of Fleet Street’!  Some years ago a libeller, now deceased, insinuated that I was the author of ‘Sweeney Todd,’ and I have since been periodically pestered with inquiries as to whether I was really the author of a book which I have never read, but which I have been told is about a blood-thirsty barber who was in the habit of murdering his customers and throwing them through a trap door into a cellar.  ‘Avaunt Todd.’

“The tale was written by one Thomas Reskett [sic] Prest, who wrote about half of the two hundred penny novels published in the forties by the late Edward Lloyd, of Salisbury Square.  Prest, who wrote a number of recitations and edited a magazine of songs, was very popular in his day, but I do not expect his name will appear in Leslie Stephens’s ‘Dictionary of Biography.’  His most popular novel was ‘Ela the Outcast, or The Gipsy of Rosemary Dell,’ which ran to over 250 [sic] penny numbers.”

Mr. G. R. Sims, in his book, “My Life:  Sixty Years’ Recollections of Bohemian Life” (6s. net, Eveleigh Nash, London), on page 50 mentions the story and clears Mr. G. A. Sala from being the author.

To return to the “People’s Periodical and Family Library.”  The other serials were very commonplace, the titles being “Rose Somerville,” “Helen, or the Forced Marriage,” the “Pride of our Village,” and the “Dream of Life Romance,” by the author of “The Ordeal by Touch.”  The illustrations are rather poor and altogether, beyond the “String of Pearls” romance, it was a poor publication in comparison to others.  The copy in the British Museum only runs to thirty-five numbers, the last one dated June 5, 1847.  Showing how scarce the periodical is I know only of one other copy owned by a gentleman who would “not part with it for its weight in silver,” so greatly does he prize it.



About fifty-five years ago the weekly distribution by John Heywood, Deansgate, Manchester, alone, was as follows: 


Mursell’ Lectures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13,000

London Journal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12,714

Family Herald . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6,860

Cassell’s Paper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6,266

Reynolds’s Miscellany . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5,943

Spurgeon’s Sermons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  247

Chambers’s Journal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 206

And in the low fiction or tragedy type:

“Edith” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 800

The Dark Woman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  692

The Ocean Child . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .156

Colonel Jack  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  156

The above gives an excellent test of the tone of reading amongst the working classes in the manufacturing districts.  It is a matter of surprise that the Rev. Arthur Mursell’s lectures should top the list.  I remember them well, especially one entitled “Fire, Fire, Fire,” and another, “Mind Your P’s and Q’s.”



Volume 1, 1851, of this publication, which succeeded “The People’s Periodical,” contained a romance, entitled “A Flaw in the Diamond:  a Romance of the Affections,” illustrated with some of Phiz’s best work.  The other serials are “Cousin Cecil:  or, the Wheel of Fortune,” and “The Duchess.”  Each number contained sixteen large pages and one illustration in the front page.  This periodical was followed by “Lloyd’s Weekly Miscellany” and “Penny Sunday Times,” new series, vol. 1, twenty-eight numbers, sixteen pages quarto.  This contained two or three serials of commonplace character, including “Heads and Hearts:  or, My Brother the Colonel,” only one illustration on each front page.  The copy in the British Museum bears no date, not even the usual official date stamp.



Published by B. D. Cousins, Duke Street, Lincoln’s Inn, 1845-48.  No. 1 is dated Wednesday, April 30, 1846, and the last number (104), April 13, 1848.  There were no illustrations until No. 32.  The first leading serial was the time-worn romance, “Martin the Foundling,” the author’s name being given as “Alfred Count D’Orsay,” a romance that became equally famous afterwards, entitled “The Outcasts of London, or Pauline, the Victim of Virtue,” began in No. 38, Vol. 1, and ends in No. 60, Vol. 2.  It was well illustrated by an eminent artist, whose name is not given.  The end of the romance is signed by the initials W. D.  I have not been able to find to whom these refer.  Towards the end of Vol. 2 the title was changed to “The London Literary Pioneer.”  One other serial was entitled “Godolphin the Arabian.”



A Weekly Record of Entertainment and Instruction adapted for the readers of all ages.  Illustrated by “Phiz” and Julian Portch.  Published at 184, Fleet Street, was the full title of this periodical, now exceedingly scarce and valuable on account of the illustrations by “Phiz.”  No. 1 is a Christmas number for 1859.  New series, No. 2, Vol. 1, was dated January 7, 1860, and began with one of Percy B. St. John’s best romances entitled “Sybil Lester; or, Love’s Young Dream,” and another by his brother, Vane Ireton St. John, entitled “The Valley of the Demon.”  “The Robber Patriot,” a tale of modern Italy, by George Sand, began in No. 3, and “The Bagmire Pool,” by Percy B. St. John, in No. 4.  “The Silver Arrow:  an Indian Tale,” by Percy B. St. John, illustrated by Portch, began in No. 18; and “The Phantom Schooner:  a Tale of the White Sea,” by the same author, began in No. 35, Vol. 2.  Another by him appeared in No. 46, entitled “Silent Death, or The Light on the Water.”  “Broken Links,” no author, illustrated by “Phiz,” appeared in No. 54; “Darkness and Daylight, or The Sacrifice,” by Mrs. Mary J. Holmes, illustrated by “Phiz,” in No. 60, Vol. 3.  “Lonore,” a love story, by Edmund Burbury, also illustrated by “Phiz,” appeared in No. 74, May 25, 1861.  “Under the Shadow,” illustrated by L. Howard, by Vane Ireton St. John, in No. 114, Vol. 5, February 29, 1862; and “Watching for the Dawn” in two books, “Darkness” and “Dawn,” also by Vane Ireton St. John, appeared in No. 125, Vol. 5, May 24, 1862.  The last number in the British Museum was dated (No. 140) August 30, 1862.

There were, however, further publications of the periodical, according to the various announcements, but I have been unable to trace them.  I have also been unable to trace the first series.  There are no copies or record of it in the British Museum beyond the announcement of “Second Series” given.

The periodical was evidently run by the St. John family to produce their own work in particular.  It had various printers and publishers, however:  first, Harrison, Exeter Change, Strand; then Taylor and Greening, Fetter Lane; and finally Maddisie, 3, Brydges Street, Strand.

It was a rather commonplace publication towards the end.  The volumes containing illustrations by “Phiz” and Portch are much sought after by collectors, but, as before mentioned, they are exceedingly scarce, and I know of only one set besides the set in the British Museum, the owner of which will not part with it, even as a loan to take abstracts from.  He considers it priceless.

Before passing I would like to mention that one or two of the illustrations to “The Silver Arrow,” were by that clever animal artist, Harrison Weir, whose work in “The Life of a Dog,” by Mrs. Miller, and others in the “Boy’s Own Magazine,” 1854, ranks amongst the fines of their kind.



This periodical was edited by Percy Bolingbroke St. John, and was the usual type of the penny periodicals of its day.  It consisted of sixteen pages, quarto, price one penny, and had the usual number of illustrations.  Taken on the whole it was a superior publication, and began May 1, 1853.  The opening serial was entitled “Photographs of the Heart,” by Percy B. St. John, a very fine romance.  I have been unable to trace the name of the artist who illustrated it, but the engraver’s names were J. Gelder and E. Hartshorn, and the tale ran to fifty chapters, ending in No. 19, September 4, 1858.

This was followed by the equally favourite romance, “Alice Lester,” by the same author, in No. 20, evidently illustrated by the same artist; at any rate, the same engravers were engaged upon them; and ran to fifty chapters also, ending in No. 41, Vol. 2, February 5, 1859.  The other serials were “The Twin Sisters,” no author given; “Lost Jewels,” “A Woman’s Secret,” by A. M. Maillard; “The Masked Mother:  or, The Hidden Hand,” no author given; and the publication came to an end with No. 53, Vol. 2, April 30, 1859.

Although recorded in the British Museum catalogue, that institution apparently does not possess a copy, for I have given in several requisition papers for it, but failed to obtain it.  I think, however, the LONDON JOURNAL proprietor was interested in it, as many of the stories first appeared in that periodical.

Apparently the periodical was resuscitated, for a publication bearing the same title was published by E. F. Hyde, 334, Strand, on July 1, 1861, and consisted of only eight pages, with three illustrations.  Price one halfpenny.

The opening serial was evergreen “Minnigrey,” by J. F. Smith.  For a long period this romance was the only one of any note running in the periodical until the “Hidden Hand,” by Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth, appeared in No. 51.

After No. 38 the paper was published by George Vickers, Strand.  “Adeline Temple; or the Mystery of Broudley Manor,” by Reginald Hugh Spencer, began in No. 60, Vol. 2, September 13, 1862.  “Self Made,” by Mrs. Southworth, in No. 89, Vol. 2, April 4, 1863; “The Haunted Abbey,” by Mr. Gordon Smythies, in No. 103, Vol. 2, July 11, 1863; “Captain Rock’s Pet,” by Mrs. Southworth, in No. 159, Vol. 4, August 6, 1864; and “Vivia; or, the Secret of Power,” by the same author, in the same number.

“The Orange Girl,” next appeared, founded by the author of the “Reid,” on the successful drama then playing at the Royal Surrey Theatre.  The other outstanding serials were “The Daily Governess,” “Aurora, a London Mystery,” “Pride and the Duchess” (Eugene Sue), whilst “Photographs of the Heart” reappeared in No. 232, Volume 5, December 30, 1865.  “Winning Her Way” (Mrs. Southworth) appeared in Volume 6.  A change of title page and the price raised to one penny and enlargement to sixteen pages, took place with No. 293, Volume 6, March 6, 1867, and the new series came to an end with No. 304, Volume 7, May 18, 1867.


December 14, 1918.



A Household Journal of Romance, Art, and Science.

It was not unusual in the sixties of the 19th century for a popular author to run a periodical on his own.  Thus we find Percy B. St. John editing and running this periodical after he left “The Guide,” and Malcolm J. Errym (Merry) conducting “The London Miscellany,” while again, Charles Stevens “fathered” “The Empire.”  After the popularity of these favourite writers of romance had exhausted itself in the various periodicals, the publications were carried on by the printers or those who took the responsibility and found the necessary cash.

No. 1, vol. 1, of “The London Herald,” conducted by Percy B. St. John, was published on Saturday September 7, 1861, by H. Vickers, Strand, London, a firm which was absorbed in the nineties by the notorious Hansard Union.  It consisted of eight pages, size nine and three-quarter inches by twelve and a half inches, and for the first six numbers it was not illustrated.

The opening serial was “Captain Sharke, or the Power of Love,” by Percy B. St. John.  The second serial was “The Three Red Men,” by Sir Francis Trollope.  In No. 7 a new heading was introduced, and one illustration on the front page.  In this number the romance entitled “The Gold Brick,” by the author of “Fashion and Famine,” was begun, and in No. 9, November 2, 1861, the famous and popular romance, “The Sailor Crusoe,” by Percy B. St. John, began, splendidly illustrated by R. Prowse and engraved by W. Gorway and ran till No. 42, June 21, 1862, ending at chapter 128.  The equally favourite story entitled “Lealliwah, or the Valley of Cedars,” by the same author, started in No. 39, vol. 1, May 31, 1862, and ran well into vol. 2.  This serial was also illustrated by R. Prowse and Walter Gorway, the other serials being “The Black Angel,” by W. Stephens Hayward (subsequently published in book form by Messrs. Clarke and Clarke in 1865, and as a serial in “The Illustrated London Clipper,” No. 39, vol. 1, July 10, 1875, but was not completed in that newspaper); “The Young Doctor,” “The Hidden Hand,” by Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth, author of “Eudora,” “Brandon of Brandon,” and other works; and “The Indian Maiden,” by Percy B. St. John.

The size of the sheets of vol. 2 was reduced to eight and a half inches by eleven and three-quarter inches, and the publication ran to ninety-five numbers, ending August 27, 1863.  At least that is the date of the last number in the British Museum, where it is preserved in its original light green paper covers, but bound in the official style.  Beyond this copy I have seen only one other, which is now in my possession.

A new series was published in August, 1863, by J. A. Berger, 13, Catherine Street, Strand, enlarged to sixteen pages, price on penny.  It was conducted on similar lines to THE LONDON JOURNAL, the titles of some of the romances being “The Forest Bride,” “The Streets of London,” “Haunted Hearts,” “Married in the Dark” (by W. Stephens Hayward), “Maroona,” “Under a Cloud,” by Frederick and James Greenwood (“The Amateur Casual”), which originally appeared in “The Welcome Guest” during 1858, and “A Ton of Gold:  or, A Woman Keeps a Secret.”

The publication became incorporated with “The Halfpenny Journal” and initiated another new series under the heading of “The London Herald and English Girls’ Journal,” Saturday, March 10, 1866, published by Ward and Lock.

This exceedingly scarce periodical was published by Charles Jones, 1-2, West Harding Street, Fetter Land.  The first number was dated February 1, 1866, and consisted of sixteen pages quarto, with four illustrations.



Is remarkable because its first serial, “A Mystery in Scarlet,” by Malcolm J. Errym, finely illustrated by Phiz, ran through the first eighteen numbers.  This romance created a mild sensation at the time, and the late Robert Louis Stevenson offered a reward for a copy.  The periodical also contains a series of exciting articles under the heading of “London Revelations,” also illustrated by Phiz; a romance called “Annie Hatton:  or, The Golden Mist”; “Redcrape:  A Tale of the Highway”; and “Emmeline:  or, The Serpent of the Wreath,” all by Malcolm J. Errym; “The Withered Hand:  A Story of Woman’s Love and Hate,” by Julian St. George, and “Mr. Honeybun’s Proposals:  A Serious Story for Maids, Wives, and Widows, Young Married Men, and Very Old Bachelors.”  The greater part of these serials were also illustrated by Phiz in his usual style.

An announcement appeared on the last page (288) that the first number of a new series of the publication would begin on June 12, 1866.

There is no copy of this (as described) in the British Museum, and I consider myself very fortunate in possessing a copy, but I do not consider it is worth its weight in silver; if it was I would gladly part with it, and invest the proceeds in the National War Loan.

The new or second series finished its run at No. 29, December 29, 1866.  So it did not live long.



An illustrated family paper, of original tales, sketches, memoirs,

literary extracts, etc., etc.

Vol. I.

Published at the “Empire’s” Office, Red Lion Court, Fleet Street, E. C., 1867.

Such is the full title-page of this interesting but short-lived periodical, the heading being “The Empire,” a national magazine for the millions.  Conducted by Charles Stevens.

The opening serial bears the title of “The Little Columbius.  Tale of High and Low Life in London,” by Charles Stevens, illustrated by Phiz, and is dated March 16, 1867.  The second serial was “Aileen Aroon, or the Lovers of Liscarroll,” by Cavian, of the Dublin journals.  The third serial was entitled “The Doom of Devoirgoil,” a Scottish legendary romance, founded on the drama of that name by Sir Walter Scott.

Each number consisted of the usual sixteen pages (price one penny); but Charles Stevens’s name disappears after No. 8, and there was an apparent change in the general “getup” of the publication.  Another serial by Charles Stevens, entitled “Lady Cassandra’s Vow,” began in No. 7, the other serials being “A Manchester Mystery,” (no author given), in No. 13; “The Groves of Blarney:  A Tale of the Fenian Rebellion,” in No. 17; “Over the Sea:  A Tale of a Sailor’s Fortune,” in No. 26; “Hidden Snares:  A Tale of the Black Country,” in No. 28; “Jessie Lee:  A Story for Wives and Daughters,” in No. 29; “Nobody’s Daughter,” in No. 33, vol. 2; “The Bat” in the same number; and “The Dead Heat:  A Tale of the Turf,” in No. 38.  The concluding number was 43, January 4, 1868, when the publication was incorporated with No. 1 of the “Penny Magazine of Novels, Romances and Tales of Adventure.”

I have not so far been able to trace a copy of this publication in the British Museum, but have been able to give the details from a copy I possess.  Neither is there any record of Charles Stevens, with the exception of “As Editor of the first ten numbers of ‘The Boys of England,’” 1866.

Altogether it was a good periodical, the illustrations being above the average.


December 21, 1918.



I must now return to the fifties to bring in one of the best periodicals of the time.  I refer to “Cassell’s Illustrated Family Paper,” which was produced and published by John Cassell, who was, I believe, a Manchester man, or at any rate he was “a man from Lancashire.”  The first number was issued on Saturday, December 31, 1853, and consisted of eight pages, the sheets being the unusual size of 11½ inches by 16¾ inches, a great drawback, in my opinion, for preservation.  The opening serial was entitled “The Arctic Crusoe,” by Percy B. St. John, exceedingly well illustrated, but by whom I cannot say.  There were also illustrations of a general character in the inner pages.

The second serial was also by Mr. St. John, and was entitled “Amy Moss, or the Banks of the Ohio.”  The volume ran to fifty-two numbers.  In No. 68 vol. 2, April, 1855, appeared a romance by J. F. Smith, entitled “The Soldier of Fortune:  A Tale of the War,” which ran to No. 105, December 29, 1855.  It will be recalled that Mr. Smith was at this period also engaged upon the LONDON JOURNAL, so apparently he was contributing to both papers for a time.  In all probability it was this fact that caused the trouble between Mr. Stiff and himself.  With No. 106, January 5, 1856 he began his exclusive engagement with “Cassell’s Illustrated Family Paper,” emphasized by an announcement to this effect on the back page, in which he states that his tale of “Masks and Faces,” being prolonged in a rival journal (meaning the LONDON JOURNAL), was begun and concluded by him in twelve numbers.  This was the tale in which, to make a hurried exit from the LONDON JOURNAL, he blew up all his characters on board a Mississippi steamboat, as recounted by Mr. Henry Vizetelly.  J. F. Smith began Vol. 3 of Cassell’s Family Paper with that splendid tale called “Dick Tarleton, or Lessons of Life,” which was afterwards translated into French and published in book form in 1858, and has recently been republished in “Spare Moments.”  Then came “Phases of Life, or a Peep Behind the Scenes,” which began in No. 147, October 18, 1856, and ended in No. 185, vol. 4, July 11, 1857.  This was followed by an historical romance entitled “The Young Pretender, or a Hundred Years Ago,” and ended in the last number of this first series (large sheet edition), No. 206, December 5, 1857.


The Versatile Smith.

The publication was the reduced to the ordinary quarto sheets, sixteen pages to a number, and was termed “the new series.”  The first number was dated December 5, 1857, and the whole series ran to 374 numbers in 14 volumes, the last one on January 21, 1865.  J. F. Smith contributed most of the leading serials, and a brief summary may not be out of place, as the dates establish their birth.  Smith’s tales and romances are as popular as ever, and in demand, both at home and abroad, especially in America.

“Smiles and Tears:  A Tale of Our Own Times,” began in No. 1 new series, and ended in No. 52, vol. 2, November 27, 1858.  “Substance and the Shadow” began in the following number, and ended in No. 83, vol. 4, July 2, 1859.  “Milly Moyne, or Broken at Last,” began in No. 79, June 4, 1859, and ended in No. 115, vol. 5, February 11, 1860.

After an interval during which the author went abroad, “Who is to Win? or the Stepmother,” began in No. 136, vol. 6, July 7, 1860, and ended in No. 168, vol. 7, February 16, 1861.  This was followed by “Sowing and Gathering” in No. 183, January 1, 1861, and ended in No. 215, vol. 9, January 11, 1862.  “Warp and Weft, or the Cotton Famine:  A Tale of Manchester Life,” began in No. 263, vol. 11, December 13, 1862, and ended in No. 301, September 5, 1863; and finally “False Steps” began in No. 326, vol. 13, February 27, 1864, ending in No. 353, same volume, September 3, 1864.  Most of the illustrations to J. F. Smith’s works in the volumes of the first series were by T. H. Nicholson and C. W. Sheeres.  Those to “Smiles and Tears,” by A. Crowquill, and those to “Substance and the Shadow” by Pearson.  Those to “Milly Moyne” are unsigned. “Who is to Win?” pictures are mainly by E. J. Skill, Del, and Linton, S.C.  Those to “Sowing and Gathering” are by John Swain and C. Green.  “False Steps” I am unable to trace the artist’s names.

When J. F. Smith rejoined the LONON JOURNAL in 1865, the proprietor purchased the copyrights of the stories which had been running through “Cassell’s Paper” for £1,000.  It is worth mentioning here that Mr. Wickhart, of 11, Gough Square, Fleet Street, now owns all the copyrights of the LONDON JOURNAL stories, and is in possession of most of the original wood blocks of Sir John Gilbert’s illustrations to Smith’s earlier stories.


Some Noted Names.

The stories from this date were by various authors, the first being “The Pearl of Orr’s Island,” by Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” which began in No. 164, vol. 7, January 19, 1861.  “Meghorn, or the One Terror,” by Ritter Bell, illustrated by J. Proctor, began in No. 169, and “The Maroon, or a Planter’s Life in Jamaica,” by Captain Mayne Reid, a fine tale of 128 chapters, illustrated by J. Swain and C. Green, began in No. 217, vol. 9, January 25, 1862.  “Contrast, or the Oak and the Bramble,” by Francis H. Keppel, which won a prize of £250, started in No. 240, vol. 10, July 5, 1862.  It also was illustrated by J. Swain and C. Green.  I may add for the benefit of lovers of Alexander Dumas’s romances that his “Royalists and Republicans, or the Companions of Jehu:  A Tale of the First Revolution,” furnished by the author exclusively for the English language to “Cassell’s Illustrated Family Paper,” appeared in vol. 4, first series.  In fact, the whole eighteen volumes abound in good things.  To lovers of chess there was a long series of problems, and the publication was conducted on first-class lines, suitable for all classes and readers.

Most of the tales and romances were afterwards reproduced in book form and had a great sale, but, like many others, they are now very scarce and much sought after.

I am proud of possessing the entire publication of “Cassell’s Illustrated Family Paper,” and regard it as one of the finest, most solid, and most sensible periodicals ever published.



“The Halfpenny Gazette” was a weekly illustrated Journal of Fiction, Science, and General Literature, but I cannot give the correct date for the first thirty numbers, as, unfortunately, the British Museum does not possess this periodical, nor any record of the same.  My series begins at “No. 31, vol. 2, Saturday, March 15, 1862.  New Series.  Price one halfpenny.”  The opening serial is “The Felon’s Daughter; or, Pamela’s Perils:  a romance of London, from the Palace to the Prison,” by G. W. Armitage.  The illustrations are very fine, but bear no names, marks, or signatures.  The tale ran to 78 chapters, and finished in No. 69, December 6, 1862.  The other serials were “The Coral Island:  or, The Hereditary Curse,” by G. W. M. Reynolds, from chapter 45 to the end, some of the illustrations being by H. Anely.  “The Coiner:  a Story of the Sessions,” in six chapters, no author mentioned.  The illustrations are apparently by the same artist as those to “The Felon’s Daughter.”

“The ‘United Service’; or, The Twin Brothers.  A Story of Liverpool and the last war.”  No author stated, but the illustrations (ten in number) are signed J. Gilbert, the engraver being Geo. Meason.  Another serial was “Onesta:  A Venetian Tale.”  Each number consists of eight pages, with three or four illustrations.  The proprietors were G. W. M. Reynolds and John Dicks.

On March 7, 1863, No. 1. vol. 1, New Series of the same title, was published.  The opening serial was “Effie Deans; or, The Lily of St. Leonards,” by George Armitage.  The illustrations bear no signature.  Another serial was “The Factory Girl:  A Story of her Affections.”  Another, “Alice Haddon:  or, The Wreckers.  A Story of the Coast.”  “The Lovers.  A Domestic Story,” “The Perils of Rose Templeton,” and one or two others.  The authors are not mentioned, and some of the illustrations are by “Williams.”

In No. 21, vol. 1, July 25, 1863, commences “The Daughter of Midnight; or, Mysteries of London Life,” by the author of “Ruth the Betrayer; or, The Female Spy,” (Edward Ellis) finely illustrated by Frederick Gilbert, brother of John Gilbert, and engraved by C. Bonner.  In No. 46, January 16, 1864, commenced “Rochester,” by J. F. Smith, illustrations engraved by C. Bonner, which, however, only ran to 38 chapters instead of the original 49.  In No. 64, vol. 2, May 21, 1864, commences “The Woman of the World,” by Lady Clara Cavendish (?) illustrated by Frederick Gilbert and C. Bonner.  In No. 90, Nov. 19, 1864, “A Blot on the Family Escutcheon,” by a popular author, illustrated by Edward H. Corbould and E. Hooper.  My copy of this periodical ends at No. 104, February 25, 1865.  Whether any more were published I do not know.  The work throughout was published by John Dicks and G. W. M. Reynolds, and was possibly a sideline to “Reynolds’s Miscellany.”



An Illustrated Weekly Journal of Recreation and Leisure (known as “THE HALFPENNY WELCOME GUEST”), was published on August 31, 1861, and ran to 173 numbers (5 vols.), the last date being December 17, 1864, when it was incorporated with No. 181, vol. 4, of “The Halfpenny Journal.”  The original “Welcome Guest” was published by Mr. Henry Vizetelly, as a kind of cross between THE LONDON JOURNAL and Dickens’s “All the Year Round,” but although commencing with a circulation of 120,000, it did not succeed in its purpose, and after losing between £2,000 and £3,000, Mr. Vizetelly sold it to Mr. John Maxwell (Miss Braddon’s husband), who also lost heavily upon it (about £2,000), but whether he converted it into “The Halfpenny Welcome Guest,” I am not able to say, although I am inclined to think he did, or was mainly interested in its new venture, and also “The Halfpenny Journal,” for it will be seen that several of his wife’s (Miss Braddon’s) romances, which afterwards became famous, appeared as serials in these periodicals; certain it is that her mother was the editor, as mentioned by Mr. G. R. Sims in his work, “My Life.”

Each number consisted of eight pages, usual quarto size, with three or four illustrations, and the publisher was George Vickers, Angel Court, Strand.  The opening serial was “Maritana, the Gipsy Girl:  or, The Poisoners of Madrid,” no author mentioned; some of the illustrations were apparently by French artists.  The second serial was “The Baddington Peerage:  Who Won and Who Wore it.—A Story of the best and the worst society,” by George Augustus Sala, illustrated by Phiz.  The next serial was “Jessie Ashton:  or, The Adventures of a Barmaid.  A Romance of Love and Crime.”  No author or artist mentioned.  In No. 7, March 1, 1862, commenced “Fanny Windham:  or, Modern Life in London,” by “Lord Claude Fortiscue.”  (This was evidently the pen-name of some anonymous author).  The illustrations were by a French artist, at least they have a decidedly “French tone.”  Another fine romance, “The Demons of the Sea:  A Tale of the Spanish Main,” by the author of “Hunted to Death,” etc., commenced in No. 45, July 5, 1863.  This was also illustrated by French artists.  “Recollections of a London Detective Police Officer” ran in the volume, and makes excellent reading.  “The Black Farm:  or, The Idiot Witness,” by “Lord Claude Fortiscue,” commenced in No. 52, vol. 1, August 23, 1862.

It is remarkable how many tales and romances about this period were of the “Black” order.  There was the “Black Hand,” the “Black Band,” and here we have the “Black Farm.”  It was illustrated by the same sort of artists previously mentioned.  In No. 68, vol. 2, December 13, 1862, commenced a most thrilling romance entitled “Dark Deeds:  or, The Secret of the Red Robe,” by the author of “Maritana:  or, The Poisoners of Madrid.”  The illustrations were of the same Frenchy character, some of them being engraved by H. Delaville and J. H. Beaule.  The other serials were “The Gold Fiend:  or, Steps in the Path of Crime” (author not mentioned) and the usual French illustrations.  In No. 101, August 1, 1863, commenced “Isabel’s Vengeance:  A Romance of London Life,” by the author of “The Black Farm,” “Fanny Windham,” etc.  (We shall find out the name of this author presently).  The illustrations are good, one or two being suspiciously akin to “Phiz’s” style.  The engraver is John Swain, presumably the founder of the now well-known firm of engravers.  One other serial I wish to mention is “The Silver Arrow:  an Indian Tale,” by Percy B. St. John, illustrated by some of Julian Portch’s best work, a distinct contrast to the other illustrations, which have the appearance of having been selected haphazardly from a job lot of stock blocks.  There were a considerable number of matrimonial advertisements or notices in the Correspondence pages.  I give two as fair specimens.

“James Bradley (Liverpool) asks for some faithful and loving heart that he could call his own.  Age eighteen, medium height, fair, and good tempered; well-educated, and when of age will inherit some property.  Would like the young lady to be well-educated and respectable.—Address, James Bradley, Post Office, 8, Fox Street, Liverpool.”

“M. I. Begs us to recommend her to notice.  She is a domestic servant, age 24, 5 feet 3 inches in height, fair, light blue eyes, wavy hair, passable in looks, and has no money; would prefer a respectable mechanic, a few years older than herself, as she has a horror of being an old maid.”

Let us sincerely hope that these two candidates found the partners in life they wished for.  There is no doubt that the publicity enabled many bashful swains to find partners.  It goes to prove the use that some of these “Old Periodicals” were put to.  This periodical ceased with No. 173, vol. 5, December 17, 1864, when it became incorporated with “The Halfpenny Journal.”


December 28, 1918.



“The Halfpenny Journal:  A Magazine for all who can Read,” published by Ward and Lock, 1861 to 1865.—This periodical consisted of eight pages, usual size, with three, and sometimes four, illustrations.  No. 1, July 1, 1861, and onwards, was made famous because the opening serial was entitled “The Black Band, or the Mysteries of Midnight,”

by Lady Caroline Lascelles, the pen name of Miss Braddon, the celebrated authoress, who also contributed “The White Phantom,” “The Octoroon,” “The Factory Girl, or All is not Gold that Glitters” (my authority being the announcement “by the author of ‘The Black Band’”); “The Banker’s Secret” and “Oscar Bertrand” were also by Miss Braddon.  Most of these romances are of great length, running practically after each other through the entire publication.  Other serials were “Ethel Grey, or Alone in the World,” by W. Stephens Hayward (most of the illustrations were signed R. P., presumably Richard Prowse); “Stella; or, The Grave on the Sands,” by the author of “Cottage Girl,” “Duke’s Motto, or the Little Parisian,” by Paul Levall, illustrated by Dumont and Carbolineau; “Come Weal Come Woe:  A Tale of the Affections,” by Lady Esther Hope (pen name of Percy B. St. John, the real author of “The Blue Dwarf”), illustrated by J. Portch, W. Manning, W. Armstrong and some French artists; “Raymond’s Doom, or the Golden Spell,” author of “Under the Shadow”; “The Fair Witch,” “Margaret’s Fortune:  A Tale of the Affections,” by the author of “Once Wooed, Twice Won” (Mrs. Margaret Blount); “Three Times Dead, or the Trail of the Serpent” (no author; some of the illustrations were signed R. P.); “Winning a Baronet, or a Woman’s Wrong,” by Charles Obbign, author of “The Zingara”; “The Guilty Heir, or All for Money,” by the author of “The Compact”; “Wandering in the Dark,” by the author of “Stella.”  The illustrations on the whole were of a cosmopolitan character, Miss Braddon’s tales being illustrated by French artists and a few by R. P., but all were fairly good and worthy of comment.

The Correspondence Pages of this Periodical simply teem with matrimonial advertisements or notices, similar to those in the “Halfpenny Welcome Guest.”  They are of the same character as the specimens previously given, and require no further comment, except to say that it was quite the fashion and rule in those days to seek a companion in life through the medium of advertisements.

John Proctor drew the illustrations to one or two, if not more, of the serials.  At any rate his signature appears on several belonging to the romance, “False and True,” in vol. 4, the engraver’s name being Battershall.

One of the most thrilling serials was “The White Phantom,” by the author of “The Black Band” (Miss Mary Elizabeth Braddon).  This commenced in No. 48, May 26, 1862.  There were also series of stories exceedingly interesting, under the heading of “Under the Lamps; or, The New Mysteries of London,” in No. 33, and a series of well-drawn sketches entitled, “Sights and Scenes of London Life,” depicting the different phases and happenings of the period.  With No. 34, February 17, 1862, there was presented a “special Saint Valentine number,” announced as containing “a vast choice of Humorous Comic, and Sentimental Valentines, made bright with pictures and fragrant with love.”  Such an announcement in any present-day publication would be laughed at and ridiculed, but “Valentines” were all the fashion in those far-off days.

“The Halfpenny Journal” ran to 245 numbers, vol. 5, when it became incorporated with No. 236, vol. 10, of the new series of “The London Herald” and “English Girls’ Journal” Saturday, March 10, 1866.



A Journal of Entertainment and Instruction for all our readers.

This periodical was published by Norman Wilks, 1, Toy Lane, London, in August, 1861.  Only 29 numbers of this periodical are in the British Museum, the last being dated February 11, 1862.  It was a rather commonplace publication, and calls for little comment.  Another publication bearing the title of



A Weekly Journal for all Readers,

was published by H. Lea, Paternoster Row, No. 1 being dated Saturday, July 6, 1861.  It consisted of eight quarto pages, but was afterwards increased to 16, and it had three or four wood-cut illustrations.  Some of the serials were “The Artist’s Bride, or The Pawnbroker’s Heir;” “Cavaliers and Roundheads;” “Captain Wilde’s Gang, or the Mysteries of The Black Boy Close” (by the author of “Very Hard Times,” “The Murdered Wife,” etc.), “The Death March, or The Gypsy’s Revenge;” “Morgan, the Mail Robber, or The Bandits of the Bush;” “Bohemian Life in London,” by Waters, author of “Recollections of a Detective Officer,” “The Ocean Knight,” “The Guardian Wife,” “Out of Darkness into Light,” etc., all of a most sensational nature.  The correspondence columns have the usual matrimonial advertisements.  I give one as a sample:

“Alice H. (Islington) thinks ‘Harry” would suit her, as she has turned 18 and is entitled to a fortune of £200 per annum, of which she comes into possession on her wedding day.  She is five feet high, hazel-eyed, with dark brown hair and a clear complexion.  Alice has also a fine figure, she is accomplished being mistress of three languages, plays, sings, and draws.”

What a pity such a “capture” was obliged to advertise herself.

On September 16, 1865, “The Halfpenny Miscellany” blossomed into



with the same features, correspondence, matrimonial advertisements, etc., as its predecessors.  It suddenly became famous and enjoyed an immense circulation when Captain Mayne Reid’s splendid and thrilling romance “The Headless Horseman,” a strange tale of Texas, appeared in No. 148, Volume 3, July 11, 1868, and ran to 100 chapters, finishing in No. 168, November 28, the same year.  Some of the illustrations were by R. J. Hämerton and John Swain, and the tale was afterwards issued in book form and had a large sale.  The numbers of the “Miscellany” containing the tale are exceedingly scarce and much sought after by collectors.  Some of the serials were “Love wins the Day, or Treachery Defeated,” “The White Wizard,” “The Race for Life,” “The Murder in the Glen, or The Last of the Accursed,” “Basil Hamilton, or The Returned Convict,” “The Neglected Wife, or Justice and Misery,” “The White Gauntlet,” by Captain Mayne Reid, illustrated by “Webbe”; “Life in a Workhouse,” by a contributor to “London Labour and London Poor;” “Gaveston’s Heir, or Caught in the Toils,” “Eustace the Outcast,” “The Perils of Love, or The Locksmith’s Daughter,” by the author of “Nobody’s Child,” “The Woman in the Iron Cage,” “Hearts that Suffer,” etc.; “London after Dark,” “Grace Greenwood, or Lost in London,” “The Disguised Trapper,” by Captain Carleton; “Cecil’s Fatal Love,” “The Ensign’s Wife,” by the author of “Gravestone Without a Name,” etc.; “The Babies in the Cliff,” by J. A. E. (?); “The Gipsy Queen,” by author of “Shadows on the River,” “Jane Shore,” etc.; “The Stepmother’s Hate,” by John Holloway; “Alice Blake, or The Old Ferry House,” “The Lady in Green, or The Haunted Castle,” “Nora, or The Irish Heirs,” a sequel to “Handy Andy;” and many more of such startling titles, all of which were illustrated with the usual wood-cuts, some being very crude, and very few being signed.  I do not know how many numbers or volumes were published.  The British Museum only possesses Volumes 1, 2, and 3.  My own collection runs to No. 201, Volume 4, July 17, 1869.



A Weekly Magazine for Every Home.

Afterwards entitled “The Halfpenny Cottage Journal.”

This periodical was published on September 18, 1861, by R. Beard, Brunswick Place, City Road, consisting of the usual eight quarto pages.  The first 17 numbers were not illustrated.  The tales and romances were “The Old Boat Builder, or The Lost Heir Found,” “Amy Lawrence, The Freemason’s Daughter,” by J. F. Smith, with very ordinary illustrations; “The Council of Twelve,” “The Shadow of a Woman’s Crime,” “The Robber Chief,” “The Red Pirate,” “The Countess, or The Iron Cross, a tale of high and low life,” “The Smugglers’ Revenge, or The Marquis’s Daughter, a true tale of land and sea,” all of which were illustrated by (unsigned) wood-cuts.  Altogether it was a respectable sort of publication, and had no correspondence pages, no matrimonial advertisements or notices.  It ceased publication with No.71, Volume 2, January 28, 1863.  Copies of this periodical are very rare and seldom met with, the reason doubtless being its very short life.



“The Farthing Journal of Literature, Instruction, and Amusement” was printed and published by Edward Elliott, 14, Holywell Street, Strand, in 1840.  It was a weekly periodical, consisting of four pages, size 7 3/8 in. by 4 3/8 in., and ran to 44 numbers.  Each other number was embellished with a small wood-cut illustration, and the contents consisted of short tales, domestic matters, poetry and small articles, but no corespondents’ pages.



A Pearl of Small Price, but a Great Literary Curiosity, by Jeremy Queen, of Lincoln’s Inn.

This is the full title of another periodical printed and published by B. D. Cousins, 13, Duke Street, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, in 1841, and ran to 66 numbers, each number consisting of four pages, size 8 7/8 in. by 5 5/8 in., illustrated with very quaint wood-cuts which occupy half the front page of each number.  The contents consists of a serial entitled “The Fortunes of Anna Temple and her Brother Ned,” a story of Whetstone Park, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, by the editor, which begins in No. 1 and ends in No. 38; followed by “Brulart, the Black Pirate, or Attas Gull;” short, chatty articles, anecdotes, poetry, tales, sketches and correspondence; and “The Farthing Post Bag”—altogether a most unique and interesting publication.  It is really remarkable that such a periodical could have been produced and published at so small a price, especially at a period when the tax on paper was so heavy; and I should imagine that the knowledge that a periodical was really published for the smallest circulating coin of the realm will be an “eye-opener” and revelation to many persons.  It does not seem possible that such could have been done and to be such a capital production, especially at a period when the ways and means for production were limited.  I doubt whether the thing could be done nowadays.

On the last page of No. 66 appears the following notice:  “Old Jerry’s farewell to his readers and correspondents.—My dear friends,—I now close ‘The Farthing Journal.’  I thank you kindly for the support you have given me.  I think you will believe me when I tell you that I leave you not much richer in purse than I was when I first introduced myself to your notice as an author.  Certainly it is pleasing to me to know the my Pearl of Small Price has paid its expenses.  This, my publisher says, is almost a wonder in literature, for on the average only one book or periodical out of a hundred ever covers its expenses of printing, publishing and advertising.  I have lost nothing but my editorial labour by ‘The Farthing Journal,’ and even for that I have yet hope to get a little pay, as I have caused the works to be stereotyped, so that it will be a standard book in English literature, and I hope occasionally be sought for as a literary curiosity.  I also hope my readers will recommend it to their friends, at the same time informing them that it will never be out of print, that they can procure it in numbers at a farthing or two numbers for a halfpenny, in six parts at twopence each, or in a handsome volume bound in cloth, gilt-lettered, at two shillings.

“My dear friends,—Having said thus much for ‘The Farthing Journal,’ allow me to introduce you to a new literary acquaintance.  My Pearl of small Price will be succeeded by a Pearl of Great Price, for it is from the pen of a most eminent author, a gentleman of high literary attainment.  It will cost you (do not be alarmed) four times the price of ‘The Farthing Journal’—it will cost you one penny.  It is entitled ‘The Cross Roads.’  No. 1 will appear next week, and contain, besides eight pages of closely-printed letterpress, an emblematical wrapper and two superb engravings on beautiful tinted paper.

“And now, my dear children, I take leave of you all, wishing you health and happiness.  Take care you look at No. 1.  Only consider for a moment what a vast association of ideas is concentrated in the three important words—‘The Cross Roads.’  Therefore, be sure to ask for No. 1 next week.  May ‘The Cross Roads’ lead you on to virtue, fame and prosperity is the wish of your diminutive old friend, JEREMY QUEEN.”

And so ends “The Farthing Journal.”  I am proud of being the possessor of a copy of the two shilling volume mentioned, and consider myself very fortunate indeed to have been able to add such a great literary curiosity to my collection of old periodicals.  I believe copies are exceedingly scarce.


January 4, 1919.


I propose to leave for a time what I may term the more sensational periodicals, and deal with those which were in a more or less sense sentimental.  My first shall be the well-known and highly respected


A Weekly Magazine of General Literature.

Such was the full title of the first series, and the records in the British Museum read:  “Bow Bells,” a magazine of general literature, illustrated by eminent artists.  New series, 47 volumes, London, 1865-87, quarto, continued as “Bow Bells Weekly.”  New series, volumes 1-36, 1888-96 continued as “Bow Bells,” a journal for the home.  No more published.  Some more (four numbers) were issued in February and March, 1897, bearing this title.

Unfortunately the British Museum does not possess copies of the first series, which fact is rather singular.  I, however, have the two volumes forming the first series, complete, and in good order.  The first number is dated November 12, 1862, and the last (no. 90), Volume 2, July 27, 1864.  This series consists of large pages, 10½ in. by 14½ in., and each number of eight pages, and is exceedingly well illustrated.

The opening serial is entitled “The Queen’s Musketeers, or The Days of Charles the Second,” and no author is given, a feature that prevails with a few exceptions throughout “Bow Bells,” neither are the illustrations signed as far as I have been able to trace, but they are very fine.  The other serials are “Woman’s Worth,” by Eliza Winstanley, “The Zingara Girl, or Fifty Years Ago,” a romance.  This is illustrated by Phiz beyond a doubt, for his name appears on one or two of them, and the whole are in his inimitable style.  The other serial in Volume 1 is “The Chimes, or the Broken Heart,” by the author of “Leonard Leigh.”  Those in Volume 2 are “The Seven Sisters, or The Steel Caps,” an historical tale; “A Year and a Day, or the Bell of the Village;” “Kate Kearney, or The Lakes of Killarney;” “Dora Roversdale, a Tale of Sorrow;” and “Love Against the World, a Modern Romance,” all of which end in the volume.  The volumes were published by John Dicks, 313, Strand.

Number 1, Volume 1 of the new series was published on Wednesday, August 3, 1864 and consisted of twenty-four pages quarto (usual size), and contained fine illustrations, the portrait of “Eliza Cook” (the poetess), some designs for embroidery, window curtains, etc., and a sheet or page of music, the “Bow Bells Waltz” by W. H. Montgomery.

The opening serial was entitled “Twenty Straws” by the author of “Woman’s Worth;” “The Discarded Wife, a Romance of the Affections,” by the author of “The Chimes.”  The next to follow was “Doctor Pomeroy, a Story of a Sister’s Love,” by the author of “Alone in the World;” “Rosalie Rathbone, or Sin and Sorrow,” by the same author; “Dick Whittington, thrice Lord Mayor of London” (no author); “Poor Genevieve;” “Blue Bells of Scotland,” and “The Mistress of Hawk’s Crag,” by the author of “Twenty Straws.”

These comprise the serials in the first volume.  It would be too great a task for me to attempt to enumerate the scores upon scores of tales, stories and romances that run through the succeeding volumes; suffice to say that they were all of sterling worth, many became famous and were reproduced in book form by the publisher, Mr. John Dicks, and form part of his “Library of Standard Works,” “People’s Edition,” etc.  There was one romance, however, that I will give in detail (for the benefit of those interested), which was somewhat above the ordinary class.  I refer to “The Young Cavalier, or the Days of Cromwell,” by the author of “Bound by a Spell.”  It appeared in No. 449, Volume 18, March, 1873.  The opening section (page 145) was called “The Poem,” and “The Prologue,” October 30, 1618, appeared in No. 450; “The Romance,” Book the First, in No. 457; Book the Second, 1848-49, in No. 460, and “The Epilogue” in No. 464, ending at page 521, so that Volume 18 (No. 433, January 22, to No. 468, July 16, 1873) contains the whole romance.

“Nobody’s Fortune,” by Edmund Yates, announced to appear in “The Million,” appeared in Volume 14, “Bow Bells,” No. 353, May 3, 1871.  It was afterwards published in the three-volume form, and was for a long time in great demand, especially at the public libraries.

I trust these details will be of some service to many inquirers.  One particular outstanding feature of “Bow Bells” was the long and complete series of “Views, History and Description of the Castles and Abbeys of the United Kingdom,” afterwards collected and published in book form.  “Bow Bells” was a periodical eminently suited for the home.  It contained something to interest, instruct and entertain all connected with the home, from the grand-parents down to the latest baby.  It was a sound and sensible periodical in every respect.  It is now scarce.  Odd volumes if offered for sale are immediately snapped up.  The editor would not allow any matrimonial notices and advertisements to appear in its pages, but gave good advice and offered counsel to all who applied for assistance in the correspondents’ pages.

The principal illustrations to “Bow Bells,” especially the earlier volumes, were drawn by Frederick Gilbert, brother to John Gilbert, and included “Claude Duval,” by Ainsworth; “Talbot Harland,” by the same author; “Brent Hall,” by Margaret Blount; “The Pilgrims of the Rhine,” by author of “Pelham,” “Eugene Aram,” etc.

Little in known concerning Frederick Gilbert.  There is no record of him in “Boase’s” or the “National Dictionary of Biography,” but a reply in “Notes and Queries,” November 3, 1900 by Mr. Ralph Thomas, states:  “Frederick Gilbert was a brother of Sir John Gilbert, in whose house at Blackheath, he lived.  Though a skilful draughtsman, he left off practicing his profession many years before he died.  I believe it was difficult to distinguish his work from that of his brother’s.  His death occurred on March 26, 1902, in his 75th year, and he is buried in the family vault in Lewisham Cemetery, Ladywell.”

I have referred in previous articles to the most important of the old-time periodicals—i.e., those which obtained a large circulation amongst the people, but there are many others which deserve mentioning, for they denote the gradual change that came over the periodical publishing world.  From the fine old stories of J. F. Smith and his contemporary authors the quality gradually deteriorated until we reach the journals of the eighties, with their sentimental love stories.

One of the early periodicals which commanded a large sale was published at a halfpenny, and was entitled



A Journal of Entertaining Literature, with Illustrations.

This ran from July 7, 1869, to Volume 54, and expired on February 28, 1896, when it was incorporated with “Bow Bells.”  Truly a long and honourable record.  “Every Week” was entirely given over to tales, stories, and romances, and these must have totaled many hundreds in the fifty-four volumes.  It was published by John Dicks, 313, Strand.

No. 1, July 7, 1869, opened with a thrilling romance, “Two Hundred Thousand Pounds,” and was followed by “My Creole Lover,” “The Rompet Skeleton,” “Maggie’s Legacy,” and “Footprints of Time, or The Hand of Destiny,” and other serials.

Each number consisted of eight pages and three illustrations.  Few volumes or numbers are to be found now for the reason that it was seldom collected and bound up in volumes by its readers.  It was a particular favourite with sailors and the seafaring classes.  The tales were of a varied character and not too long, and it had no correspondents’ pages, consequently no matrimonial “Adverts.”  Its last number was 1,303, dated February 28, 1896.


In 1864 was published No. 1 of the


An Illustrated Magazine.

It was a first-class publication, one of its chief attractions being the coloured plates of the fashions in the dress of the day which were given away with its monthly parts and volumes.  Looking through these to-day they are most grotesque, for the crinoline was then in fashion, and one wonders how the ‘buses of those days seated six a side, when one hoop and skirt was often big enough to fill the ‘bus.

The “Young Ladies’ Journal” may be said to have got married, for she had a companion in



An illustrated Magazine of Literature, Information and Amusement.

This was first published on November 1, 1869 but although splendid coloured plates, most interesting supplements, and other generous gifts were given away with it, the periodical ran to only 150 numbers, the last number being dated the latter end of September, 1872, when it was submerged with the number 436, Vol. 9, of “The Young Ladies’ Journal.”

Both periodicals were published by E. Harrison and Edward Viles (author of “Black Bess, or The Knight of the Road”), at Merton House, Salisbury Square, E. C.

In 1871 a publisher appeared on the horizon in Mr. E. J. Brett, who later attained much notoriety as the most abused man in Fleet Street.  In fact, it was almost a crime for a boy to be seen with one of his books.  By the goody-goody people they were termed pennorths of blood, although, as a matter of fact, the stories he published were, comparatively speaking, “Sunday school tales” alongside many of the present-day “sensations.”  Mr. Brett’s first attempt to court the patronage of the public was



A Journal for the single and married of the United Kingdom.

No. 1 consisted of the usual sixteen pages, containing three or four well-executed illustrations and was dated January 1, 1871.  The opening serial was entitled “Bless Her Heart,” by James Greenwood; the second “Left to Her Fate,” by the author of “The Cottage Girl;” the third “The Broken Wedding Ring,” by Charles H. Ross; another later on was “A Wife for a Week,” by E. J. B.—presumably Mr. Brett himself—but with these few exceptions no further authors’ names appear.

This periodical soon became a great favourite.  It was not a namby-pamby production by any means, but was well conducted by its publisher in his usual business-like manner.  “The Fashions of the Day” was on of its main features, and beyond a “Cupid’s Corner,” devoted to poetry, there was little to distinguish it from other first-class periodicals of its period.  It contained no matrimonial advertisements.

Its companion, “The Wedding Ring,” price one halfpenny, was published on March 17, 1871, but did not survive long.  Both publications are now rather scarce and seldom met with.



There were quite a number of periodicals issued from 1870 onwards, but as they lasted a very short time, they are only entitled to a short review.  All the same, many of them are extremely rare and copies of them should command a good price from collectors.  The first to come under notice is—

“THE MILLION,” a family journal of literature, science, and art, for the home circle.  No. 1,Vol. 1, of which was published on February 12, 1870.  It consisted of the usual sixteen pages quarto, with three or four illustrations, and was published at 9, Fetter Lane, E.C.  Many writers who afterwards became famous contributed to its pages.  For example, the opening serial was “Life in a Workhouse,” by James Greenwood (The Amateur Casual), illustrated by J. Barnard.  The title was afterwards altered to “The Model Guardian.”  The second serial was “Black Sheep,” by Edmund Yates, author of ““Broken to Harness,” “The Rock Ahead,” etc.  The third was “Delilah, or The Little House in Piccadilly,” by Maurice Connell.  The fourth was “Lord Casleon’s Retribution,” by the author of “Dark Deeds; or, The Secret of the Red Robe,” etc.  The fifth was “The Spies of London; or, The Companions of the Temple,” by Bracebridge Hemyng (Jack Harkaway), author of “Back from the Grave,” “The Marvel of Manhood,” “Secrets of Society,” etc., who also contributed “The Coil of the Snake; or, Sir Jasper Kemble’s Plot.”  The sixth was “Glad Eyes; or, The Earl and the Outcast,” by Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth, author of “The Hidden Hand,” “Brandon of Brandon,” “The Fatal Marriage,” etc.  The seventh, “The Sundered Hearts,” by Mrs. Harriet Lewis, author of “The Double Life,” etc.  The eighth, “The Cotters of Mossburn,” by Ben Brierley, author of “Tales and Sketches of Lancashire Life.”  A full-page sized portrait of Mr. Ben Brierley was given away with No. 23 of the publication, and a column and three-quarters biographical sketch of his life and attainments appeared in the same issue, by which I see that he was not only a Lancashire man, but a man from Manchester.

This serial is not completed in my last copy No. 25, July 30, 1870.  Neither does a long-announced story called “Nobody’s Fortune,” by Edmund Yates appear.  Whether the publication continued or came to an abrupt conclusion, I do not know, for the British Museum does not possess a copy or record; at least I have, so far, not been able to trace it, and my copy is the only one I have seen.

It was a well-conducted, clean, and smart periodical; but I suppose it was crowded out by the more weighty and influential periodicals of the day.

Amongst the other short-lived periodicals of the period was—

“THE GIRL OF THE PERIOD MISCELLANY,” which was published in monthly parts, only nine of which saw the light of day, No. 1, March, to No. 9, November, 1869.  Those in the British Museum consist of 306 pages, size 8 inches by 10¾ inches, well illustrated.  It was an attractive periodical of good style, and of an amusing nature, and was published at 342, Strand, W.C., but apparently “the girl of the period” did not take to it.

Another literary child was “THE YOUNG ENGLISHWOMAN,” a Magazine of Fiction, Fashion, etc., 1865-66; 8vo., four vols.  Ditto, new series, three vols., 1867-69.  Ditto, new series, eight vols., 1870-77.  [New series:  14 vol. London, 1878-91. 4o.]  Continued as “Sylvia’s Journal,” one vol., 1892, 4to.  New series, No. 1 to 24, [1893-94].  This was a high-toned publication, with no illustrations, and is now very rarely met with.  [See also Frank Jay’s notes on “Sylvia’s Journal” in the instalment for November 6, 1920.]

“THE LONDON SATURDAY JOURNAL,” although I have not mentioned it before, was one of the earliest candidates for popular favour, but it died in its infancy.  It was first published on January 5, 1839, and went to No. 78, June 27, 1840.  Published by W. Smith, 113, Fleet St.  Contained no illustrations.  Nos. 79 to 104, Vol. 4, December 20, same year, had thirty-four engravings on wood.  The new series, No. 1, January 2, 1841, to No. 86, vol. 4, August 27, 1842, was conducted by James Grant, and each number had one illustration on the front page.  It was continued as “Grant’s London Journal,” but had no illustrations.  I mention these details because I am of opinion it led up to the publication of the celebrated LONDON JOURNAL.

The following are brief notes of the other papers I have traced.

“THE HALFPENNY LONDON JOURNAL,” No. 1, Vol. 1, March 18, 1848, to No. 15, June 24, 1848; 126 pages, size 6 7/8 in. by 9½ in.; no illustrations, a rather tame production.

“LONDON BELLS,” a weekly miscellany of general literature.  No. 1, Vol. 1 published November 9, 1872; ran to No. 20, March 22, 1873.  Contained a capital serial entitled, “Born in the Streets,” a tale of London Life, by Alfred R. Phillips.  Another, “Heart Strings and Purse Strings,” (no author), and “Love at First Sight,” by Shafto Scott.  Published by H. Pearce, 2, Shoe Lane, E.C.  A capital publication after the style of “The Gentleman’s Journal.”  The file in the British Museum is minus Nos. 13, 18, and 19, and is marked “in progress,” but I believe it was discontinued after No. 20.

“THE ILLUSTRATED PEOPLE’S PAPER,” in which is incorporated “The True Briton.”  One part (April to June, 1854), only, in the British Museum.

January 11, 1919

“THE LONDON PENNY JOURNAL,” from May 12 to July 7, 1832.  Published by W. Strange, Paternoster Row.  A very ordinary publication, and calls for no special comment.

“THE YOUNG LADIES OF GREAT BRITAIN,” a weekly journal, apparently began somewhere about 1869, for the first I have discovered was Vol. 4, No. 129—Vol. 6, No. 154; August 5, 1871, to January 27, 1872.  There is no Vol. 5; Vol. 4 ends with No. 132, August 26, 1871; Vol. 6 begins with No. 133, September 2, 1871.  From September, 1871, the four weekly numbers are also issued with “Dress and Fashion,” which from that date took the title “Young Ladies of Great Britain Dress and Fashion.”  Such is the official description of this very rare periodical.  The number consists of the usual sixteen pages (quarto), with three illustrations—price one penny.  Published by Wyman and Sons, Lincoln’s Inn Steam Printing Works, 74-75, Great Queen Street.  Trade supplied by George Vickers, Angel Court, Strand, London.  It was an ordinary periodical, and calls for little comment.  I have given full details as obtainable to assist those enquirers who are under the impression that it was the companion journal to E. J. Brett’s famous “Young Men of Great Britain.”  It resembles the “Gentlemen’s Journal” in many respects more than the former.

There followed several other periodicals, such as “Something to Read,” published by E. J. Brett, with which that enterprising publisher presented a complete novellette every week.  It had a large sale.  He also published another good “seller” in “The Princess Novellette.”  Dicks came out with “Bow Bells Novellette,” and I also remember “The Family Novelist,” “Illustrated London Novellette,” and several others, but they are of more modern date, and do not quite come under the notice of the present review.

It will be seen that the subject of “Old Periodicals” is a large and interesting one.  The publications themselves take no small share in the history of our national literature, more especially in the matter of the illustrations, for the old style engraving on wood is nearly “a thing of the past.”  Whether the present-day periodicals will ever attain the same popularity and interest is beyond me to say, but I very greatly doubt their doing so.  To begin with, the present-day paper, being of the cheapest possible quality, will not wear at all long.  It is poor, very poor, alongside some, in fact most of that used for the old periodicals—many of these in fact were printed on really good paper—more like parchment, and even today it is a pleasure to handle them.  The mysteries of wood pulp had not then been discovered, consequently rags entered largely into the manufacture of the paper of the forties to the eighties of the 19th century.


I have been favoured by Cedric Bonnell, of Nottingham, with the following notes about a periodical which does not appear in my collection:—


Was the concise and comprehensive title of a bright little illustrated weekly that commenced its career on September 27, 1855.  It consisted of 24 pages in double column, the size about royal 8vo, and the first thirteen numbers comprising Vol. I. (312 pages), were priced one halfpenny each; a remarkably cheap production, having regard to its meritorious compilation.

Published by John Dicks, 313, Strand, it was one of that enterprising worthy’s bold bids for a still wider popularity; though with No. 14 (December 27, 1865), the price had to be thenceforward raised to a penny, the number of pages at the same time being increased to thirty-two.

I possess the first three volumes of this periodical, well illustrated by F. Gilbert and R. Huttula, the last number (33, Vols. II and III, comprising but ten numbers each) being dated May 9, 1866.  It was very capably edited by Mrs. Eliza Winstanley, who wrote many of the shorter stories therein.

“Fair and False, or, The Mystery of Gurdlestone Chase,” completed in 26 chapters, was the principal serial of Vol. I., “The Secret Drawer” (18 chapters) of Vol. II., and “More Sinned Against than Sinning” (20 chapters) of Vol. III.  These serials may possibly also have been penned by the industrious lady editor, though they are not thus specifically sponsored, as is the case with many of the shorter tales.  They are instead described as “by the author of ‘The Pearl of Savoy,’ ‘Blanche of Castile,’ ‘The Farmer’s Daughter,’” etc.

One feature of these volumes which merits passing allusion is a fine sequence of romantic traditions of the old Rhineland castles, full of their Teutonic diablerie, purveyed by the editress herself.  Some ten years later, a similar series, “Legends of the Hartz Mountains,” ran their eerie course as blood-curdlers and hair-lifters in Brett’s “Boys of England,” as I retain lively remembrance.

“Through the winter and the summer both, your companion I will be,” was the quotation bedecking the neat little title-head of each issue of “Fiction,” which its proprietor, in announcing the completion of a volume “containing 320 pages, with 40 illustrations, price 1s. 3d.,” heralded, not without some show of reason, I opine, as “A Marvel in Literature,” and “the cheapest book ever issued from the British press.”



I now propose to give a brief history of the origin and development of Boys’ Periodicals and literature.

I am led to do so by the great interest that has arisen through my previous articles dealing with old-time general periodicals.  It is remarkable how many readers and collectors there are of the literature of their youthful days, but I have not yet found two alike in their tastes, fancies and dislikes.  Some are intensely keen upon George Emmett’s, Charles Fox’s, Edwin J. Brett’s, Dacre Clarke’s, Kitchen, E. Harcourt Burrage, and Ralph Rollington’s publication, more than upon others, but all take a keen delight in reading any account of the publication.

As a favourite I place the celebrated “Jack Harkaway” series, and as a second the equally celebrated “Tom Wildrake’s Schooldays,” followed by “The Boys of Bircham School,” “The Scapegrace,” (Dick Lightheart), “Shot and Shell,” “Ned Nimble,” and last, but not by any means the least, the wonderful “Ching Ching” series.

Some old boys prefer the Highwayman series and are exceedingly keen upon them; others the Schoolboy series, others stories of adventure, exploration, discovery, and not a few of the stories of martial character, whilst those of a nautical nature come in for a very large following.

I therefore propose to give a brief review of the many Old Boys’ Periodicals and their chief contents, to remind the old readers and refresh their minds as to what they read in their far-off boyhood days.  The earliest publication (as far as my researches go), was



subsequently changed to “The Youth’s Magazine; or, Evangelical Miscellany.”  It was first published in 1817, and ran till 1855, 39 vols.  It was a very quiet and sedate affair.  The next in order was the “Youth’s Miscellany; or, Monthly Visitor,” in 1823, but it only ran to 3 vols., followed by the “Young Men’s Companion; or Youth’s Instructor,” all of which were 12mo. monthly magazines with a few wood-cut illustrations.

What was practically the first boys’ periodical was a publication called



in quarto sheets, 8 pages to a number, printed in double column and published in 1832.  The British Museum only possesses Nos. 9, 17, 18, so I cannot give more particulars beyond that No. 9 had a rude coloured picture of the Seven Champions of Christendom, and the general tone is of a semi-religious character.  I doubt whether copies of the complete work exist, but it is only an historical item, as being the first penny weekly publication of its kind.


In 1853 the


appeared, but only ran to one volume.  The next was



1856, incorporated with Beeton’s “Boys’ Own Magazine” in 1857.  Then came the



1857-59.  Afterwards the title was changed to “The Companion for Youth,” but only ran till 1860.  In 1858 appeared the



but it only ran to nine numbers, and in 1859 the “Boys’ Own Times and News of the World,” the first boys’ newspaper ever published, which ran to twelve numbers, quarto, 8 pages, illustrated with small wood-cuts.


In May, 1856, appeared


published monthly, ending December, 1857, continuing as “Young England’s Illustrated Newspaper,” until December, 1861; afterwards continued as “Young England,” 1862-65, 4to, 8 pages; afterwards increased to 12 pages, well illustrated with wood-cuts, portraits, views, etc.

In 1865 appeared the “Boys’ Companion and British Traveller,” which ran to 35 numbers and became incorporated with the “Boys’ Own Reader and Companion,” when that Journal was published in January, 1866.  My copies run to No. 23, June 5, 1866.  Whether it was published beyond that date I do not know, for the British Museum has no record after No. 16.  It is a fine publication, royal 8vo., 16 pages, and contains some good serials, well illustrated, and edited by the Rev. G. D’Arcy Irvine, M.A.

All of the foregoing publications were of a semi-religious or non-sensational nature.  The contents were for the most part of what may be termed a mild character, wholesome and solid reading, and good practical advice.  Their chief supporters were the scholars at the Public schools, the gentry, and the middle class youths of the day.

Other publications similar in character, and more widely known, published at this period, were:—



8 vols., 1855-62; a new series of this (also known as the “Boys’ Own Volume”) 1863-70, “Boys’ Annual,” 7 vols., 1870-74, the “Boys’ Yearly Book, or Boys’ Penny Magazine,” 1864-68.  Altogether Beeton’s publications for boys ran for twenty years, but they require some understanding, for, although the titles are changed, the contents are practically the same, principally because, after Beeton’s failure in business, they were published by the firm who purchased Beeton’s business, and were re-published by them.



Eleven vols. and two numbers of Vol. 12, 1863-71, form a splendid small library in themselves.  They contain romances, tales and stories of sterling merit, by such well-known authors as Captain Mayne Reid, Percy B. St. John, W. Stephens Hayward, and Jules Verne, exceedingly well illustrated by Howard, Prowse, etc.  Amongst them will be found “Up in the Air and Down in the Sea,” by W. S. Hayward, which practically foretold the advent of the aeroplane and submarine, the achievements of which we all know, some to our deep sorrow.  Considering that the tale was written over fifty years ago, it is remarkable that the author’s pure fiction has become absolutely fact.  Vickers’ Boys’ Journal was incorporated with the “Youths’ Play Hour” (three vols., 1870-72).

Nearly every old reader is acquainted with Routledge’s “Every Boys’ Magazine,” which ran from 1862 to 1889, known also as the “Young Gentleman’s Magazine,” and “Routledge’s Every Boy’s Annual.”  It was edited throughout its long career by Mr. E. Routledge and was a publication of a highclass character.  It eventually became incorporated with “The Boys’ Own Paper.”

All these were monthly publications, 8vo.

Retracing our researches, the “Boys’ Miscellany,” essentially the first periodical of what we may term the sensational character, of quarto size and 16 pages, with four or five illustrations, was published on Saturday, March 7, 1863, and ran to two volumes (52 Nos.).  The last one is dated February 27, 1864.  It was first published by E. Harrison, who published “Black Bess,” etc., and afterwards by Messrs. Maddick and Pottage.  The serials were “The Whale Killer,” “The Horrors of the Wilds,” “Victor Le Bel,” “The Phantom Horse,” “My Adventures at Sea,” “Sixteen String Jack, the Daring Highwayman:  His Daring Exploits and Miraculous Escapes,” “Mazeppa; or, The Dwarf’s Revenge, a romance of the Wild Horse of Tartary,” “The Green Masks; or, The Old House of St. Jaques,” etc.  Although considered by some as not a good paper, I fail to see its shortcomings.  It is singular that there is no copy or record of this periodical in the British Museum.  I give these particulars from my own copies.

Some time about 1855 a firm of the name of The Newsagents Publishing Co., 147, Fleet Street, began to publish tales of pirates, highwaymen, life in London, etc., of a most sensational character, as their varied titles will imply.  They were issued in penny numbers, and soon commanded a large sale.  I believe Mr. Edwin Brett was connected with this firm prior to his starting on his own account.  I give a few of the titles of these publications, now exceedingly rare and much sought after.  “The Skeleton Horseman; or, The Shadow of Death” (60 Nos.), “Sixteen String Jack” (19 Nos.), “Black Hawk, the Highwayman” (19 Nos.), “Moonlight Jack; or, The King of the Road” (30 Nos.), “Will Watch, The Smuggler King,” “Wild Will; or, The Pirates of the Thames” (12 Nos.), “Tales of Highwaymen; or, Life on the Road” (62 Nos.), “Roving Jack or The Pirate Hunter” (40 Nos.), “The Boy Pirate; or, Life on the Ocean” (92 Nos.), “The Boy Sailor” (33 Nos.), “The Skeleton Crew; or, Wildfire Ned” (24 Nos.), “The Dance of Death; or, The Hangman’s Plot” (23 Nos.), “The Jolly Dogs of London” (14 Nos.), “The Wild Boys of London; or, The Children of the Night”(105 Nos.), (suppressed during the re-issue by the police); “Rose Mortimer; or, The Ballet Girl’s Revenge” (25 Nos.), “The Work Girls of London:  their Trials and Temptations” (40 Nos.), “The Shadowless Rider; or, The League of the Cross of Blood,” “Kit the Pirate” (92 Nos.), “Ivan the Terrible” (24 Nos.), “The Women of London:  Glimpses of a Fast Career,” “The Scarlet Cruiser; or, The Wolf of the Waves,” “Dare-Devil Dick” (96 Nos.), “Red Wolf the Pirate; or, The Monarch of the Deep,” “The Poor Boys of London; or, Driven to Crime” (41 Nos.), etc., etc.

All these and many other spicy and highly-coloured sensational tales and romances formed part of the literature for the youth of the period 1856-66.  No wonder some of them were suppressed, and beyond looking upon them as “relics of the past,” I do not think any right-minded person would care to read them nowadays.


January 18, 1918.


The first number of this extremely popular periodical was published on Tuesday, November 27, 1866, by Charles Stevens, and at once leapt into favour.  The serials in No. 1 were “Alone in the Pirates’ Lair,” by the editor (Charles Stevens), “Who shall be Leader?” by Vane St. John, and “Chevy Chase; or, the Battle on the Border,” by John Cecil Stagg.  All were excellently illustrated, the leading tales by an artist named Hebblethwaite, who could draw as well with his left hand as with his right one, and was considered the finest black and white artist of the day.  He eventually married Mr. Brett’s eldest sister.  The artist’s work can be seen on the front pages of most of Brett’s publications.

After leaving “The Boys of England” as its editor, Charles Stevens started “The Boys’ Book of Romance” some time in 1867, which at any rate as far as illustrations were concerned was superior to anything yet attempted, such famous artists as John Proctor, Mat. Morgan and R. Wagner being engaged on the staff; but this was too good to last, and after some six or seven months’ existence it was numbered with the past. It is an exceedingly rare item, and there is no copy or record in the British Museum.

Edwin Brett took up full control of the “Boys of England” from No. 11, Feb. 4, 1867, and at once put his full energy, skill and business acumen into its production, and made it the most famous of all the earlier boys’ periodicals.  He was an engraver by profession, having been a partner with Mr. Ebenezer Landell, the great wood-engraver and thus brought his skill and knowledge to bear upon its artistic as well as its literary merits, as the splendid illustrations will testify.  He paid his authors fifty shillings an instalment, which was “set up” in type for fifty shillings, and printed for five shillings a thousand.  The sale price to the trade was fifty shillings a thousand, and though paper was dear then—within a fraction of fourpence a pound even if bought by the ton—there was a big profit.

“The Boys of England” was the outcome of “The Wild Boys of London,” and was from the first a great and well-deserved success.  His staff of writers included Charles Stevens (who married Mr. Brett’s Cousin), John Cecil Stagg, Vane Ireton St. John, and many others.  Splendid tales for boys, and even adults, followed in quick succession, such as “Wild Charley, the Link Boy of Old London,” by Charles Stevens, in No. 13; “Giles Evergreen; or, Fresh from the Country,” by W. T. Townsend, in No. 19; “He would be a Sailor,” by Vane I. St. John, in No. 23; “Strongbow, the Boy Chief of the Delawares,” by J. C. Stagg, in No. 27; “The Fatal Cord,” by Captain Mayne Reid, in No. 56.  Also “Nobody’s Dog,” by Townsend, in the same number.  “Homeless Harry; or, Lost in London,” by Stagg, in No. 65; “Thirteen of them; or, The Companions of the Black Flag,” by W. Stephens Hayward, author of “The Black Angel,” etc., in No. 75; “Jack Cade, the Rebel of London,” and “The White Squaw,” (Captain Mayne Reid), in No. 82; “Unlucky Bob; or, Our Boys at School,” by Townsend, in No. 86; “Poor Ray, the Drummer Boy,” in No. 91; “Jack Stedfast,” by James Greenwood, the “Amateur Casual,” in No. 97; “Paul Durwent; or Driven to Sea,” by Percy B. St. John, in No. 112; “Philip’s Peril by Land and Sea,” by Charles H. Ross, in No. 142.

And so on in endless variety and succession appeared tales of all descriptions that became great favourites of the youth of the period, and there are many middle-aged men to-day whose memories will be revived by hearing the titles and authors of their favourite tales and stories.

The climax was, however, reached when, in No. 249, Vol. 10, 1871, the celebrated story, “Jack Harkaway’s Schooldays,” by Bracebridge Hemyng, commenced.  It simply took the readers by storm, and the circulation of “The Boys of England” became phenomenal and placed the seal of success upon the paper.  The tale has ever been a favourite one, and continues to be so.  I venture to assert that “Jack Harkaway” has had more readers and admirers than any other boys’ tale ever written.  Apart from its sensational and attractive character it has certain literary merits, which were eulogized by a recent article upon boys’ books in “The Times Literary Supplement.”

“Jack Harkaway,” “Tom Wildrake,” and several other old boys’ favourites have been from time to time re-published in book form, and have had an enormous sale, not only in the British Isles, but abroad, and especially in the Colonies, where many of the former patrons of the old boys’ periodicals have emigrated, and have a strong desire to renew the pleasures of their boyhood days by reading the old tales.

I give the data of the “Harkaway” series in “The Boys of England” to act as a sort of guide to old readers and collectors.  In several cases I have known the knowledge of these dates, etc., to establish other incidents in a man’s history.  They are therefore useful as well as historical.

“Jack Harkaway after Schooldays” commenced in No. 270, Vol. XI., Jan. 13, 1872.

“Jack Harkaway at Oxford,” in No. 306, Vol. XII., Sept, 20, 1872.

“Jack Harkaway among the Brigands” in No. 343, Vol. XIV., June 7, 1873.

“Jack Harkaway and his Son’s Adventures round the World,” in No. 382, Vol. XV., Mar. 7, 1874.

“Young Jack Harkaway and his boy Tinker” in No. 477, Vol. XIX., Jan. 7, 1876.

“Tom Floremall’s Schooldays,” and “In Search of his Father,” “Bob Blunt, the Traveller,” “Hanky Panky, or the boy who couldn’t keep still,” “Tom Tiddler’s Ground; or, The Captain of the Gold Mine,” “Up Guards, and At ‘Em! or, the Adventures of Drummer Boy Dick and the Young Ensigns,” “Ned Sprightly among the Wild Mountaineers,” “In Persia,” and “With the King of the Cannibal Islands,” “The Tall Boy, the Stout Boy, and the Boy with the Mighty Hand,” “Jack O’ the Cudgel; or the Heroes of a Hundred Fights,” “Ralph Wildhawk,” “Wildcap Will,” “Pantomime Joe,” and many others too numerous to mention—all of which became great favourites—duly appeared in the 66 volumes which form the entire run of “The Boys of England.”  The date of the last number 1702 was June 30, 1899, when the stories then running were continued in No. 1 of “Up-to-date Boys.”

It is noteworthy that very few indeed of the tales were repeated; they were mostly original, consequently fresh and vigorous. The periodical was edited throughout by Mr. Brett.



This, the companion periodical to “The Boys of England,” was first published by Mr. E. J. Brett on Wednesday, Jan. 28, 1868.  The opening serials were “The Night Guard; or, The Secret of the Five Masks,” by Vane Ireton St. John, “Allan Lyndoch,” and “Christmas on a Whale,” by Captain Mayne Reid, “Fred Frolic:  His Life and Adventures,” by the author of “Chevy Chase,” followed in No. 2.  “The Planter Pirate,” by Captain Mayne Reid, began in No. 15, “The Black Tower of Linden; or, The Foster Brother’s Revenge,” in No. 20.  “Was He the Man? A Secret of Twenty Years,” by Percy B. St. John, No. 46; “The Rightful Heir,” by Vane St. John, No. 49; “Satan Free:  a Story of Old Calaban,” by James Greenwood, No. 60; “Night Shade, the Poacher,” by Percy B. St. John, No. 69, May 21, 1869.  “By the Queen’s Command; or, The Mystery of the Seventh Stair,” by Vane St. John, in No. 86, Vol. 3, who followed with “The Headsman of Old London Bridge” in No. 131.

In No. 219, Vol. 9, March 25, 1872, appeared “The Scapegrace of the School; or, Adventures of Dick Lightheart,” by the author of “Jack Harkaway” (Bracebridge Hemyng), followed by “The Scapegrace at Sea” in No. 260 and “The Scapegrace in London” in No. 294, Vol. 12, 1873.  It is remarkable that from No. 240, Aug. 19, 1872 to No. 333, June 1, 1874, the issues of “The Young Men of Great Britain” bear no dates.

With “The Scapegrace” series the custom of giving names of authors disappeared.

The other popular serials which appeared in this period were “Gilbert the Wrestler; or, The Freebooter of the Forest,” “Manning the Navy; or the Wooden Walls of Old England,” “The King’s Scholar; or, the Bluecoats of Old London,” “Jack O’Lantern; or, the Imp of the School,” “Madcap Tom; or, The Diamond Diggers,” “The Boy Monte Christo; or, Back from Death,” “Pat O’Connor’s Schooldays; or, the Boys of the Shannon,” “Frank the Hunter,” “Wreckers and Smugglers; or, the Secret of the Red Stone,” “Out with Captain Cook; or, Every inch a Sailor,” “Luckless Bob; or, the London Lackpenny,” “Paul Brandon,” “Hot Codlin, the King of the Clowns,” “Joe Jolliboy’s Schooldays,” “Three Dashing Hussars; or, Where Glory leads the Way,” “Falconbridge; or, For England and the Right,” “Ned Nimble’s Schooldays,” in No. 595, Vol. 24, June 16, 1879, followed by “Ned Nimble among the Indians,” in No. 650, Vol. 26, July 5, 1880, “Ned Nimble among the Mormons,” in No. 656, “Ned Nimble among the Pirates,” in No. 679, Vol. 28, Jan 4, 1881.  “Ned Nimble amongst the Chinese,” No. 726, Vol. 29, and “Ned Nimble amongst the Bushrangers of Australia,” in No. 753, Vol. 31,  June 26, 1882.

Unfortunately several numbers are missing in the British Museum, so that I cannot give further details of that period.

Amongst the remaining serials may be mentioned “Bob Briefless,” “Schooldays of Old Westminster,” “Pembroke, the Conqueror of Ireland,” “Hal, the Young Harlequin,” “Luke Limpet; or, the Boy who could never do Right,” “Sir Rufus the Rover,” “The Six Swordsmen,” “The Wolf of the Sea; or, the Pirates of the Iron Hand,” “The Path to Victory; or, the Streets of London and Green Shades of England,” “Lion Jack,” and “Eagle Sam; or, the Secret of the Safe,” and many others.

The first series of “The Young Men of Great Britain” ends with No. 1056, Vol. 42, April 16, 1888.  The new series ran to 62 numbers, making 1118 numbers in all, and on July 1, 1889, the title was changed as a supplement to “The Boys of the Empire,” No. 74, Vol. 3, being the last number under this title, and thus ends this splendid old favourite periodical.

Bracebridge Hemyng is supposed to have written the Ned Nimble series, but there is no authentic record of this.

A re-issue of “The Boys of England and Young Men of Great Britain” was published about ten years after the originals had appeared.  The re-issue was in all respects, with the exception of the Correspondence and Advertisement pages, the same as the original, the numbers, volumes, and paging following accurately, the dates only being different.

As showing the popularity and present scarcity of the volumes containing the first portions of the “Jack Harkaway” series, it is interesting to know that even the British Museum does not possess all the volumes.  The set in that institution is made up with re-issued copies, and I am greatly indebted to a collector for the correct dates taken from his perfect collection.  Beyond these few volumes the British Museum does not possess the re-issue copies.  At any rate, I have not come across them in my researches.



This was to my mind one of the best productions of Mr. Brett’s, and yet it apparently did not “take on” as anticipated.  The first number, consisting of 8 pages, usual size, price one halfpenny, was published on September 21, 1869, and remained a halfpenny journal for ten numbers, when a supplement entitled “The Boys of the World Story Teller,” price one halfpenny, was added and continued for several issues.  Afterward the journal became a penny paper, and continued as such to the end.

In an editorial in No. 2. Mr. Brett says:—“Our journals are perused wherever the boy, youth, or man, is to be found.  In the gorges of the Himalayas, in the tea houses of Japan, far in the interior of the Australian and African Continents, by the mines of Chili and stock farms of La Plata, on the banks of the Mississippi and the St. Lawrence, and by the margin of the smallest of the tributary streams which feed these mighty highways of North American commerce, the English language is fast becoming the vernacular of the whole world, and the constituency to which a journal such as our new venture can fairly appeal, can legitimately be estimated by hundreds of thousands.  ‘The Boys of the World’ will number among its clients the children of all countries, creeds, and complexions.”

And yet, in spite of this, “The Boys of the World” was very short-lived, for it only ran to 62 numbers, ceasing publication on Nov. 9, 1860, when it became incorporated with No. 2 of “The Boys’ Favourite,” Nov. 16, 1860.

It was a well-conducted journal, and had as serials, “Tom Daring; or, Far From Home,” “Matt O’ the Mill; or, the Mystery of the Dark River,” “Runaway Bob; or, the Boy without a Name,” “Alone in the Brigands’ Cave,” “The Sea Gipsies,” “Roly King,” “The Witch of the Ocean,” “Roland Verne,” and “King Arthur, and the Knights of the Round Table,” all by well-known authors.  The illustrations were most excellent.

It is a rather scarce item, and is seldom met with.  There is, unfortunately, no copy of it in the British Museum.



This was the least successful venture by Mr. Brett.  It was a halfpenny journal consisting of 8 pages, with one or two illustrations, and it only ran to 41 numbers, Nov. 11, 1870, to Sept. 1, 1871.  The serials were not very attractive, being rather on the serious side of what he was producing in his other journals.  There are no copies of this journal in the British Museum, and few are in existence.  The serials include “Boys of Wolfiton Grammar School,” “The Sea by Choice,” by the author of “Tom Daring,” “The ‘Prentice Boys of Old London;” “Carlos the Terrible; or, the Sign of the Golden Cross,” by the author of “Buffalo Bill,” and “The Wife’s Foe; or, the Banker’s Secret”—a rather singular tale for a boys’ journal.  This publication would seem to imply the re-issue of an older title, for, as mentioned above, there was a “Boys’ Favourite” in 1860.



A Weekly Magazine for Every Home,

was first published by Mr. Brett about Aug. 17, 1876.  It was similar in character to “Boys of England,” and “The Young Men of Great Britain.”  In fact, it acted as a sort of “make weight” for those journals, insomuch that many of the tales that originally appeared in them, were re-published in it, such as “Wild Charley, the Link Boy of Old London,” “Giles Evergreen,” “Strongbow,” “The Captain of the School,” etc., etc.  It ran to about 11 or 12 volumes, finishing up some time in 1881 or 1882.  It was a well-conducted journal and very popular, as was evidenced by a conversation I had recently with the proprietor of SPARE MOMENTS. I n his younger days he told me he had a copy of “Our Boys’ Journal” given to him, and being interested in the stories he tried to get a complete set.  He hunted through all the newsagents in North, North-East, and Central London, picking up a few here and there, and finally landed on a little shop in Hoxton where he succeeded in securing the first three volumes bound in publisher’s covers, and nearly a hundred consecutive numbers.  The volumes he still possesses, but the numbers were swapped later for foreign stamps!  A guide to the popularity of the old “Boys’ Journal” was obtained in the fact that almost without exception the newsagents stocked it.



January 25, 1919.


This was the next venture by Mr. Brett, and its publication coincides with the great religious revival brought about through the visit and work of Messrs. Moody and Sankey, the celebrated American preachers and singers, who took this country by storm about that time.  In introducing this uncommon Boys’ Periodical Mr. Brett said:

“It is on Sunday, more than any other day of the week, that boys require carefully selected reading, for on that day the sports and pastimes with which youth usually occupies itself are forbidden, therefore to provide a healthy and at the same time palatable literary fare for the Sabbath, is the object of this Journal.

“We use the word ‘palatable’ advisedly; for much of what is written for boys is unpalatable (at the present day) to them.

“We shall, therefore, do our best to make our boyish characters manly boys, uttering manly thoughts, and performing manly actions, embued with healthy, religious feeling, but thoroughly free from cant and fierce sectarian prejudices.  In fact, they shall be Christians, but of no special denomination.”

The first number was published on Jan. 8, 1879, the opening serials being “Fatherless Will” (afterwards issued in book form), “Every Inch a Sailor; or, The Cruise of Jack and Prophetic Joe,” and “Faith and Hope; or, Saved from the Wreck.”  These were followed by “Three Modern Crusoes; or, Perseverance and Indolence,” “John Whittington; or, Courage Wins the Day,” “Pembroke; or, The Days of Knighthood” (an old friend), “Illustrated Stories of my Companions and old Schoolmates,” Essays, Prayers, Texts, Short Sermons, “Boys of the Bible,” etc., etc.  “Merry and Wise; or, The Boys of Laughton Hall,” “Wat Tyler the Younger; or, Like Father, like Son,” and others.

The periodical was, however, an exceedingly short-lived one, and did not complete a second volume.  Its title was altered to the



but it only ran to about 4 volumes.  The last number I have seen is dated Dec. 29, 1880, and I don’t know whether any other followed, for, unfortunately, the British Museum has no record of these last three journals.

Amongst the serials in “The Boys’ Weekly Reader” are to be found “The School of Arms” by Sergeant Stiff, “Feathers and Steel Caps; or, Cavaliers and Roundheads,” “Lochiel; or, The Fatal Warning,” “The Life of a Schoolboy,” “Boys of the Bible,” “Ettric the Saxon; or, Courage against Tyranny,” “Poor Ben of the Eagle; or, The Mysteries of the Narrow Watch,” “Ready Ruff; or, The Young Sportsman,” “Guy Graham; or, The Smugglers’ Secret,” “Saucy Sam’s Schooldays,” “The History of the British Soldier,” “The Mystery of the House by the River,” “The Sioux’s Surprise,” “Paul Winter; or, The Sexton’s Secret.”

This journal, like the others, is exceedingly scarce.



This popular and fully deserving periodical was first published (by Brett) on March 17, 1883, and at once took hold of the boys of the period.  It was a well got up, well illustrated, and conducted journal from the first.  It ran to 716 numbers, 28 volumes, and finishes at page 330, November 28, 1896.  A splendid record.  Space will not permit me to give more than a tithe of its serials, but to assist those who from time to time have made enquiries, I include the following short list:—

No. 1, “Timothy Tinpot; or, The Boy Quixote,” No. 8, “Silly Billy; The Hope of the Family,” 27, Sept. 15, “Mysterious Tom; or, A Mint of Money,” 30, “Black Desmond; or, The Secret of the Fifth Oak,” (published elsewhere), 36, “Boyhood of Jack Straw,” 44, Jan. 12, 1884, “Nailed to the Mast; or, The Child of the Waves,” “The Monkey Schoolboy; or, The Missing Link,” 48, “Willie Wideawake,” 50, “The Tribunal of Ten,” 60, May 3, “The Armourer’s Son; or, The Mysteries of the Tower of London,” 79, “Simple Simon; or, The Clown of the School,” 105, March 14, 1885, “Out with Gordon; or, The Adventures of Jack Stearforth,” 135, Oct. 10, “Dark Deeds of Old London,” 176, July 24, 1886, “The Miser Pirate; or, The Secret of the Golden Rock,” 207, Feb 26, 1887, “Bertram the Bandit; or, The Secret of the Fiery Lake,” “Charley White and Billy Black; or, Who Laughs Wins,” 216, “Young Hopeful’s Schooldays; or, The Secret of the Seventh Oak,” 240, Oct 15, “Two Hundred Years Ago:  A Romance of Life in London,” 251, Dec. 31, “The Spies of the School; or, Peeping Tom and Knowall Dick,” 387, Aug. 9, 1890, “The Headsman’s Apprentice; A Mystery of Old London” (not a very comic tale), 403, Nov. 29, “The Five Swordsmen; or, The Royal Guard,” 439, Aug. 8, 1891, “Alpine Jack; or, The False Guide of the Mountain,” 463, Jan. 23, 1892, “The Sneaks of the School; or, The Secret of the Dark Well,” 532, May 20, 1893, “English Bob in Chicago; or, Adventures and Perils at the World’s Fair,” 635, May 11, 1895, “Waifs and Strays; or, The Dark Side of London,” 656, “The Dark Haunts of London,” 676, “The Phantom of the Prairie,” 714, “The Mysterious Cavalier.”

It will be admitted that not all the tales were anything like comic or humorous, but still it was a very popular and successful boys’ journal, and experienced a large sale.



A Journal in colours, of Fun, Instruction, and Romance.

This was undoubtedly Mr. Brett’s greatest venture, and he will always be remembered in Fleet Street as the first publisher to issue a boys’ periodical in colours,—and it was well done, too, as the splendid illustrations will testify.  There were not merely one or two to each number, but the whole of the first 51 numbers were so published.  The colours are really first-class, not daubs, and every detail was faithfully picked out in its proper order.  Small wonder that it was a financial failure, for although issued at 1½d. per number, I greatly doubt if the sale covered the cost of production.  It is curious, but nevertheless a fact, that no periodical issue in colours has ever lasted long.  The public had not been educated to that form of illustration.  It is, in fact, the only journal belonging to boys’ literature I know of so treated.  Good clean copies are exceedingly scarce, and much sought after, and command a big price, especially if the entire series is complete.  No. 1 was published the week ending February 6, 1888, and, as aforesaid, ran in colours till No. 51, January 21, 1889.  The next Nos. 52 to 72 were printed in mauve only, and the price reduced to one penny.

With No. 73, June 24, 1889, the title was altered to “The Boys of the Empire and Young Men of Great Britain,” and ran to No. 277, Vol. 11, May 22, 1893, when I believe it ceased to exist; at any rate, that is the date of the last number in the British Museum Library, to the authorities of which institution I am indebted for their kindness, courtesy and assistance to enable me to supply all the dates, numbers, volumes, titles, etc., in this journal, as well as those in The Boys of England, Young Men of Great Britain, Boys’ Comic Journal, etc.; in fact, all of Mr. E. J. Brett’s publications which the library possesses.  It will be readily understood how difficult and monotonous a task I had to wade through over 150 vols. of 26 numbers each in order to obtain the correct details, not all the volumes being indexed and easy of access, but very many of them towards the end of the publication are either in monthly parts or loose numbers tied up in brown paper bundles, all of which have to be properly dissected in order to obtain the desired information.

The principal serials of “The Boys of the Empire” were:  “The Master of the Sword; or, The Brother Apprentice,” “From School to Battlefield,” “Canadian Jack; or, The Mystery of the Old Log Hut,” “Rory Delant, The Pride of Green Erin,” “The Sword of Fate; or, The Headsman’s Doom,” “Rouen Castle; or, The Fate of Prince Arthur,” “The Crusader’s Vow,” “Godwin the Saxon; or, The Pirate of the Channel,” “Haunted Down; or, The Seven Spectres of the Cloister,” “Peter Pills and his friend Potion,” “Jolly Jack; or, The School on the Sea,” “The Phantom Pirate; or, The Mystery of the Black Rock,” “Expelled from School; or, Will Wilding the Bully,” “The Young Gladiator; or, The Pride of the Arena,” “The Island of Gold; or, The Cruise of the Ruby,” “A Lad from the Country; or, London and its Perils,” “Dick of the Dardanelles; or, The Boatman of the Bosphorus,” “The Long and the Short of it,” “Dick Darewell; or, The Search for a World of Wealth,” “Three Straws; or, on Secret Service,” etc., etc.



Another of Mr. Brett’s productions was published on May 9, 1881, but only ran to about 90 numbers.  There are no copies in the British Museum.  It calls for little comment, being conducted in the same characteristic manner as the other publications emanating from the “Boys of England” office.  One of the best serials was “Dick Dareall’s Schooldays.”  Several that had originally appeared in the other journals were “dished up” afresh.



an opposition journal to George Emmett’s “Rover’s Log,” was published March 11, 1872, and ran, I believe, to 72 Nos.  Its chief feature was a complete sea tale in each number.



No. 1, April 24, 1893, contained “Harkaway the Third,” “The King of the Mountains.”  A splendid coloured engraving, “His First Duel” was presented with No. 1.  There are only four numbers in the British Museum, although I believe it ran to more.  I am, therefore, unable to give further details.

The other productions by Mr. Brett in the Old Boys’ Journal line were “The Boys’ Library,” No. 1, Feb. 28, 1879, “Lads and Lassies,” March 6, 1894, “The Halfpenny Surprise,” Nov. 2, 1894, all of which, however, were very short-lived.  Mr. Brett may truly be called the King of Publishers of Boys’ Literature.  He amassed a considerable fortune in the business, and died a wealthy man on December 15, 1895, and was buried in the family catacomb in Highgate Cemetary.  His splendid collection of ancient armour was sold at Christie’s rooms from March 18 to 26, 1895, and realised nearly £12,000.  It took Mr. Brett over 25 years to collect, and was considered the finest of its kind in existence.  In 1894 he published “A Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Origins and Development of Arms and Armour,” which contains 1,000 original engravings representing the author’s private collection of ancient arms and armour, dating from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries, and which is now used as a text book for reference.  “The Boys of England” and “Edwin J. Brett’s Lifeboat,” the cost of which was subscribed to by the readers, subscribers, and publishers, was launched at Southend on Thursday, November 13, 1879, and did some most useful work until replaced by a more up-to-date one a few years ago.

In “The Boys of England,” dated January 29, 1892, is an account of a complimentary banquet and presentation to Mr. E. J. Brett at the Grand Hotel Charing Cross.  The company included Mr. George A. Sala (who presided), Sir Augustus Harris, Messrs. Charles W. Bradley, F. Vincent Brooks, Gilbert Dalziel, Henry Spicer, H. Newton Smith,

Edward Badoureau, and other the well-known men in publishing circles.  It was a unique gathering of its kind.



Like many other successful men who have struck lucky in a new speculation, Mr. Brett was not long before he had a keen competitor and formidable rival for the boys’ pennies in the person of Mr. William Laurence Emmett, who adopted the trade name of William Emmett Laurence.  His first venture was “The English Girls’ Journal,” for which he edited and wrote the leading stories.  His partners were Joseph Hardiman and Edwin J. Brett, who both retired after a time and left it to be carried on by W. L. Emmett.  It was published at first by Edward Harrison, of Salisbury Square, and removed to its own office a little later.  Messrs. Harrison and Jehring brought out “The Young Ladies’ Journal,” shortly afterwards, and put “The English Girls’ Journal” out of the field.  It was a crude attempt at best, but it had the germ of success in it.

Mr. W. Emmett Laurence belonged to a literary family, or rather, it was connected with literature, for, according to Mr. Ralph Rollington in his small work, “A Brief History of Boys’ Journals” (published by Mr. H. Simpson, 85, Colton Street, Leicester), the family consisted of four brothers and a sister named in order of age.  George Emmett, who was formerly an officer in the Army, and had seen service at the battle of Balaclava, Henry Charlton Emmett, who wrote under the pen name of Charlton, William Laurence Emmett, and Miss Sophie Emmett.

Gathering together a number of the old (but at that time young), bohemian authors, writers and artists, including his brother George, Percy B. St. John, Captain Mayne Reid, Charles Stevens (who had left the conductorship of “The Boys of England” and had failed to make his boys’ books of romance a financial success), William Stephens Hayward, Phiz, Harry Maguire, etc., Mr. W. Emmett Laurence produced “The Young Englishman’s Journal.”  The Date of the first number was April 13, 1867, and it leaped into favour and fame at once.  The opening serial was by the editor, entitled “Willie Gray; or, The Wreck of the Polar Star,” illustrated in his masterful manner by Henry Maguire, the other serials being “Out on the World,” by George Emmett, and “Bolingbroke,” by Percy B. St. John, who followed with “The Lion Prince of Wales,” all illustrated by H. Maguire.

Nos. 1 to 7 were printed by Clayton & Co., 17, Bouverie Street, and published by John Millbank Crisp, Temple Publishing Co., 45, Essex Street, Strand.  Nos. 8 to 26, the printers were R. Kinder, Milford Lane; 27 to 35, Judd & Glass, and the new publishing office was 81, Fleet Street.  At No. 67, Samuel Lloyd became the publisher at 145, Fleet Street, and the printers were the National Steam Printing Co., 11, Crane Court, Fleet Street, who continued, I believe, to the end of the journal.  I give these details to show how chequered the journal’s career was in comparison to its strong opponents.

In No. 8 commenced “The Boys of Bircham School,” one of the best stories written by George Emmett, and which became as famous as “Tom Wildrake” and “Jack Harkaway.”  This story was partially illustrated by H. Maguire.  In No. 16 began “The Wild Huntress” by Captain Mayne Reid, illustrated by H. C. Maguire.  In No. 22 “Wat Tyler,” by Percy B. St. John, Maguire and others; 24, “The War Cruise of the Mosca,” by the Editor, Maguire, and R. Prowse; 30, “The Student Cavalier,” by Charles Stevens, illustrated by H. C. Maguire and J. Gilbert; 48, March 7, 1868, “King Charles’s Oak,” by Charles Stevens and Maguire; 40, “My Adventures amongst Indians,” by G. Emmett and Maguire; 48, “Wandering Willie,” by W. L. Emmett, and R. Prowse; 56, “Captain Jack,” by Geo. Emmett, Maguire and Prowse.  (This story was the commencement of the famous Shot and Shell series by the author).  62, June 13, “Sheet Anchor Jack,” by George Emmett, illustrated by R. Prowse solely; 65 “The Hunters’ Feast,” by Captain Mayne Reid; 72, Aug. 22, “Charity Joe; or, From Street Boy to Lord Mayor,” by George Emmett, illustrated by R. Prowse; 76, the famous “Eagle and the Vulture,” by W. Stephens Hayward and R. Prowse; 84, Nov. 14, “Shaw, the Lifeguardsman,” by G. Emmett and R. Prowse, Phiz and others; 87, “The White Scalper,” by Gustave Aimard, illustrated by a French artist; 91, “The Four-leaved Shamrock,” by Percy B. St. John, illustrated by Phiz solely; 102, “The Prairie Hunter,” by P. B. St. John.  (This volume also contains “The Cruise of the Prince Alfred afterwards the Duke of Edinburgh.”)  106 Vol. 4, April 7, 1869, “The Wonderful Adventured of Captain Munchausen Copperas,” illustrated by Phiz, and “The Adventures of Peter Pettigrew and his Pet Monkey,” illustrated by R. Prowse; 113, “The Pilot Boy; or Wrecked on the Goodwin Sands,” by E. Harcourt Burrage, illustrated by R. Prowse; 114, “Queer People and Queer Places,” by “Rolling Stone” (Burrage), who also illustrated the story; 115, “Adventures of a Runaway,” by H. B. Coffin and Prowse; 117, June 23, “Red Hugh the Backwoodsman; or, The Spectre Warrior,” by G. Emmett and Maguire; also “The Hero of Badajos,” illustrated by Prowse; 120 “Seeking His Fortune,” by G. Emmett; 126, July 14, “The King’s Hussars” (of The Shot and Shell series), by Geo. Emmett and Maguire; 134, “The Little Bellringer; or, The Dismal Keep of Castle Tower,” finely illustrated by Phiz; 135, “The Chevalier of St. George; or, The Days of the Young Pretender,” no author, illustrated by Maguire; 143, “Skip the Bullet; A Tale of the Rebellion of ‘45,” illustrated by R. Prowse; 144, “The Corsair; or, The King of the Bay of Naples,” (attributed to W. Stephens Hayward, but he had been dead some months before this story appeared.)

The last number (154) is dated March 9, 1870.  The Journal was then incorporated with No. 1 of “The Sons of Britannia,” March 14, 1870.

The last few numbers were published for the proprietor, William Emmett Laurence, by his brother, under the name of “George Brent.”


February 1, 1919.


This fine old boys’ periodical, considered by many to be the best production of the Emmetts, saw the light on March 14, 1870, and William Emmett Laurence was its first editor, his brother George contributing several of the tales.  It was first published by Henry Lea, 275, Strand, and printed by Woodfall and Kinder, Milford Lane.  After No. 52 it was published by Charles Fox, Hogarth House, Fetter Lane.  With No. 134, September 28, 1872, the publishing office became Hogarth House, St. Bride’s Avenue, with the same publishers and printers.  Later on Messrs. Blacklock and Co., Allen Street, Goswell Road, were the printers for a time, and from 173, June 25, 1873, Walter Sully, Plough Court, Fetter Lane, became the printer, and remained so until No. 334, Vol. 10, July 22, 1876, when the printing was taken over by C. W. Bradley & Co., 12-13 Fetter Lane, who continued it until No. 359, January 13, 1877, when Woodfall and Kinder again got the contract.  After a short time Messrs. Judd and Co., Phoenix Works, Doctors Commons, became the printers, and remained so to the end.  With No. 379, June 2, 1877, the journal passed into the hands, or rather, possession, of Messrs. Ritchie & Co., and was published by them at 6, Red Lion Court, Fleet Street.

I have given these details, because they bear an important part in the history of the periodical.

The opening serial was “Rapier Jack; or, The Bullfighter of Madrid,” by Charles Stevens, illustrated by Maguire.  There followed, “The Idol’s Eye:  being the Adventures of Andrew Battel, Peter Carden, Sampson Von Burr and ‘The Snake’ in search of a Big Diamond,” by W. Stephens Hayward, author of “The Meeting of the Thunder,” “Golden Reef,” etc., illustrated by Maguire.  “Tom Wildrake’s Schooldays,” by George Emmett, which afterwards created such a furore amongst boys, was at first placed in the minor portion of the journal, and was not illustrated nearly so well as the other serials, the remaining items forming the number being “Boy Heroes of British Naval History,” “The Chronicles of the Cronies’ Club,” correspondence, advertisements, etc., and a little padding.

It will thus be noted that the immortal tale of “Tom Wildrake” was written seventeen months before his great opponent for popularity—“Jack Harkaway,”—appeared in “The Boys of England,” and no doubt acted in no small degree as a model for the author of the latter.  I need not add my little weight to the unstinted popularity, praise or admiration that these two clever tales commanded, but in order to show they were (and still are) held in love and veneration by their old readers, I will quote the words of the writer of an article entitled “Of Boys’ Books,” that appeared in “The Times Literary Supplement” of April 11 last.

The writer says:  “It must not be supposed—it will not be supposed, we hope—that this boy was a prig because he happened to prefer ‘The Tempest’ to Mr. Cobb’s ‘Watchers on the Longships,’ and Miranda to the little girl whose conscience suffered such qualms at her having to set a big Bible on the chair and mount on it to kindle the lighthouse lamp and save a ship’s crew.  It was just as it took him.  He quite unintellectually preferred the ‘Holy War’ to the ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ for the sake of the catalogue of regiments and their banners—as, in spite of the author, he preferred Captain Boanerges to Captain Credence, though Credence was noble.  For stronger proof—all the while he read these classics he was subscribing his pence to weekly instalments of fiction which assuredly made no pretence to be classical:  the publications of Mr. Edwin Brett (surely his name was Edwin?), editor of ‘The Boys of England.’  Who that ever read ‘Jack Harkaway’s Schooldays,’ or ‘Tom Wildrake’s Schooldays,’ at the age of ten or thereabouts—call it not the uncritical age of ten—will refuse a wreath of memories to those heroic works?  Yes, though never ranged among the classics, they were heroic, Homeric.  Of the two with their sequels (and Jack Harkaway had many), the boy preferred Tom Wildrake.  Tom never degenerated or allowed Time to relax a muscle of his superb ‘joie de vivre.’  From the private school decorated by his exploits—a much envied school—he passed to Cheltenham, where in a dormitory fight he sent the house bully flying over three beds at least by a neat application of the throw known to West-country wrestlers as the Flying Mare; from Cheltenham to India, to Cawnpore, to the Mutiny, the siege, the embarcation, the massacre, the doomed and hunted boats, the fight in the forest temple—in fact, to every hairbreadth ‘scape the author could lift out of Trevelyan.  Of course he came through it all.  On cool reflection one realised that he was never made to die—no, not even magnificently as D’Artagnan dies at the end of the ‘Vicomte de Bragelonne.’  To this day Tom Wildrake must be walking, a demi-god, somewhere among the stars.  But such he was; and the boy who dissented on the one hand from the crowd in preferring him to Jack Harkaway, dissented on the other from the intellectuals in ranking him above, even far above, Tom Brown of Rugby.  Tom Brown with his many merits had a note of suspicious heartiness, a note which the wary urchin detects as signalling moral edification.  It did the trick far better, to be sure, than ‘Eric, or Little by Little,’ but kept you the more suspicious, restless, defensive against the moment when (as a young critic put it) ‘the curate intends to land you, mark my word!’”

This sums up the sterling qualities of the tale, and I need not say more on these points.  I have undeniable evidence, however, that George Emmett was not the real author of the whole story.  He commenced it, but, somehow or other, quickly “ran dry” with his subject.  Another writer—E. Harcourt Burrage, who at the time was sub-editor of “The Young Briton,” and also contributing several serials to the Emmett’s publications—took up the story at the point where Old Dabber, the one-legged sailor is introduced and he continued it, Emmett contributing the military section.  I had this from Mr. Burrage himself, who gave me his first idea and conception of the characters of “Old Dabber” and “Ching Ching,” remarking to me, “I think I wore both of them out absolutely.”

The fame of Tom Wildrake, along with several other fine tales, set the seal of success upon “The Sons of Britannia,” and it is remarkable that when the story was finished, the journal went down somewhat.  Anyway, I will give a brief list of its chief serials.  No. 9, “Union Jack, the British Boy sailor; or, Life on Board a Man o’ War,” by Captain Harry; 13, “Spartacus; or, The Revolt of the Gladiators,” by C. Stevens; 18, “Death or Glory,” by G. Emmett; 22, “Tom Wildrake,” Part 2; “King Robert, the Bruce; or, Scotland’s Fight for Freedom,” by the author of “Dick and Dick’s Brothers;” 26, “Whip the Wind,” by Silvershot (the pen name of George Emmett, when writing his Indian tales); 35, “Brian Boru, The Hero King of Ireland,” by Dennis O’Connor; 38, “All’s Well,” by G. Emmett; 39, “Harlequin Hal; or, The Tricks and Traps of Theatrical Life”; 43, “The Cuirassiers of the Guard,” by one of themselves; 48, Feb. 4, 1871, “Tom Wildrake,” Part 3; 53, “Longshore Luke; or, The Riverside Mystery,” by E. Harcourt Burrage; 58, “Through a Thousand Perils,” by J. J. G. Bradley, “Dick Darrington:  A Tale of the Great Riots”; 63, “Red Snake, The Last of the Prairie Kings,” by E. H. Burrage; 67, “Tom Wildrake,” Part 4; 70, “The Factory Lad”; 76, “The Royal Standard Bearer”; 90, “Three Brave Boys”; 91, “An Ocean of Ice:  a Story of the Polar Seas”; 97, “The Boy Gladiator,” by G. Ricken Alcot, U.S.A.; 100, Feb. 3, 1872, “The Cloud King; or, Up in the Air and Down in the Sea,” by W. Stephens Hayward; 105, “Dashing Charlie the Texan Whirlwind,” by Ned Bunting; 114, “Hurricane Dick; or, The Child of the Storm”; 121, “Mazeppa; or, The Demon Horse of the Ukraine”; 128, “Racketty Ralph the Hero of Scampdown College”; 133, “Captain Tom Drake; or, England’s Hearts of Oak,” by W. L. Emmett; 148, “The Young Jockey,” by Vane St. John; 149, “Mountain Tom,” by Ned Bunting, and “Tom Wildrake” ends, Chapter 203, Jan. 8, 1873; 156, “The Hundred Guardsmen:  a Romance of the Second Empire,” by Captain Leon Lorraine, author of “The Cuirassiers of the Guard”; 161, “Happy Go Lucky”; 165, “The King of the Iron Mace:  or, The Ghost Riders of the Rhine”; 170, “The Red Regiment,” by Percy B. St. John; 176, “The Rascal Jack,” by J. J. G. Bradley, illustrated by Phiz; 182, “Tom, the Link Boy of Old London,” by Vane St. John; 189, “The Desolate Raft,” by Percy B. St. John; 194, “Giant Jack:  the Hero of Red Mountain,” by E. H. Harcourt; 211, “The Cruise of the Volta; or, The Lost Heir of Altham,” by the author of “Mid of the Flora Bell,” etc.; 220, May 23, 1879, “Fatherless Bob; or, The True Story of a Poor Boy’s Life on Land and Sea,” by Bracebridge Hemyng; 228, “Old Winchester; or, the Schooldays of Dashing Dick Tichborne,” by A Foundation Scholar; 234, “Vagabond Dick,” by E. H. Burrage; 241, “Alpine Jack”; 245, “Lone Wolf, the Apache Chief,” by Lieut. E. R. Jayne, “Hal the Arab; or, the Earl and the Outlaw,” by E. H. Burrage; 290, “The Land of the Crimson Snow:  or, The Voyage of the Lucky Friday”; 305, “Jolly Jack Johnson”; 309, “Frost, Lightning and Frolic:  or, A Newfoundland Boy’s Schooldays”; 313, “Rattling Tom of Cork,” by Vane St. John; 316, “Mischievous Mat; or, Mirth and Mystery,” by Bracebridge Hemyng; 319, April 8, 1876, “Catch me who can; or, the Magic Horseshoe” by Walter Villiers, illustrated by P.O.P. (R. Proctor); 325, “Mat Mesures; or, The Terrible Will,” by Bertie Harcourt, illustrated by P. O. P.; 334, July 22, 1876, “Lion Jack,” by P. T. Barnum, the great American Showman, illustrated by Bergham; 345, “Ben Braveall,” by A. Sherrington; 342, “Young Ironsides; or, The Pirates of the Treasure Ship”; 353, “Frank’s Freaks at the Finishing School,” by the author of “Master John Bull at the French Academy”; 359, “Larry O’Keefe,” by Bracebridge Hemyng; 365, “Jack in the Jungle; a Tale of Land and Sea.  Sequel to Lion Jack,” by P. T. Barnum; 377, “Three Dashing Boys; or, The Cruise of the Island Queen”; 380, June 9, 1877, “The Shadow Ship; or, The Prince of Pearl Island,” by Henry Emmett, author of “Union Jack,” “Mid of Flora Bell,” etc.; 386, “A Troublesome Boy; or, His Way thro’ the World”; 389, “Plucky Charlie, the Bluecoat Boy”; 392, “The Haunted Island; or, The Adventures of Young Tom Trim and Uncle Sam”; 394, September 15, 1877, is the last number, on the back of which is this announcement:—

“Look out next week for No. 1 of ‘The Champion Journal.’  In addition to tales, ‘Dick Dare the Bareback Rider,’ ‘The Wondership; or, The Mysteries of the Sea,’ ‘Poor Jack, the Street Boy of London,’ ‘Happy Hal; or, True to the Core,’ Marvels of Earth, Sea and Air, etc., etc., will be presented an illustrated supplement.  All the stories now appearing in ‘The Sons of Britannia’ will be continued, so that the boys will have a splendid new journal and ‘The Sons of Britannia’ for one penny.”

And so ended this splendid old boys’ periodical.  Throughout its production the illustrations were very fine, a great number of them being by Maguire.  Phiz, however, did not contribute much of his work to this journal.  It is deplorable that no copies are in the British Museum, and very few are to be found elsewhere.  I may add that George Emmett became editor some time in March, 1871, when his brother failed.



This was one of the earlier publications of Mr. George Emmett, and although extremely popular at the time, it is singular, that very few copies are now in existence.  One reason for this is doubtless because it was not afterwards issued in book form, and as those possessing the numbers apparently did not have them bound up, the consequence was they became scattered, lost, and destroyed.  Hence their great scarcity at the present time.  There is no copy in the British Museum, nor any record.  No. 1 was published on Wednesday, March 11, 1872, containing what was announced as “Five Glorious Stories,” namely:  “Rupert the Rover,” by Charles Stevens, “Rags and Riches:  a Story of Street Life,” by E. Harcourt Burrage, illustrated by Phiz, “Frank Fearless:  or, The Cruise of the Firebrand,” author not given, “Sammy Softoes:  His Sad Disasters,” and “Tales of my Schoolmates.”  No. 1, “Cucumber Sam,” by A. Sherrington.  The price was one penny.  These were followed in succeeding numbers with “The School, the Gun Room, and the Quarter Deck” (“Laugh and grow fat over the trials and troubles of Bos, the Marine.”)  “Morgan the Buccaneer,” and in No. 53, “The Goblin Scout,” by Percy B. St. John.

The publication ceased with No. 57, April 12, 1873 and was incorporated with No. 1 of “The Young Englishman.”

Apparently the sub-editor of the latter was not sufficiently posted up with the career of “The Rovers’ Log,” for in No. 186, Vol. 8, “The Young Englishman,” Oct. 28, 1876, he says, in answer to an enquiry from John Thos. Ward:  “‘The Rovers’ Log’ was originally intended to be a book of travel and adventure, but the idea was not adhered to, and so it was replaced by ‘The Young Englishman.’  It ran two years.”  He was clearly at fault, because I have most carefully traced the history of “The Rovers’ Log,” and guarantee my information to be correct—namely, 57 weeks only.


February 8, 1919.


This deservedly popular periodical was first published on Saturday, April 19, 1873, for the proprietors, by Charles Fox, at the office, Hogarth House, St. Brides Avenue, E. C., the printers being Henry Blacklock & Co., Allen-Street, E.C.

The opening serial was “Our Tom at Whop-Boys:  a Story of the First Half,” by George Emmett, illustrated by Phiz, and was practically the forerunner of “Young Tom Wildrake’s Schooldays,” which appeared later.  It was only a short tale of four chapters, and ended in the same number.

The other serials were, “The Wreck of the Golden Cloud; or, The Three Gallant Middies,” by J. J. G. Bradley, “The Daughter of the Sun,” sequel to “The Goblin Scout,” by Percy B. St. John, illustrated by H. Maguire, “Texas Jack:  The White King of the Pawnees,” “Tales of my Schoolmates,” new series, by Alfred Sherrington, articles on “Sports and Pastimes,” a little padding, a special laudatory editorial, correspondence page, sale and exchange advertisements, completed the rest of the 16 pages.

It is a little better preserved relic than most of the other publications of this character by

Emmett, for most of the volumes were afterwards issued in publishers’ binding, whereas few of the others were.  As a matter of fact, with the exception of Vol. 1 of “The Young Gentlemen of Great Britain,” I have never seen any of Emmett’s periodicals in publishers’ binding, although I am told a few exist.

I will only mention a few of the serials that appeared in the run of thirteen volumes (363

Numbers) forming the series of “The Young Englishman.”  Some of them had appeared in other journals, and towards the end the production became very commonplace and irregular in character.  “Falcon Crest; or, The Glades of Englewood,” by William L. Emmett, illustrated by Maguire, “Mournful Mat,” by author of “Jack Rag,” (E. Harcourt Burrage?), illustrated by Phiz, “Skeleton Island; or, the Pirates’ Hidden Treasure,” by J. J. G. Bradley, “Bob Waxy’s Ghost,” illustrated by Phiz, “Pat O’ the Hills; or, The Wreckers of Bantry Bay,” by Vane Ireton St. John, illustrated by Phiz, “Tom Tempest; or, Wrecked on the Pelew Islands,” illustrated by Maguire, “Tom Tiddler; or, The Mystery of Marazian Manse,” by author of “Dick and Dick’s Brother,” (Henry Emmett?), “The Golden Secret,” by Percy B. St. John, “Fat Willie Baker,” by Geo. Emmett, illustrated by Phiz, “The Mastiff of the Guard:  a Tale of Van Diemans Land,” by J. J. G. Bradley, illustrated by Maguire, “The Queen’s Page; or, The Midnight Signal,” by Vane St. John, illustrated by Maguire, “Dick Doublepipe,” illustrated by Phiz, “The White Amazon,” by author of “The Iron Mace.”

In No. 15, July 26, 1873, appeared “Young Tom’s Schooldays” (no author) illustrated by

Maguire, afterwards by Phiz.  Opinions as to who was the real author are divided, but from what Mr. E. Harcourt Burrage told me relating to “Tom Wildrake,” I have no doubt whatever but that Mr. Burrage himself wrote these continuations.

In No. 27, “The Sailor Crusoe,” by Percy B. St. John; 29, “Tim Ne’er do Well,” by Vane St. John; 36, “Clap Door Tom,” by the author of “Black Privateer,” etc., 48, “The Devil’s Bridge; or, The Brigands of Pic Du Midi,” by A. L. Gordon; 41, Vol. 2, Jan. 25, 1874, “Young Tom Wildrake’s Adventures.  In Europe, Asia, Africa, and America,” illustrated as before.  In the same number commenced “Jack Harkaway in America,” by Bracebridge Hemyng, the Editor of “Young Englishman” holding the English copyright.  In No. 60 commenced “Frank Fairplay’s Schooldays,” illustrated by Phiz; 65, “The Arctic Crusoe,” by Percy B. St. John; 75, Vol. 3, September 19, 1874, “Just His Luck; or, Peter Pullwell’s Struggle with Fate,” illustrated by Phiz; 79, “The Way to Win; or, The Right Road and the Wrong,” illustrated by Phiz; 82, “Big Ben, the Brave Boy of the Baillisk,” by Burrage, illustrated by Maguire; 90, “Tom Troublesome,” by Bracebridge Hemyng; 97, “Happy Jack, the Rover,” by Burrage, illustrated by Maguire; 102, “Florello; or, The Slaves of the Sapphire,” by Frank Mercer; 104, “Conrad the Corsair,” by Charlton; 115, “Peter Pickle; or, The Adventures of an English Schoolboy,” by Philander Jackson, illustrated by Phiz, “The City Watch; or, The Secret of the Forty Footsteps,” by Frank Mercer; 122, “Do Nothing Nat,” illustrated by Phiz; 127, “Garrison House Academy; or, Sergeant MacWelter’s Military and Commercial Establishment”; 131, Vol. 6, Oct. 6, 1875, “The Palace in the Sun,” by Alfred Sherrington; 157, “Our Tom at School,” by G. Emmett; 166, “The Phantom of the Prairie”; 169, “The School of the Regiment; or, Our Boys in the Army”; 174, “Simple Science Salad,” by Bertie Burrage; 186, “The Naval Academy; or, Life on Board a Training Ship”; 197, Part 2 of “Our Boys in the Army,” “A Fair Field and No Favour; or, from the Footlights to Fortune”; 200, “Brave Tom and Saucy Charlie,” illustrated by Phiz.

A noteworthy feature of most of the illustrations to the above serials are their weird and most comical character.  They are not signed, and it is difficult to assign their artists.  They appear to be a cross between those of Phiz and H. Maguire.  They are very clever and very funny.

209, Vol. 9, April 7, 1877, “Battle and the Breeze”; 223, July 14, “Fidelity Jack; or, The Middy’s Foe and the Middy’s Friend,” by P. T. Barnum, who afterwards became the great American Showman; 242, “Peter Simple in the Army,” by the author of “The School of the Regiment” (more laughable illustrations); 249, “Our Saucy Sailor Boys”; 254, “Too Fast to Last”; 269, “Jack Harkaway among the Pirates,” by B. Hemyng; 273, “With Pistol and Pad; or, The Lives of the Famous Highwaymen”; 281, “Three Merry Boys,” illustrated by Phiz; 292, “Dick Darling:  His Adventures in a Balloon,” by Sam Clarke; 303, “Jack Harkaway in the Haunt of the Pirates”; 305, the ever green “Spangles and Gold”; 309, “Kings of the Ocean; or, Lives of Buccaneers, Pirates and Corsairs”; 310, “Life in the Army,” by one who has served; 327, “Brian Boru:  The Hero King of Ireland”; 331, “Hal and his Chum Jack,” illustrated by Phiz.  The last number (336) dated September 6, 1879, bears an announcement on the back page, that, submitting to the request of his numerous subscribers for a journal consisting of a complete novel every week the editor, from this number withdraws “The Young Englishman,” and substitutes “The Boys’ Own Novelette.”  No. 1 will be “Tom Gaily:  His First Term at School”; No. 2 “Tom the Midshipman,” and thus ends this fine old boys’ periodical.

“The Young Englishman” changed printers several times during its career, including Walter Sully, Plough Court, Fetter Lane, Bradley and Co., 12-13, Fetter Lane, Woodfall and Kinder, James Welch, Clements Inn Passage, Brook and Co., Plough Court, and finally William Cate, Cursitor Street, but throughout its run it was published at Hogarth House, St. Bride’s Avenue.  Competition was evidently keen in those days, and price probably had much to do with printing changes.  A reissue was published on July 21, 1882, by George Emmett, junior, at 3a, Bolt Court Fleet St., printed by Sully and Ford, and after a time it was sold to the trade at the St. George’s Publishing Office, Bear Alley, Farringdon Street.  All publications were advertised under the Royal Court of Arms.  Later, Kelly and Co., Gate Street, Lincoln’s Inn, became the printers.  “The Boys’ Own Reader” was one of several publications emanating from this address.  I have a copy of an elaborate advertisement, depicting a most palatial edifice with a Union Jack flying on the roof, and a picture of Mr. G. Emmett standing near the door with a big bundle of “The Young Englishman” waiting to be cleared by the carrier.  Altogether there is an air of prosperity and progress shown, but in spite of all this the publication of the reissue came to an end with No. 59, Vol. 3, September 8, 1883.  An announcement stated that “The Young Englishman” was now under new management at the new office, 5, Catherine Street, Strand, and all answers to correspondents would be given in No. 1 of “Sons of Old England,” on September 13, which periodical, together with “The Boys’ Own Journal,” and “British Boys,” were all published by George Emmett, junior, and contained mainly some of the old stories out of his father’s journals, dished up afresh.  They were very short-lived.

In passing, I may say that a peculiar feature in the last number of “The Young Englishman” was that page 377 contained a reproduction of the title page of No. 21, Vol. 1, of “The Boys’ World,” and the opening chapters of a new serial in that journal, entitled “Disinherited; or, A Fight for the Good old Name,” and readers were advised to continue reading it in “The Boys’ World,” from which I assume that the Emmett journals passed to the proprietorship of Allingham & Holloway, who were then running “The Boys’ Word.”

It is a remarkable fact that the British Museum does not possess any copies of the Emmett publications, and the only item of the celebrated Hogarth House Library to be found there is “Arab Jack,” which is accredited to William Cate.  Nor are there any records beyond this of any of the hundreds of publications owned and published by the Emmett family.  None of their names is recorded in the catalogue.  This applies equally to many of Brett’s publications, but he is credited with six or seven records.  It seems very singular, considering the great popularity of the “Jack Harkaway” and “Tom Wildrake” series of tales, and the many editions of both, that not a single copy has found its way into the National Depository.  It is probably due to the fact that the authorities of those days were not so insistent on publishers sending copies to the various Libraries.  In fact, the regulation was generally only applied to newspapers.  Even at the present day hundreds of publishers never send a copy to the British Museum.  When copyright was compulsory at Stationers’ Hall it was easy to get a record of new issues, but since this Registry has been abolished, publications come and go without any record having been taken of them.  It is a great pity.

Even Bracebridge Hemyng is not known at the Museum by his best-known works.  Edwin Harcourt Burrage has a number of records to his name, but not one work of his that appeared in the Emmett publications.  Charles Stevens has only one record relating to “The Boys of England.”  Percy B. St. John has 41 records, Alfred S. Burrage one record, Captain Mayne Reid 201 records, whilst Dacre Clarke and Ralph Rollington have only one record each, the latter referring to his “Brief History of Boys’ Journals,” published some years back.

We, the old readers, lovers, and admirers of the fine old boys’ journals, and the nation at large, are all the poorer in not having copies in our National Institution to enable us to renew the friends of our boyhood days.



Mr. E. J. Brett having started successfully “The Young Men of Great Britain,” as a companion journal to “The Boys of England,” his rival for the boys’ suffrage was not long in producing a companion weekly to “The Young Englishman’s Journal,” to which he gave the rather heavy-sounding title of “The Young Gentlemen of Britain,” which was first published on October 24, 1868.  Like its companion this journal had a rather chequered career.  It was printed from Nos. 1 to 9 by Messrs. Judd and Glass, St. Andrew’s Hill, Doctors Commons, and published by Samuel Flood, 145, Fleet Street, and printed afterwards by The National Steam Printing Co., 11, Crane Court, Fleet Street.

The serial in No. 1 was “Caradoc the Briton,” by Charles Stevens, illustrated very finely by H. C. Maguire; “The Mutiny of the Thunder,” by W. Stephens Hayward, illustrated by Maguire, W. Boucher and Phiz.  In No. 4 “Jack Brand” by Charles Stevens and Maguire.  9, “The Silver Shield,” by W. L. Emmett, illustrated by Maguire.  12, “The Flag on the North Pole,” by W. Stephens Hayward, artist unknown.  In No. 16, Feb. 6, 1869, appeared the first work of Mr. Edwin Harcourt Burrage, a very clever poem, entitled “John Brown, Ye Modern Knight.”  This was followed by another equally as clever in No. 18, under the title of “The Man at the Wheel.”  These contributions by Mr. Burrage mark his advent into boys’ literature, of which I hope to say more anon.  In the same number appeared “The Lost Lord of Lorne,” no author given, but very finely illustrated by Sir John Gilbert and Maguire (possibly those by Sir John Gilbert were borrowed from elsewhere).  19, “The Raven’s Plume,” by Charles Stevens and Maguire.  21, “The Skeleton of the Wreck” (no author), illustrated by Phiz.  26, April 17, “The Minute Gun at Sea,” by W. Stephens Hayward, illustrated by Phiz.  27, “Paul Avelon” (no author), “The School by the River,” by John Holloway, both illustrated by Maguire.  33, “Heart of Fire,” (no author), illustrated by Maguire.  37, July 3, “The Golden Reef,” sequel to “The Mutiny of the Thunder,” by W. Stephens Hayward, illustrated by Maguire.  47, “The Forest of Delemere,” illustrated by Maguire.  49, Sept. 25, 1869, “Fred Corsigan, The Irish Dragoon” by the author of “Poor Ray.”

A very fine tale, “The Huguenot Captain; or, The Massacre of St. Bartholomew,” by Charles Stevens, illustrated by Maguire, appeared in No. 27, April 13, 1869.

I have not been able to trace any record after No. 49, but the publication ran to 78 numbers, April 16, 1870, and then became incorporated with No. 32, “The Young Briton,” April 23, 1870, a special supplement containing the continuation of the serials being issued with No. 33.

It was a firstrate journal, well conducted, and exceedingly popular during its brief career.  Copies are very scarce and eagerly sought after by collectors and “old boys.”


February 15, 1919.


This was a highclass periodical, produced and published by Mr. C. Harrison, Merton

House, Salisbury Square.  The first number was dated November 1, 1869.  The publication ran to only 150 numbers, that last number being issued in September, 1872.

It was too “high-toned” to compete with Brett’s and Emmett’s journals, and although it was most profuse with its gifts of coloured plates, etc., it failed to hold its own with the other journals.  A big feature was made in the addition of monthly recreation supplements, which by themselves form a good-sized volume containing some exceedingly clever articles on music, electricity, angling, gymnastics, sports of all kinds, draughts, clever problems of chess, poultry, rabbits, and other pets:  in fact, everything that a youth could wish for, and yet it failed to obtain sufficient support, and so came to an end.

Some firstrate serials ran in its pages.  In Vol. 1—“The Raven and what became of it,” “The Sea Kings,” “Saxilby Manor,” “Facing the World,” by Watts Phillips (whose name is associated with the old LONDON JOURNAL), “Gold; or, The Treasures of Ishultan,” “Mark Single,” “The Brothers’ Plot,” “The Three Volunteers.”  Vol. 2, No. 36, July 1, 1870, “Townsend the Runner; or, The King’s Favourite,” “Behind a Mask; or, A Gipsy’s

Hate,” “One of the Seven,” “Dick of the Diamond; or, Out on the World,” “The Tempter,” “The Life of a Soldier,” “True Blue,” by Charles Stevens, “Roland Strathorn.”  Vol. 3, No. 65, no current date, only 1871 on title, “Zasco, the Corsair; or, The Lord of the Golden Island,” by Charles Stevens, “Roused at Last:  or, The Slave’s Revenge,” “King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table,” by Chares Stevens, very finely illustrated, artist not given, and in the announcement of its commencement Charles Stevens is mentioned as the author of “Zasco, the Corsair,” and “Top Gallant Tom,” “Luke’s Luck,” by the author of “Dick and Dick’s Brother” (Ernest Brent.)  (This tale had previously appeared in No. 1 of “The Young Briton.”)  “Gipsy Monte; or, The Mystery of Oak Nook,” “Gold Mountain; or, The African Talisman,” and “Little Jim and Jack Diggory.”  Vol. 4, No. 92 (no date), “The King’s Service,” by Charlton (Harry Emmett), “Paul Adair,” by Charles Stevens, “The White Indian,” “Heir to Half a Million,” “Tom Brady,” “Congo the Conjurer,” “The Secret of Hollow Oak Farm.”  Vol. 5, Nos. 117 to 144, “Cosmo the Pirate,” “Dick Dareall; or, The Plague of the School,” “The Hunter’s Vision; or, The Search for the Cave of Gold,” “Mid of the Flora Dell,” by Harry Emmett.  Vol. 6, 145 to 150, “Ned Hawley,” and all the other serials finished with the last number, with which was presented gratis a copy of No. 436, “The Young Ladies’ Journal,” in which periodical “The Gentleman’s Journal” became incorporated, and so ended one of the most ambitious journals for boys ever published.

“Ernest Brent” was the pen name of Harry Emmett, younger brother of William Laurence Emmett and George Emmett.  Ernest Brent wrote a number of serials for the LONDON JOURNAL.



No. 1 of this exceedingly fine and popular journal was published in September 18, 1869, and was the first attempt to produce a half-penny periodical for boys.  It consisted at first of 12 pages, and was printed by the National Steam Printing Co., 11, Crane Court, Fleet Street, and published for the proprietor, William Emmett Laurence, by George Brent, at 145, Fleet Street.  From No. 47 it was edited for a short period by Charles Stevens, and was printed by Judd & Co., and published by Charles Fox at the same address (145, Fleet Street).  From 59, Oct. 22, 1870, to 83, April 5, 1871, it was printed by Woodfall & Kinder, Milford Lane, and published by Henry Lea at 275, Strand.  From 82 to 168 it was published by Charles Fox at Hogarth House, Fetter Lane and from 169 at Hogarth House, St. Bride’s Avenue, E.C.  With No. 184, March 10, 1873, the printers were Sully & Ford, Plough Court, Fetter Lane, and they retained the contract until No. 368, July 22, 1876, when C. W. Bradley & Co., 12 and 13, Fetter Lane, took it over, and Charles Fox’s name disappeared as the publisher, but the publishing address remained the same until No. 427, Sept. 8, 1877.  From 428 to the end of its life the printer was William Cate, Cursitor Street, Chancery Lane.

From No. 64, Nov, 26, 1870, George Emmett’s Name appeared as the editor, and coincided pretty well with the date of his brother’s bankruptcy.

It is necessary to give these details to show the many changes that took place in the publication if this as well as the other journals produced by William Emmett Laurence.  The opening serials in No. 1 were “The Master of the Lion,” by Charles Stevens, illustrated in his usual style by H. Maguire; “Midshipman Tom,” by George Emmett, “Dick and Dick’s Brother,” by Harry Emmett, illustrated by Phiz.

Only four numbers were published at a half-penny.  With No. 5 the journal was enlarged to 16 pages and the price raised to a penny.  In this number “For Valour; or, How I Won the Victoria Cross,” one of the best stories belonging to the “Shot and Shell” series, by George Emmett, appeared as a front page serial, finely illustrated by Maguire.  Also, Mr. E. Harcourt Burrage’s first published story, entitled “Harry Power, the Wanderer; or, Over Earth and Sea in a Balloon” (as a back page serial) illustrated by Maguire.

In connection with this story I cannot do better than quote the author’s words relating to his first attempt to write stories, and how he became connected with the Emmetts and their journals.  Speaking of his connection as sub-editor of “The Young Briton,” Mr. Burrage says:

“It is to quaint Charley Stevens with his somewhat woolly hair and wild eyes, that I owe my turning from artistic work which had kept me poor and often penniless—for a long time—I forget how long.  Through him I first ‘struck oil’ writing, and was able to write home to say ‘All was well.’  A few of us were in ‘Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese’ off Fleet Street when I casually remarked that I had done with endeavouring to be an artist, never having any training whatever, and Charley said, ‘Why don’t you write?  You have the eye for it.’  I said I would do so, and I wrote a short love story for girls.  W. L. Emmett, under his trade name, W. Emmett Laurence, was also running a girls’ journal (‘The English Girls’ Journal’) at the time, and I went day after day for a week to know if it was of any use.  The I learnt from the editor—Laurence’s brother—that he had a lot of MSS. on his table, and it might be there.  Laurence was present, and said, ‘Look it up, Tom; don’t keep the young fellow in suspense.’  Two days after, and I was there again, and Tom was in the outer office.  He shook hands with me, and said, ‘I have read your MS.  It is crude, but there is grit in it, and I have sent it to the printer.  Call on Saturday for your money.’  After that I have a dim idea that I turned into Wine Office Court and reeled like a drunken man.  It was a small thing in the history of this seething world, but it was renewed life for me.  In the quietude of Gough Square I sauntered up and down and composed myself.”

In another passage he said he was so reduced in circumstances that he was obliged to leave his coat somewhere temporarily, in order to obtain food, and he walked about the neighbourhood all night, not caring to go to his lodgings.

“On the Saturday,” he continues, “I called for my money.  There was a little host of authors and artists in the office who were there with the same object.  We had to wait a little time.  In my turn I received my money for seven columns—thirty-five shillings.”  Three months afterwards Mr. Burrage was the sub-editor of “The Young Briton.”

In No. 17 began “Adrift on the Spanish Main:  A Story of the Old Buccaneers” by George Emmett, illustrated by Maguire; 24, “Dick Whittington, Thrice Lord Mayor of London,” by C. A. Stevens, illustrated by H. Maguire.  With No. 32 the title heading was altered and improved, and George Emmett’s fine serial, “The Pirates’ Isle,” illustrated by the indefatigable Harry Maguire commenced.  “The Young Gentlemen of Britain” was incorporated with the journal, and a special supplement of the expiring tales was presented with No. 33.  A coloured plate depicting the “Discovery of the Diamond Cave” in “The Pirates Isle,” by the middies of the Gem Brig, was also presented with this number, the price of plate and supplement being one penny extra.  In No. 36, June 4, that exceedingly clever circus story, “Spangles and Gold,” by Edwin Harcourt Burrage, and finely illustrated by Maguire, appeared.  The author struck out into quite a different line of tales for boys than had hitherto appeared, and he was the first author to introduce circus life into a boy’s serial.  The story is considered by many to be the best written by the author.  It attained great popularity and was reprinted over and over again, as will be shown in the continuation of these articles.  In No. 41 “Hare and Hounds,” also by Burrage and Maguire, appeared, and in No. 43 “The Giant of Nottingham,” by Harold, illustrated by Maguire.  In No. 48, “King Harry the Fifth; or, The Conquest of France,” by Charles Stevens and Maguire, appeared.

On the back page of No. 51, Aug. 29, 1870, appeared the obituary notice of William Stevens Hayward, and as the journal was prepared a fortnight in advance, it fixes the date of his death between August 8 and 15.  The writer mentions this because in “Allibone’s Dictionary of English Literature and British and American Authors,” which contains his record, the date of his death is not given.

At the time of his death, which took place at Brighton, he was writing his celebrated story, “The Idol’s Eye,” which was then appearing in “The Sons of Britannia,” and he did not complete it.  Those who have read it will note where some other writer has taken up the yarn and completed it quite differently to the originator’s intention and style.  Several of his stories (including “The Black Angel,” which was afterwards published in “The Illustrated London Clipper,” in 1875-76, but not completed) were published in book form between 1871 and 1886, and had a large sale.  Not long ago a new edition was published principally for the Colonies.  There are twenty-three records to Hayward’s name in the British Museum catalogue.  His tragic end is mentioned by Mr. E. Harcourt Burrage in his interesting work, “The Ruin of Fleet Street,” published 1880-81.

In No. 52 appeared “Hark Away Jack; or, The King of the Fox Hunters,” by Tom Towels, illustrated by Maguire.  No. 54, “Rupert the Ready:  A Story of the Great Armada,” by George Emmett, sequel to “Adrift on the Spanish Main,” by the same author, illustrated by Maguire.  No. 55, “Paul Jones, the Rover,” by Charles Stevens and Maguire.  In the same number is “Move On,” another fine tale by E. H. Burrage and Maguire.

In No. 59, Oct. 22, it was announced that a change of proprietor had taken place, and Charles Stevens’s name as editor disappeared.  No. 61, “The Old Dragoon,” by an old soldier (G. Emmett).  64, “Ralph Rattleton.”  68, “Lionel Westmore, the Young Adventurer in Search for the Golden Idol.”  (From No. 64 the journal was conducted by George Emmett).  82, “For Honour; or, The Young Privateer,” by Burrage and Maguire, also “Handy Bob:  What He Did and How He Did It,” by author of “Harlequin Hal,” illustrated by Phiz.  74, “Karl the Uhlan; or, The Cast of the Die,” “Shot and Shell” series, by G. Emmett and Maguire.  91, “Bonnie Dundee.”  92, “Winning His Fortune.”  104, “The King’s Swordsmen,” illustrated by Maguire.  107, “Metmora, the Forest King.”  105, “The Privateer’s Bride.”  110, “Ben, the Boatswain,” illustrated by W. Reynolds.  114, “The Fighting Friar,” also “Hack Cringle, the One-armed Buccaneer,” by Ned Buntline.  118, “Ruy Diaz.”  123, “William Tell; or, Make Way for Liberty.”  126, “The Lost Dragoon,” by the author of “Three Brave Boys.”  132, “The Alabama Privateer,” a sea tale of the great American War, by Lieut. Leslie Gordon, C.N., illustrated by W. Reynolds.  135, “Buffalo Bill’s Best Shot.”  143, “The Fugitive Cavalier,” by A. Sherrington.  153, “Jack’s the Lad,” by Burrage and Maguire.  150, “Buffalo Bill’s Last Victory.”  169, “The Haunted School; or, The Secret of Gayford Manor,” by Vane St. John.  164, “The Young Spartan; or, The Heroes of Thermopylae,” by the author of “The Roman Standard Bearer.”  173, “English Jack the Drummer.”  178, Vol. 4, Jan 27, 1873, “Will Dudley; or, The Phantom Horseman of Hounslow Heath,” by W. L. Emmett and Maguire.  183, “Jack Rag:  A Fight for a Fortune,” by Henry Emmett.  188, “From Cabin Boy to Admiral,” by P. B. St. John, illustrated by Maguire.  193, May 12, “Jack O’ the Mint; or, A Hundred Years Ago,” by Vane St. John, illustrated by Maguire and R. Proctor.  201, “The War Tiger of the Modocs,” by Captain Carleton.  204, July 28, “The Cannibal Crusoe; or, Adventures in the South Sea Island,” by P. B. St. John and Maguire.  205, “Ned Neversplit,” by E. H. Burrage and Maguire.  216, “Sent to Sea to Founder; or, Cabin Boy to Coffin Ship,” dedicated to S. Plimsoll. M. P.  219, “The King of the Pampas.”  220, “Hal and His Chum Jack,” by A. Sherrington, illustrated by Phiz.  244, Vol. 6, April 25, 1874, “The Black Watch,” by G. Emmett.  236, “Timothy Tatters; or, From Beggar to Baronet,” illustrated by Phiz and R. Prowse.  242, “Brave Harry Thorne, the Hero of the Southern Seas,” by E. H. Burrage and Maguire.  248, “The Son of a Soldier,” illustrated by Maguire.  “Royston Gown; or, The Days of Robin Hood.”  252, “Benjamin Badluck’s Schooldays,” by Vane St. John, illustrated by Phiz and Maguire.

NOTE.—From this point the illustrations and general “get-up” of the journal became rather commonplace and ordinary, and it lost its smartness and brilliancy.

“Jack Harkaway Out West,” by Bracebridge Hemyng, illustrated by Taylor.  262, “The Sentinel of Pompeii,” by the author of “A Student Cavalier,” illustrated by Maguire.  280, “Fred of the Falcon; or, The Flying Dutchman,” by Frank Mercer, also “Trapdoor Tom,” and “The Young Buccaneer,” by P. B. St. John.

From this point the journal became more and more commonplace.  The principal tales in Vol. 7 are “The Mystery of the Burning Island,” by H. Emmett, “Boys will be Boys,” by A. Brantt Thorne, illustrated by Phiz, “My Bonnie Brown Mare,” by Frank Mercer, “The Snow Ship,” by Percy B. St. John, “Tales of Our Boys,” by A. Sherrington, illustrated by Phiz.  303, “Astrella, the Reader of the Stars,” by Vane St. John.  326, “Tom O’ the Reef; or, The Wreckers of Dead Man’s Bay,” by Vane St. John, “Three Jolly Stroller Boys,” by Burrage and Phiz.  322, “Tom Rackett,” illustrated by Phiz.  312, “Jack Harkaway and His Friends in Search of a Mountain of Gold,” by B. Hemyng and Maguire.  328, “The Coral Reef,” by P. B. St. John.  331, Nov. 17, 1875, “Ulva’s Chief:  or, The Wraith of Loch Gyle,” by Frank Mercer and Maguire.  338, “Harold Hardy; or, The Enchanted Island,” by Bertie Harcourt, also “From Start to Finish,” by Phillip Hemyng.  (It is presumed the last two authors were brothers of E. H. Burrage and Bracebridge Hemyng).  340, Vol. 8, Jan. 1, 1876.  From this point the volumes take an unexplained spring to XII., XIV, and XV., but the numbers continue in consecutive order.  “Swift Wing; or, The Prairie Warrior.”  342, “Master John Bull at the French Academy.”  347, “Duncan the Daring.”  351, “Jack Harkaway on the Prairie,” by B. Hemyng and Taylor.  372, “Frolicksome Fred’s Schooldays,” and “The Soldiers of Fortune,” sequel to “John Bull at the French Academy.”  376, Sept. 16, 1876, “Jack Harkaway and the Secret of Wealth,” by Bracebridge Hemyng.  This is the last of the “Harkaway” series in the Emmett’s publications, and the only tale that has not been published in book form.  355, “The Golden Creek,” by G. Emmett, “The Silver Rock; or, The Star of the Seas.”  382, Vol. XV, (?) Oct. 28, “Lost in the Bush; or, Boomerang Bill,” illustrated by R. Proctor.  392, Vol. XVI. (?) “Phantom Jack; or, The Skeleton Regiment,” illustrated by Maguire, “The Pirate Slave,” by B. Hemyng.  402, “The Young Scouts,” illustrated by Taylor.  407, “Billy Harlow; or, Rough and Ready,” by B. Hemyng.  413, June 2, “Dabber’s Pocket-Book,” by E. H. Burrage, commences.  417, “The Lake of Light; or, The Search for the Diamond Mound,” also “Shadrach O’Connor, the Brave Irish Boy,” old Phiz illustrations.  423, “Sam Sawbones; or, Life and Adventures of a Medical Student,” by B. Hemyng.  428, Vol. XXVII., Sept. 22, 1877, “The Young Rover of the Wilderness; or, The White Horse of the Prairie.”

The set of volumes from which the writer has taken these notes ends at No. 430, September 29, 1877, but he believes the journal ran to a few more numbers.


February 22, 1919.


is a scarcely known journal.  No. 1, Vol. 1, Jan., 1875, contains “The Island of Rubies;

or, The Enchanted Steed,” by Valentine Durrant, “The Life and Adventures of Captain

John Smith, Freebooter, Buccaneer, Pirate and Explorer,” “Captain and Colonel,” by J. J.

G. Bradley, etc.  Published by Ward, Lock & Tyler.  Only Parts 1 & 2 are in the British Museum, so I cannot say how long it lasted.



This was published by John Dicks, of “Bow Bells” fame, on January 6, 1877, but it was a rather short-lived journal, only running to 100 numbers, the last one being dated Nov. 30, 1878, when it became incorporated with “The Boys’ Halfpenny Journal,” another short-lived publication by John Dicks.  The serials in both journals call for no special comment, but the journals on the whole—particularly “The Boys’ Herald”—were of a good toned character.  There are no copies of either journal in the British Museum and few are known to be in existence.  Some new and afterwards famous authors are introduced to us.

The serials include “The Young Rebels,” by Henry Baker, “Charley Lane,” by G. Manville Fenn, “Rob Marston,” by A. W. Thompson, “Runaway Jack,” by C. H. Ross, “Comrades in Arms,” by Charles Stevens, “Owen Redgrave; or, The Buccaneers,” “Kyd’s Treasure,” by Percy B. St. John, “Mr. Tambuster at Oxford,” “Leo, the Zingaroo,” by H. Baker, “Black Adder; or, The Wreckers of the Channel,” “Harry Belmore’s Schooldays,” and “The Mutiny of the Marlborough,” by the author of “Harry Belmore.”

A striking feature was a descriptive history of the Castles of England, finely illustrated.



This well-conducted journal was first published on Saturday, July 18, 1874, and as far as the writer knows, only ran to 38 numbers, (April 3, 1875.)  It was edited by William Watkins and first printed by William Cate, Cursitor Street, E.C., and published by Henry

Williams, 17, Warwick Lane, E.C.  The serials were “Custalya; or, The Silent Hunter,” by Percy B. St. John, “The Little Skipper; or, Adrift on a Coral Island,” by Gerald Franklin, “Ethel; or, True as Steel,” by Arthur Thompson, “The Great White Hand; or, The Tiger of Cawnpore,” by J. E. Muddock.

The later numbers were published by J. A. Champion, 147, Fleet Street, also at 89, Shoe Lane, E.C.

This was of a too high tone to suit the boys of the period, consequently it did not live long, only the first 26 numbers are in the British Museum.




This very popular periodical was first printed and published by William Lucas (for the

Proprietor?) at Victoria House, Newcastle St.  It was afterwards printed by Sully & Ford, Plough Court, Fetter Lane, and published by Charles Fox at Victoria House, as above.

It ran to 288 numbers—nearly eleven vols., the last number being dated March 7, 1881, when it became incorporated with the new series.

No. 1 was dated Saturday, November 6, 1875, and had a coloured plate presented with it, entitled “Friend or Foe,” and on page 12 of No. 1 appears the following Address:—

“In the fair autumn of the present year of grace one thousand eight hundred and seventy Mr. John Bull was pacing the thickly carpeted floor of his study, with an anxious and perturbed expression on his features, yet apparently there was no cause for this.  He had an income of ever so many millions a year; when he balanced his books there was a goodly show of figures on the right side of the ledger.  He was at peace with everybody, and all his people were contented. Presently he stopped, and rang the bell, in answer to which summons a gorgeous menial appeared.

“ ‘Send my steward to me.’

“A few minutes passed and then the sagacious and venerable steward of Mr. John Bull appeared.

“ ‘Bendizzee,’ said Mr. John Bull.  ‘The present, thanks to you, is all that I could hope for; I am prosperous, I am at peace, and my people are contented; yet I am anxious for the future of my children—John, Sandy and Patrick.  Bad examples are springing up before them, especially with regard to the principal part of my business, seamanship—witness the ‘Alberta’ collision and the loss of the ‘Vanguard.’

“ ‘But, sir,’ said the steward, respectfully; ‘with regard to the ‘Alberta’ affair, the ‘Mistletoe must have been in fault.’

“ ‘How do you make that out?’ said Mr. John Bull, a little sternly.

“ ‘Was not the Captain specially decorated by order of the highest authority, next to yours, respected sir?’

“ ‘Yes; and I’ll decorate him with the order of the sack, as my friend ‘Fun’ suggests;’ said Mr. Bull.  ‘But, come, Bendizzee—to the point.  How are my children to be kept in the right path—to be taught to love truth, to hate cowardice, to reverence their honour, and, above all things, to abhor malice, meanness, and treachery?’

“ ‘I have thought the matter over, sir, since you first suggested it to me,’ replied Bendizzee, as he felt carefully in his right-hand pocket (coat tail), ‘and I have procured a guide infallible.’

“ ‘Call up the boys,’ said Mr. John Bull, tugging heartily at the bell.  ‘Fetch John, and Sandy and Patrick at once.’

“And they came—three splendid specimens of the race that dominates the world.

“Bendizzee slowly unfolded the packet which he had taken from his coat-tail pocket, and presented each in turn the first number of


The first number contained as serials, “Follow my Leader; or, Lionel Wilful’s Schooldays,” by “Charlton” (pen name if Harry Emmett), finely illustrated by Phiz, “Gentleman George,” by J. J. G. Bradley, illustrated by a new artist named G. C. Tressider, “On the Queen’s Service,” illustrated by W. Reynolds.  Some short stories, correspondent pages, and advertisements completed the number.  In No. 13 appeared “The Devil’s Diamond,” and in No. 20, March 18, 1876, commenced the famous “Handsome Harry,” by E. Harcourt Burrage.  25, “Bluecap:  The Bushranger; or, The Australian Dick Turpin.”  45, “Caractacus.”  53, “The King of Diamonds.”  58, “The Troublesome Twins.”  62, “Sword and Lance.”  69, “The King’s Champion.”  77, “Freebooters and Sharpshooters,” and in 79, Vol. 4, May 5, 1877, the celebrated “Cheerful Ching Ching,” by E. Harcourt Burrage.  86, “The Young Royalist.”  87, “Young Will Watch, The Smuggler King.”  95, “Boyhood’s Battles.”  98, “The Tiger King.”  103, “The School on the Sea,” by E. Harcourt Burrage.  110, “A Fatal Fortune.”  114, “He Would be a Clown.”  120, “Dashing Duke; or, The Mystery of the Red Mask,” illustrated by R. Prowse.  125, “Ralph the Foundling.”  128, Vol. 5, April 13, 1878, “Broad Arrow Jack,” by E. Harcourt Burrage.  These stories were followed in subsequent numbers by “Spring Heel’d Jack:  The Terror of London,” “Cheeky Charlie; or, What a Boy can do,” “Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” “Morgan the Buccaneer:  The Scourge of the Spanish Main,” “Green as Grass,” a jolly School story, “Turnpike Dick, the Star of the Road,” “The Poor Boys of London,” “Captain Macheath, the Prince of the Highway,” “The Adventures of Jack Sheppard,” “Paul Jones the Pirate—The Terror of the Sea,” “Guy Fawkes; or, Gunpowder, Treason and Plot,” “Famous Fights in the Prize Ring,” “Three-Fingered Jack, the Terror of the Antilles,” “Lion and Tiger; or, The Pirates of the South Pacific,” and many others.  The last volumes contained “The King of the Castle,” “The Black Bandit,” “A Wall of Steel; or, the Rush of the Whirlwind,” “The Gold Beetle,” by Edgar Poe, “A Mad Recruit,” “Little Tim,” “The Lion of the Prairie; or, Scouts and Scamps,” “The Haunted Brig,” “True to His Word,” “The Crimson Mask,” “Bad from His Birth,” illustrated by Phiz.  No. 274, Vol. XI., Jan. 29, 1881, “Daring Ching Ching; or, The Mysterious Cruise of the Swallow,” by E. Harcourt Burrage.  In the same volume, “Hal the Outcast; or, From Beggar to Baronet,” illustrated by Phiz, “Will o’ the Wave; or, The Wreckers’ Revenge,” and “Starlight Tom; or, The Riders of the Forest.”

The series ends with No. 288, as previously mentioned.  There is unfortunately only the first nine numbers in the British Museum, and the writer has had much trouble and research to compile the list of serials.

It will be noticed that several of the stories had previously appeared in some of the Emmett publications, and it would be some time about this date (1881) when Mr. William Cate became the printer and publisher of the Hogarth House series of novels, which have become so well known all over the English-speaking world.



(New Series.)

This was first published by Charles Fox at Victoria House, Newcastle Street, Strand, and afterwards at 4, Shoe Lane, Fleet Street.  No. 1 (289 Old Series) dated Saturday, May 14, 1881, contained “Fighting Blade; or, The Bullfighter of Madrid,” “Starlight Tom,” “Tom Torment,” and “Daring Ching Ching.”

A peculiarity of this issue was that it was not divided into volumes, but numbers ran straight onwards.  The last number in the British Museum is 580, dated June 18, 1892.  The “Boys’ Leisure Hour” was incorporated with No. 552, Dec. 5, 1891, and “The Boys’ Champion” with 560, Jan 20, 1892.

The greater part of the serials were those previously published in the Emmett publications, but there were none of “The Shot and Shell,” nor of “The Hogarth House Series” of tales.  Several of E. Harcourt Burragge’s appeared, including “Giant Jack,” “A World of Ice,” “Harry Power,” and “Only a Factory Lad.”  The new serials included “Turnpike Dick; or, The Star of the Road,” “George Barrington, the Polite Pickpocket,” “Vidocq, the Great French Detective,” and “Timothy Teazer’s Adventures at Dr. Catemwell’s Academy,” by Ralph Rollington, the first mention of this writer’s name in boys’ literature.



A re-issue of the favourite Journal, “The Boys’ Standard.”

Such was the announcement of the publication of this exceedingly popular journal, which upon the whole was a better conducted one than its predecessors.  Number 1 was published Saturday, Aug. 23, 1884, and contained as serials “The Roman Standard Bearer,” “Gentlemen George, King of the Road,” and “On the Queen’s Service” (both belonging to the Hogarth House Library series), “A Sword for a Fortune,” and “Our Boys’ Adventures North, South, East and West.”  The number of “Hogarth House” publications that appeared in this journal leads me to think that George Emmett had some interest in its production.  It was at first published (for the proprietors) by Charles Fox at Caxton House, Bolt Court, Fleet Street, (now known as 11, Gough Square, the publishing house of “Spare Moments,” and other weekly journals), but afterwards by Charles Fox, the proprietor, at 4, Shoe Lane, Fleet Street.

In No. 20 commenced “Wonderful Ching Ching,” by E. Harcourt Burrage, followed by “Blue Cap, the Bushranger” in 25, “Caractacus” in 45, “Young Ching Ching” in 53, “The King of Diamonds” in 59, “The Troublesome Twins” in 64, “Young Will Watch” in 79, and “Dashing Duke” in 106.  “Three Fingered Jack” in 114, “He Would be a Clown” in 125, “Green as Grass” in 131, “Cheeky Charlie” in 164, “The Romance of Newgate” in 199.  Several of the above-mentioned “Hogarth House Tales” were reprinted in the later numbers.  The remainder of the serials included many that originally appeared in the Emmett journals, and a few original tales that call for no special comment.  The publication ran to 535 numbers, the last dated June 6, 1891, and forming 13 volumes.

Towards the end the journal became very commonplace in character, and it is evident that either the circulation and profits were dwindling, or the proprietor had lost all interest in the publication.  This would seem to be proved by the journal being incorporated with “The Boys’ Standard.”



This was another production of Charles Fox, 4, Shoe Lane, No. 1 being published on Monday, April 1, 1889, but it had a very short life, only running to 144 Nos. in 4 Vols., the last dated December 28, 1891, when it also became incorporated with “The Boys’ Standard” New Series.

The serials comprised mostly a number of those that had previously appeared in Emmett publications—“Boys’ Standard” and “Boys’ Leisure Hour,”—including “Tom Torment,” “Giant Jack,” “Mazeppa; or, The Wild Horse of Tartary,” by W. Borlase, “Jack O’ Clubs,” “The Link Boys of Old London,” “Old Winchester; or, The Schooldays of Dick Tichborne,” “Those Dreadful Boys,” “Benjamin Badluck,” “Handy Bob,” “Ben the Buccaneer,” “An Ocean of Ice,” “The Devil’s Bridge,” “Gilderoy,” and “Ned Neversplit,” etc., and one or two new ones, including “Dickon the Page; or, The Last of the Plantagenets,” “Colonel Blood:  A Romance of Alsatia,” and “Black Wolf, the Pirate King and his Young Invincibles.”  Like “The Boys’ Leisure Hour,” the paper used towards the end of its issue was very inferior in appearance, and no doubt hastened its death.  Boys are quick to notice a variation in “get-up” and orders probably diminished in consequence.



This was another venture of Charles Fox’s, but had the shortest life of any of his publications.  The first number was published in May and the last in July, 1887.  Although the serials were some of the old and tried ones, including “The Doomed City” (a weird tale for a boys’ journal), by Bracebridge Hemyng, “Timothy Teazer,” by Ralph Rollington, “Ben Braveall,” by the editor (Alfred Sherrington), and “Our Lynn,” by Henry Emmett, it failed to secure patronage, and became incorporated with “The Boys’ Standard.”



was a bolder bid by Charles Fox for gaining popularity, No. 1 being published on March 18, 1896, but although only a halfpenny in price, it had a very short life.  It ran to 85 numbers, and finished on October 20, 1897.

Paper in those days was expensive compared to the early years of the present century, and only a huge circulation could have recouped the proprietor for his outlay.  He evidently failed to secure it.

With the exception of a serial “Margaret Catchpole,” (surely a peculiar tale for a boys’ journal), “Mat Graves, the Yorkshire Highwayman,” and “Robert Macaire,” all the serials and tales were reprints from the Emmett publications and “Boys’ Standard.”

This completes what were in those days termed the sensational boys’ journals, which were a class to themselves, both as regards their tales, stories and romances, as well as their illustrations and general “get-up.”  Their readers were legion, and it is wonderful how many of their old admirers are still in existence, as evidenced by the rush to obtain copies, should any perchance be discovered and offered for sale.  Prices rule high.  It is not uncommon for a volume to change hands at £2, which originally cost 4/4 in numbers.

With the exception of “The Boys’ Standard,” “The Boys’ Leisure Hour,” and “The Boys’ Champion Journal,” there are no copies or records in the British Museum.



The biggest and best Boys’ Journal.  The Standard Journal for all Boys

where the English Language is spoken.

Such was the full title of Mr. Charles Fox’s final boys’ paper, which was published from 9, Red Lion Court, E.C.  No. 1, dated Thursday, September 5, 1895, consisted of 24 quarto pages with three or four illustrations that had previously done service in other journals, and the price was one halfpenny.  In spite of all this it did not live long, as it finished up with the unlucky number 13 on November 28, 1895.  In the British Museum it is marked “No more received.”  The serials were mostly old friends dished up afresh, and included “Tom Torment Abroad; or, Chums against Bullies,” “Jack Fairweather; or, When We Were at School Together,” “Nick O’ the Wood,” “The Three Stowaways,” “Glorious Boyhood,” “A Young Rip,” and “Four Bold Britons.”  In those days most publishers took “moulds” of the pages, and it was no doubt by utilising these and saving the setting up in type of the stories that the halfpenny ventures were tried.  Altogether it was a very common and ordinary publication, and printed on the cheapest possible paper.


March 1, 1919.




This boys’ journal belongs to practically another generation of readers and admirers, who as a rule possessed but little interest for the Brett and Emmett publications.  It was produced by Mr. John Allingham under the pen name of Ralph Rollington, and published by Allingham and Holloway at 29, Farringdon Street, E.C., the date of No. 1 being Saturday, April 12, 1879.  The journal ran to nine volumes, the issues for each volume being similarly numbered from 1 upwards.  The last number was dated Dec. 27, 1886.  Some time about September, 1886, a change in the proprietorship took place and the journal was published by Joseph Hughes, 4, Pilgrim Street, Ludgate Hill.  “Ralph Rollington” explains his severance from the journal on page 75 of his “Brief History of Boys’ Journals,” published by H. Simpson, 85, Colton Street, Leicester.  The British Museum only possesses Nos. 14, Vol. 5, March 19, 1883.  The first number is marked “Cannot supply back dates before.  All before March 19, 1883 wanting.”  (Initialled by a B.M. official).

During “Ralph Rollington’s” connection with the “Boys’ World” some capital serials by clever and well-known authors, including himself, appeared.  Thus in Vol. 1 we find:  “Overboard,” by J. E. Arnold, “Warwick; or, The Power of Chivalry:  an Historical Romance,” by B. Beaumont, “Disinherited,” by Vane St. John, “Prince Dick of Dahomey,” by James Greenwood, “That Larry of Ours,” Vane St. John, “The Wonder Seeker,” W. Stephens Hayward (who had then been dead some years), “Ralph Rollington at Sea and in America,” the editor, “Dick Chevely,” W. H. G. Kingston, “Boadicea,” Beaumont, “Valorous Joe,” John Holloway, “Wiggles,” George Emmett, “The Midshipman of the Medusa,” by Philip B. Hemyng, “Fearless and Free,” Vane St. John, “Cousin Dick’s Schooldays,” and “Ralph Rollington in Australia,” by the editor.  Vol. 3, “The Three Orphans,” by Cyril Hathway, “Allan Fairfax,” Ernest Brent, “The King of the Sea,” Henry Charlton Emmett, “See-Saw; or, The Ups and Downs of a Boy’s Life,” Alfred Phillips, “The Young Rebel Officer,” W. Stephens Hayward, “Peter Podger and Sam Slocum,” and “Tom Takeitall,” by the editor.  Vol. 4, “Magna Charta,” B. Beaumont, “Midshipman Merry,” Charlton, “The Doomed Ship,” W. S. Hayward, “The Dark Island,” Percy B. St. John, “Boot and Saddle,” Beaumont, “The Cruise of the Spitfire,” W. Stephens Hayward, and one or two others by J. Holloway and Leon Lewis.  Vol. 5, “The Boys of Marford,” by E. Harcourt Burrage (one of his best tales), “Mid of the Firefly,” Charlton, “From Pole to Pole,” Stainforth, “Under Fourteen Flags,” Col. MacIver, “Honour before Gold,” Beaumont, and “Young Tom Rollington,” by the editor.  Vol. 6, “Full Fathoms Five,” Stainforth, “In the Name of the King,” and “A Young Bluejacket,” Charlton, “The Young Explorers,” Leon Lewis, “Dick Darlington,” by the editor.  Vol. 7, “Sid Spangle; or, The Sorrows of a Stage-struck Boy,” by the author of “Hal the Young Harlequin,” “Glaucus the Gladiator,” by Frank Stainforth, “Fred Funny Bone and Tom Tub at Starve ‘Em Academy,” by Ralph Rollington, “The Two Privateers,” “Billy Ding Dong,” “Only a Cabin Boy,” by Charlton, “Left His Home; or, The Young Rover,” by Bracebridge Hemyng, “The Brothers,” by Ralph Rollington, “An Ocean Waif; or, A Boy’s Adventures in the Land of Hidden Wealth,” by Cyril Hathway, “The Boy Guide’s Secret; or, The Mountain of Gold.”

In No. 38, June 22, 1885, appeared a full-page illustration with portraits of “Ralph Rollington” and Bracebridge Hemyng, described as the two most successful writers of boys’ stories of modern times.  Vol. 8, “Rupert Reckless,” by Ralph Rollington, “A Boy and a Girl’s Battle; or, The Captain’s Conspiracy,” by Leon Lewis, “Merry Andrew,” by Cyril Hathway, “Out with Gordon Pacha,” by F. Stainforth, “Geoffrey Glynn,” by W. D. L’Estrange, “The White Kangaroo,” by Leon Lewis, “The Wild Boy’s Pet,” by the same author, and one or two others.

With No. 51 a new heading to title page appeared, and the general “get-up,” illustrations, and pages were better.  “The Boy Detective; or, the Hidden Treasure.” On September 13, 1886, Mr. Ralph Rollington severed his connection with the journal.  In No. 57, Oct. 25, appeared “Rescued; or, The Cruise of the Seamew,” by J. Edwin Arnold.  No. 58 completed the old series.

In Vol. 9 (New Series) November 8, 1886, commenced “A Tale of the Three Kingdoms,” by Leon Lewis, “Harry Churchill:  His Adventures and Misadventures,” by W. H. G. Kingston, and “Harry Clifton,” by J. Edwin Arnold.  In spite of the good literature, well-executed illustrations, and superior conducting the journal failed to hold its own.  Beyond a doubt it was successful whilst conducted by “Ralph Rollington,” but it depreciated when taken over by its new proprietors.  I understand that the original publishers got into financial difficulties and assigned the copyright to its stationers, in part satisfaction of their debt.  The latter also took over the matter of the numbers, and an attempt was made to carry on the paper by reprinting some of the early stories.  The boys soon discovered this change and circulation dropped, until finally it ceased to appear after No. 10, Vol. 9.



Soon after starting “The Boys’ World,” Mr. Rollington produced this capital journal with No. 1, Nov. 18, 1880, the general “get-up” being on the same lines.  The chief serials in Vol. 1 were “Stories of My Old School Chums,” “A True British Sailor,” “Phillip Devon, the Young Lieutenant,” by Charlton, “Drummer Boy Dick,” “For Life and Fortune,” by Leon Lewis, “The Three Cavaliers; or, The Champions of the Queen of Scots,” “The Sunken Treasure,” “Timothy Twister’s Schooldays,” by E. Harcourt Burrage.  Vol. 2, “Alfred Harwood, the Youthful Yachtsman,” by A. T. Maitland, “The Red Horseman,” “Sam Springtide, the Young Stroller,” by Cyril Hathway, “Glenallin; or, Scotland at the War,” by author of “Rhoderick Dhu,” “Windford Wylde,” by Charlton, who also contributed “George Gordon,” “The Land of Fire,” by Vincent Quintana, “Blondel, the Minstrel,” by Percy Gordon, “The Mid of the Firefly,” by Charlton, and “Gordon Goodfellow,” by Ralph Rollington.  Vol. 3, “Pyramid Pete,” by author of “Rob, the Rover,” “Stirring Adventures in Canada,” by the Marquise of Lorne, “From Pole to Pole,” by F. Stainforth, and “Timothy Twister’s Schooldays,” Burrage.  The journal came to an end with No. 18, Vol. 3, Jan. 31, 1883, and was incorporated with “The Boys’ World,” the serials being continued in same.

Another venture of Messrs. Allingham and Holloway was a small 64 page journal called “The Boys’ World Pocket Library.”  Each number contained a complete story.  It was a very attractively got-up weekly, and had a very fair sale.  Its size was about 6ins. by 5ins.  None of these publications seem to have found their way into the British Museum.  The only record in “Ralph Rollington’s” name is “A Brief History of Boys’ Journals,” December 13, 1913, the Press number being O11853, C.C. 34.



After leaving “The Boys’ World,” “Ralph Rollington” became the editor of another journal called “The New Boys’ Paper,” which was published by W. Burgess, 56, Southwark Street, S.E., No. 1 dated Saturday, Oct. 2, 1886.  The serials were:  “The Cruise of the Phantom,” by Charlton, “The Sword and the Treasure,” “Barrington’s Fag,” by Herbert St. Clair, which was the pen name of Mr. Herbert J. Allingham, author of “Ralph Rollington.”  He was then at Cambridge, and this was his first literary attempt.  In 1889 he took over the editorship of THE LONDON JOURNAL (q.v.).  The other notable stories in “The New Boys’ Paper” were “For His Friend’s Sake,” by Gus Meredith, “Dare Dudley; or, The Mystery of Duncaster Castle,” by R. Rollington, “Lasso, Lance and Rifle,” by Leon Hunter, “Toby Tyler,” “Facing the World,” “Uncle Jabez, and The Wild Norsemen of the Polar Seas,” “The Brave Boys of The Basilisk,” “Buffalo Bill,” by Captain M. Hunter, “The Red League; or, The Palace of the People,” “The Boy Wonder,” “The Cabin Boy of the Polly Ann; or, The Gardens of Paradise,” “Happy Jack the Rover,” “The Mystery of the Satinwood Box,” “Spangles and Gold,” “The Fire Boy,” and “The Death Trailers of the Wild West.”

With No. 74, Feb. 25, 1888, “The New Boys’ Paper” ceased publication under that title and became “The British Boys’ Paper,” published by the Aldine Publishing Co., 9, Red Lion Court.  Mr. Rollington’s name disappeared after No. 23, Vol. 1.



Mr. S. Dacre Clarke, who adopted the pen name of “Guy Rayner,” was a most prolific writer of boys’ stories, and producer of boys’ journals.  Whilst still a youth he contributed several stories to the earlier journals, but with his first journal,



he launched out as an Editor and publisher.  It was published by H. J. Brandon, 7, Bolt Court, Fleet Street. No. 1, Oct. 18, 1884.  The title heading was a neat and attractive one, the illustrations exceptionally good, and the general get-up first class, differing in many ways to the earlier boys’ papers.  The opening serials were:  “The Silver Island; or, The Fortune of a Castaway” (with a coloured plate), by the editor, “The Enchanted Sword,” “The Schooldays of Merry Mac,” “The Boy Ventriloquist,” by the author of “Dick Darling,” etc., “The Palace of Tears; or, The Genie of the East.”

Only one volume of 26 numbers was issued, the last number being dated April 11, 1885.



By Dacre Clarke, published at 9, Dean Street, Fetter Lane, came out on September 26, 1885.  It commenced with the serials “The Voyage of the Conqueror,” by the editor, “For Honour of Old England,” by the author of “Dick Darling,” “Guy Rayner’s Schooldays,” by the Editor, “Sea Star; or, The Corsair of the Isles,” by T. E. Pinder, and “The Antelope Mine,” by E. S. Hope.  The journal ran to two volumes, but there are only a few numbers of Volume 1 in the British Museum.



This was printed by Shaw and Co., 8-9, Plough Court, Fetter Lane, and published by J. S. Turner and Co., 2, Red Lion Court.  It was issued to suit the tastes of both sexes, but it had a very short life of only 17 numbers.  The first was dated Saturday, July 30, 1887, and the last Nov. 19, the same year.  The serials consisted of “The Fairies’ Champion; or, the Sunset Islands,” by Edwin S. Hope, exceedingly well illustrated by the author, “Charley and Jack,” by Guy Rayner, who also contributed “Gertrude’s Trials,” and “Behind the Desk,” “Out of the Depths,” by A. Hunter, and “Bold Robin Hood; or, Under the Forest Shades,” by E. S. Hope.  The general get-up was good, but it failed to attract, and the journal became incorporated with



This was rather a good journal and contained some capital stories, including “In a Pirate City,” by E. S. Hope, “Kempton House School,” by W. Bridges, “The White Monk of St. Andrews,” and “Mat Marchmount after Schooldays,” by Guy Rayner, “The Last of the Chisholm’s,” “Will and Amos,” and “The Earl’s Legacy.”

The journal, however, completed its run with No. 22, April 21, 1888.



This was published during the Jubilee year of 1887.  Unfortunately the British Museum does not possess any copy or record, so beyond the titles of two serials, “The Guardian of the Treasure; Sequel to The Two Castaways,” and “Guy Rayner in Spain,” I cannot give any further details.  The journal ran to two vols., and ceased issue on June 9, 1888, when it became incorporated with



printed by Shaw and Co., and published by the Popular Publishing Co., 2, Red Lion Court, E.C.  No. 1 came out on Saturday, June 16, 1888, and the serials included:  “The Dread Unknown,” by Edgar D’Arcy, “The Lone Lagoon; or, The Biche-De-Mar,” “Gatherers,” by E. S. Hope, “The Pride of the Ring,” by Guy Rayner, also “Jack Freeman’s Schooldays,” by the Editor, “The Voyage of the Conqueror,” by Dacre Clarke, “The Golden Dragoon,” by Chas. T. Podmore, who also contributed “The Story of an Outcast,” “Dick Arden’s Quest,” and “Sylvester Strood.”  Guy Rayner also contributed “Guy Rayner among the Brigands,” and “The Scarlet Captain; or, The Mystery of the Thames.”  George Emmett contributed “Too Much Alike; or, You Couldn’t Tell Tother from Which,” which was not completed when the journal ceased to appear, No. 38, March 2, 1889.  The general get-up of the journal was very good; it was well illustrated and printed on good paper.  As a matter of fact this applies to all the journals Guy Rayner or S. Dacre Clarke was connected with.



Published first at 6, Fetter Lane, by the Popular Publishing Co., and afterwards at 2, Red Lion Court, was edited by Guy Rayner, and in the first number, Saturday, April 21, 1888, appeared one of his best school tales, “The Fatal Shot; or, The Mystery of Fernleigh School,” followed by another equally good tale, entitled “Born to be Hung; or the Doings of Three Bad Boys.”  Other serials were “The Prince of the Prairie,” “The Queen’s Shilling,” and an historical tale, “Cœur De Lion; or, The Heroes of the Cross,” “The Mystic Flower,” “Montague; or the Boys with the Serpent,” by E. S. Hope, “Faithful unto Death,” by J. N. Rentelow, “Caractacus, the Unconquered,” by the Editor, “St. Bartholomew,” by C. T. Podmore, “Treasure Trove,” by F. Stainforth, “The White Cockade,” by J. N. Rentelow, “The White Pasha,” by M. Henry, and one or two others.  The last number was 41, January 19, 1889, when it was announced that the publication was changed in title to



the serials being “Murder; or, The Knife with the Crimson Stain,” by Guy Rayner, who also contributed “That Aggravating Schoolboy,” “Mortlake of Tombstone; or, The Cowboys of Arizona,” by E. S. Hope.  There is no copy of this journal in the British Museum, so I cannot give more details, but it will be noticed how the tone of the journal changed in its titles of stories, quite different to Mr. Dacre Clarke’s usual style.


March 8, 1919.


This was published at 83, Farringdon Street, E.C., No. 1 being dated Saturday, March 8,
1890.  Its serials were “Harry Stanton:  A Story of Real Life,” “The Englishman in Spain,” and “When I was at School,” all by Guy Rayner; “Half Mast High,” by Commodore Fleming, R.N., “Riven by Steel,” by Col. Fenn, “Lost on a Continent,” by E. S. Hope, “The Underground City,” by Doctor Lorraine, “The Secret of the Brass Bound Trunk,” by E. S. Hope, “Victor Volans,” an adaptation of W. Stephens Hayward’s celebrated tale, “The Cloud King; or, Life in the Air and Down in the Sea,” “Honest Dick; or, Fighting Fate,” and several others.  Altogether the journal was a well-conducted one with really good illustrations.  The issues, however, ran to two volumes only of 26 numbers each, the last one being dated Feb. 28, 1891.  A new series was afterwards published, forming Vol. 3 of the first series, by the Hope Publishing Co., 3, Bolt Court, and with a new editor.

Mr. Dacre also issued “The Bad Boys’ Paper,” “Boyhood,” “Boys’ Mail,” “The Amazing Library,” “The Boys’ Novelette,” etc.  But there are unfortunately no copies or records of any of these in the British Museum.  Under his own name the records are “The Bonnie Boys of Britain,” 1884, and “The Life of W. E. Gladstone,” with portrait, P.P. 16, 1886.  Under Guy Rayner, “Boys and Girls,” “Boys of the United Kingdom,” 1887, “The Boys’ Graphic,” 1891, “Boys’ Popular Weekly,” 1889, “Young Briton’s Journal,” 1888, Guy Rayner’s “Heart’s of Gold Library of Complete Stories,” 1890, “My Lady Novelette,” 1888, and “Guy Rayner’s Schooldays,” 1887.



This was printed and published by Charles Shurey (formerly the publisher of “The Police
News”) at Caxton House, 11, Gough Square, E.C., from which address SPARE MOMENTS is now issued.  No. 1 was dated Jan. 14, 1893, and the issue ran to Oct. 1, 1895, when it was continued under the title of “Pals,” which, however, only ran to 16 numbers, at any rate, there are only that number recorded in the British Museum.  “Comrades” was really a re-issue of “The Boys’ World,” Mr. Shurey having purchased the matrices of that paper from the stationers who took them for their debt in 1886.  The serials were reprints from the Rollington publications.  There could have been little fault with the quantity for money, there being 24 pages with several illustrations to each number.  It took the boys by storm and became an immediate success—so much so that it became the foundation of the firm that is now known as “Shurey’s Publications Ltd.”

“Comrades” ran to three volumes, when the reprints became exhausted, and another re-issue was tried, which only lasted for 22 numbers.  It consisted of 16 pp., price one halfpenny.  It then became merged into “Pals.”  Further use of the old plates was made, when “Comrades” was published again by the same proprietors in 1898.  This time it apparently ran to five volumes, but the only copies of this issue in the British Museum under entry “Comrades,” New Series, June 7, 1897, consists of 16 numbers of Vol. 5.  These are very peculiar, for although the title page of “Comrades” is used, the contents consists of “The Duchess Novelette,” quite a different kind of publication, 24 pp., price one penny.  The last number is dated Jan. 17, 1898.  “The Duchess Novelette” was one of the Shurey publications and I can only conclude that the numbers got into a “Comrades” outer cover by mistake.  The paper used was of an inferior quality, and the general “get-up” was of a very “cheap” order.



That talented, genial, and exceedingly popular writer of Boys’ Stories, E. Harcourt Burrage, formulated and produced his smart, clever, well “got-up,” well illustrated, and remarkably successful boys’ journal, entitled:


the publisher being W. Lucas, 42-43, Essex Street, Strand, and Sully & Ford the printers.  No. 1 was published on June 14, 1888, and the opening serials were “Ching Ching and His Chums,” and “Slapdash Boys,” both from the able pen of the editor.  The journal consisted of 16 pages of larger size than the usual periodical, the paper was of good quality, and the illustrations, some seven or eight in number, and the general “get-up,” was most excellent.  A feature of this journal was that each volume consisted of thirteen numbers instead of the usual twenty-six.

Amongst the numerous and famous tales and stories, mainly from the pen of the editor, that appeared in the eleven volumes, comprising both “first” and “new series,” included the following, taken at random:  “The Veiled Captain,” “Handsome Harry,” “Cheerful,” “Daring,” and “Wonderful Ching Ching,” “Young Ching Ching,” “The Wild Adventures of Eddard and Jam Josser At Home” and “Abroad,” “The Brand of the Black Star,” “Valiant Roy; or, The Pirates’ Scourge,” “Our Boys Abroad,” “Jack of the Golden Belt,” “Dick Stornaway; or, a Hero in Spite of His Foes,” “The Further Exploits of Eddard and Jam Josser,” “Plucky Phil Farren,” “Hal O’ the Heath,” “Lionel the Bold,” “Gallant Hal and the Crew of the Silver Star,” “Tom Tartar at School,” “Young Ching Ching’s Schooldays,” “Ching Ching as a Detective,” “The Mutiny of the Lapwing,” “Dick Strongbow,” “Danger Ahead,” and many others.

With No. 92 the title was altered to “The Best for Boys—Ching Ching’s Own” (a rather cumbersome one in the present writer’s opinion), and the new publishing office was at Dr. Johnson’s (1709-1784) old house (now turned into a museum for the relics of the great moralist, essayist, and lexicographer), 17, Gough Square, Fleet Street.  The new series ran to 83 numbers, when the title was again altered to “The Best for Merry Boys—Ching Ching’s Own,” but the numbering continued, and under its new title reached 143 numbers, the date being June 17, 1893, making a total of 261 numbers from the commencement, a tolerably good run under the editorship of one man.  The journal then became merged with a new journal, entitled “Bits for Boys.”  Many of the “Ching Ching’s Own” serials were afterwards published in book form by “The Best for Boys Publishing Co.” and commanded a large and lucrative sale.  Like the journals, these volumes have become very scarce and valuable, collectors and old readers paying high prices for good sound copies.

Mr. Burrage did not confine his literary ability to boys’ stories absolutely, but wrote several works of much literary merit on a variety of subjects, as the many records under his name in the British Museum catalogues testify.  Two of his best and most respected works were “The Island School,” and “The Lambs of Littlecote.”

It may interest many old admirers, who may have lost sight of him, that he lived for many years at Reigate, Surrey, where he associated himself with the various local affairs and was elected a Councillor of that borough, an honour he held for some years.

The writer had the pleasure of several interviews with him, during which he recounted with great interest and descriptive power, many reminiscences of the old bohemian journalists, writers, authors, and publishers of the old boys’ journals, etc.  (Mr. Burrage and Mr. Ralph Rollington were at that time the only two remaining links with the old school.)

Mr. Burrage passed peacefully away, aged 77 years, on Sunday afternoon, March 5, 1916, and after a special funeral service at St. Matthew’s Church, where for many years he was a worshipper, which was conducted by the Venerable Archdeacon of Surrey, and was attended by his sorrowing widow and family, relatives, and many old friends, and representatives of the various local bodies, he was laid to rest in Reigate Cemetary.  “May peace rest his soul.”

Amongst his records may be mentioned the following:  “Bob Hardy, Agitator,” a novel, 1895, “Gerald Mostyn; or, The Son of a Genius,” 1877, “J. Passmore Edwards, Philanthropist,” a biography, 1902, “A Knowing Dog:  The Story of a Poodle much Loved and often Lost,” 1908, “The Man who found Klondyke,” “White Ivory,” and other stories, 1899, “The Missing Million,” 1897, “Out of the Deep,” 1895, “The Slave Raiders of Zanzibar,” 1896, “The Wurra Wurra Boys,” 1903, and “The Vanished Yacht,” 1898.

His nephew, Alfred S. Burrage (son of Alfred Burrage, who wrote numerous tales, etc., under the pen names of Cyril Hathway and Philander Jackson, H.N.A.), has one record under his name, “The Robin Hood Library,” (Aldine Publishing Co.), Nos. 1 to 88, 1901-1906, but there is none to the father and brother.


Fun, Fact, and Romance.

Machined by Sully & Ford, Plough Court, Fetter Lane, and published by E. Maurice, 48, Fleet Lane, Farringdon St.  Edited by Alfred Burrage (brother of E. Harcourt Burrage.)

No. 1, April 12, 1884, 16 quarto pages, three and four excellent illustrations, good paper, and on the whole a smart journal, with opening serials, “The Midship Mite; or, The Pride of the Spray,” “Ned Nevershake; or, Pluck and Honesty,” “The Mysterious Cavalier,” “Those Dear Old Schooldays,” by the Editor, “Chats with our Boys,” etc.  No. 6, “Young Sir Launcelot; or, How He Won the Golden Spurs,” by Douglas Gordon, “Tommy Tickleboy’s Troubles,” by Philander Jackson, H.U.A.  The last number of this journal was 9, June 7, 1884.  With No. 10 the journal became incorporated with a new journal, entitled:



which continued the serials and gave new ones, namely, “Captain St. George; or, The Fight for Vengeance and a Crown,” “Ragged Dick; or, Lost in the Cold, Cruel World,” by Philander Jackson, “Ocean Jack; or, The Flag of Freedom,” by Charlton.  No. 8, “Crusoe by Choice:  A Story of the Island of Golden Light,” by Cyril Hathway.  Unfortunately, the journal did not “catch on,” for it only ran to No. 10, August 16, 1884.

The proprietor proposed a scheme to form a syndicate of the subscribers, who would participate in the profits and dividends accruing from their investments, or joint stock enterprise, but it fell through, and the journal was discontinued.



One of the best old boys’ periodicals, read by both sexes, old and young alike, was the famous “Young Folks’ Weekly Budget,” published by Mr. J. Henderson at Red Lion House, Red Lion Court, Fleet Street.

No. 1 was published on a Monday in January, 1871, and consisted of eight pages of the unusual size, 12½ in. by 9 in.  The price was a halfpenny, and remained so up to No. 106, Vol. 3, January 22, 1873, when the journal was enlarged to sixteen pages and the price raised to one penny.  The title up to No. 288, Vol. 8, June 24, 1876, was “Our Young Folks’ Weekly Budget,” and better paper was used, the general “get-up” being superior to the earlier volumes.  The size of the sheets was altered to 14 in. by 9½ in., and in this form the periodical ran to No. 447, Vol. 14, June 28, 1879, when the title was again altered to “Young Folks.”  With No. 500, Vol. 17, July 3, 1880, the sheets were again enlarged to 16½ inches by 11½ inches, and continued in this form and title to No. 733, Vol. 24, December 20, 1884, when the journal was again altered to “The Young Folks’ Paper,” and ran to No. 1074, Vol. 38, June 27, 1891.  On the back page an announcement appeared as follow:  “Special to our Readers.—Further development of ‘Young Folks’ Paper,’—Change of title, on and after next week, to ‘Old and Young,’ a high-class Magazine for all readers.”

Under this new title it ran from No. 1075, Vol. 39, July 4, 1891, to No. 1353, Vol. 49, September 11, 1896, when it was discontinued.

It was supposed to be followed by a new publication under the title of “The Folks at Home,” but there was no resemblance between the two publications.  It is a remarkable fact that right through the entire series of “The Young Folks’ Budget,” the numbers and volumes follow consecutively in spite of the various titles.  It was edited throughout the greater period of its long run by “Roland Quiz” (Richard Quittenton), whose celebrated “Tim Pippin” stories appeared in the run of Nos. 79, Vol. 2, June 27, 1872, to No. 395, Vol. 12, June 29, 1878.

The series comprised “Giantland,” “King Pippin,” “Monster Land,” “The Golden Pheasant,” “Jack the Valiant,” “Tor,” etc.  The “Wonderland” series, by S. Holland and “Uncle George” began in No. 103, Vol. 3, January 4, 1873.  This series comprised “Fairydom,” “Goldyana,” “Jewel Land,” and “Marvel Land.”  The “Silverspeare” series by W. Villiers, began in No. 188, Vol. 5, August 1, 1874, and comprised “Silverspeare,” “Silverland,” and “The Golden Helen.”  Alfred R. Phillips contributed “Prince Goldenwings” in No. 338, Vol. 10, June 8, 1877, and his series comprised “Kairon,” “Saint George; or, The Seven Champions,” “Thundersleigh,” “Ralpho,” “Don Zalva,” “Zalva and Selina,” and “Desdichado.”

The wonderful, brilliant stories of the adventures of “Tim Pippin,” and several others of similar character, were cleverly and quaintly illustrated by “Puck” (John Proctor), and added considerably to the immense popularity and circulation of the journal.  These stories were afterwards published in book form, and had an immense sale, but like many others, copies have become exceedingly scarce, and well preserved ones, especially in the original covers and bindings, are eagerly sought after, and change hands at very high prices, ten shillings frequently being paid for a copy which was originally sold at one shilling, and the writer knows of instances where even a higher price than this has been paid.  Much depends upon the condition, and if in original bindings.

Mr. Richard Quittenton was also the editor of the well-known “Weekly Budget” for forty-two years, and old readers may be interested to know that he died at “Hillside,” South Benfleet, Essex, on January 22, 1914, aged 81.

The famous story, “Treasure Island,” by Robert Louis Stevenson, was first published in “Young Folks.”  It appeared in No. 565, Vol. 19, October 1, 1881, and finished at chapter 28, No. 582, Vol. 20, January 28, 1882.  Its position was in the back pages, and it only had four very ordinary and commonplace illustrations, two being given with the first instalment.  Its original title was “The Sea Cook,” but by the advice of Mr. Henderson, the publisher, it was changed to “Treasure Island.”  Stevenson was averse to his name appearing as its author, and as it was the rule of the journal to publish the names of all its contributors, it bears the name of “Captain North” (the pen name of Stevenson), and it is worth noting that Stevenson was only paid 12/6 per column for “Treasure Island”—that at the time was considered a good price for the work.  How many fortunes have been made (and are continuing to be made) out of this splendid story since, it would be very difficult to estimate.  Stevenson followed under the same “nom de plume” with “The Black Arrow:  A Tale of Tunstall Forest,” in No. 656, Vol. 22, June 30, 1883, and this was followed by the equally famous story “Kidnapped; or, The Lad with the Silver Buttons,” being the memoirs of the Adventures of David Balfour, 1751.  This story appeared in No. 805, Vol. 28, May 1, 1886.

Both these stories occupied a better position in the journal, and were better illustrated by an artist with the initials if W. B., the engraver being J. Swain.  “Kidnapped” bears its author’s name in full.

Other contributors to the journal included Alexander H. Yapp, L.L.D., who heard Stevenson read the opening chapter of “The Sea Cook” in Scotland, and who brought the story before the notice of Mr. Henderson.  Robert Leighton (husband of Marie Connor Leighton), was also a contributor, and was for some years editor of the journal.  Then there was John Blundelle-Burton, who contributed “The Desert Ship” and “The Hispaniola Plate,” and David Lawton Whitstone, Mr. A. St. John Adcock, the present editor of “The Bookman,” and Murray Gilchrist, the Peakland novelist; and amongst the poets, Mr. Arthur L. Salmon, Alice and M. C. Gillington, all of whom became famous in the literary world.


 March 15, 1919.


was described as the first illustrated newspaper for the young, and was issued by the proprietors of the “Illustrated London News,” from 10, Milford Lane, Strand.  It was edited by John Latey, junr., and the first number was dated April 6, 1881.

This was not what may strictly be termed a boys’ journal, being more of a newspaper with illustrations, etc., of the current events of the period, but I mention it because Captain Mayne Reid contributed some fine tales as serials, the first being “The Lost Mountain:  A Tale of Sonora,” splendidly illustrated by R. Caton Woodville.  The second serial was, “The Chase of Leviathan; or, Adventures of the Ocean,” followed by “A Fight in a Flood; or, Kin Against Kin:  A Romance of the Forest of Dean.”  For the first ten numbers Captain Mayne Reid was joint editor with John Latey, junior.

Vol. 1 ran to 39 numbers, dated December 28, 1881.  Vol. 2 was altered in size, and the only serial worthy of note was “The Scalp Hunter,” by Captain Mayne Reid.  This was a revised version of his famous tale published in 1851.  The volume, however, only ran to 22 numbers, May 31, 1882, when it was incorporated with “The Boys’ Newspaper,” which was first published on September 15, 1880, and ran to 98 numbers, July 26, 1882.  It was then discontinued, but was republished under the title of “Youth.”  As these publications are outside the range of these articles I need not give further details.  “The Boys’ Illustrated News” was a capital boys’ newspaper, or journal, conducted on first-class lines, well printed on good paper, the sheets being 10¾ in. by 15 in., and 12 pages to each number; the price being one penny.



Amongst the various other boys’ journals that flourished for a time may be mentioned:

“THE BOYS’ LEADER,” published by H. W. Jackson, 2, Red Lion Court, No. 1 on September 11, 1895, price one halfpenny, 16 pages, 8½ in. by 11¼ in., and ran for 229 numbers, when it became incorporated with “The Boys of London and New York.”

“THE BRITISH BOYS’ PAPER” was edited by Guy Rayner, and No. 1, dated Saturday, Mar. 3, 1888, published by the Popular Publishing Co.  The chief serials were “Monkey Mat and Roving Dick,” “Lionel Graeme,” “The Sinking Island,” “Spangles and Gold,” “The Schoolboy Rovers,” “The Stowaway,” and “The Death Trailer.”  The journal only ran to 52 numbers, Feb. 23, 1889.

“BOYS’ STORIES OF ADVENTURE AND DARING; the Biggest and Best Boys’ Journal.”  Published by W. Lucas, 26, Dean Street, Fetter Lane.  Printers, Sully & Ford.  No. 1, March 27, 1898.  Price one halfpenny.  32 pages, 5½ in. by 8¾ in.  Serials, “The Treasure Seekers,” “The Marsden Sand Boy War,” by E. H. Burrage, “The Roar of Britannia’s Guns,” by S. D. Clarke, “Rascals, Black and White,” by the author of “Handsome Harry,” “An Antarctic Mystery,” by Jules Verne.  From No. 27, Nov. 16, 1898 the size of the page was enlarged to 9 5/8 in. by 11½ in., 16 pages, price one penny.  The issues ran to 44 numbers, Jan. 23, 1899.

“THE BOYS’ WEEKLY NOVELETTE,” No. 1 to 169, June 28, 1892, to September 14, 1895.  A capital journal of 48 pages, price 1d.

“THE BOYS’ STORY TELLER,” No. 1 to 6, May 4 – June 8, 1897.

“BOYS OF THE EMPIRE.”  A Magazine for British Boys all over the World.  No. 1 to 36 (1900-01), continued as “Boys of Our Empire,” No. 37 to 153, 1901-03.  Published by Newnes.

“THE BOYS’ MONSTER WEEKLY.”  1899.  “THE BIG BUDGET.”  Published by Messrs. Pearsons some time in 1896.

“THE GARFIELD BOYS’ JOURNAL.”  Published by the Aldine Co.  No. 1 September 26, 1894.  Only ran to 45 numbers, although it contained some excellent serials by Ernest Brent, E. Harcourt Burrage, and others, and was well illustrated by R. Prowse.

“BOYS.”  No. 1, 1892, to 104, 1894, when it was incorporated with “The Boys’ Own Paper.”

“THE BOYS’ LEADER:  The Paper a boy can take Home.”  No. 1, Saturday, September 12, 1903, to No. 35, May 7, 1904, is rather too modern a journal to class with the older ones, but I mention it because of its serials, “Winning His Spurs,” by Henry T. Johnson, “The Rival Bushrangers,” by Donovan Mast, “The City of Darkness,” by Sidney Drew, “Lost on the Wide Pacific,” by Jules Verne, illustrated by Fred Holmes, “The Rat Catchers of St. Paul’s,” by Captain Russell Scott, and “The Lost City of Konico”; also “Black Diamonds,” by Stacey Blake.

“THE BOYS OF ALBION” and “THE BOYS OF BRITAIN” were two other short-lived periodicals.

“THE BOYS OF ENGLAND” was an attempt during the autumn of 1906 to revive the glories of the past, but it did not “catch on,” as anticipated by its projector, and died a premature death.  In point of fact it will be seen that few of the journals attained anything like the popularity and circulation that the grand old journals achieved.  There is no doubt that the tastes of the present-day boy differ very much from those of the lads of half and three quarters of a century ago.  In those days the amusements for boys were very few, and their evenings could only be spent in reading or study—or bed!  To-day the boy has football and other outdoor sports, cinema theatres to go to, and even music halls and variety theatres.  To hint at such things as public entertainments—unless they were “cottage lectures” or “penny readings”—fifty years ago, would have brought condign punishment from the head of the household.  We were accustomed in those days to hear our seniors declaim on the precociousness of the average boy.  What would our grandfathers say of the present-day generation if they could only get a peep at it!  No wonder boys’ books are voted “too tame.”

The writer wishes to say that he has passed over several of the old journals, because they belong to the ephemeral class; their existence was too brief to make any special remarks upon them, neither does he consider “THE BOYS’ OWN PAPER,” which was first published in Saturday, January 18, 1879, “THE UNION JACK,” No. 1, January 1, 1880, to Vol. 4, September 25, 1883, and “CHUMS,” No. 1, September 14, 1892, to belong to the boys’ journals he originally set out to deal with.  They belong to a separate class, albeit they contained in their earlier volumes some tales and stories that were penned by some of the old bohemian writers.  The object of my articles has been really to review those particular journals, writers, authors, and publishers, that belonged chiefly to the old bohemian school.  There was, and still is, a most irresistible charm in their work, and I hope my humble efforts to revive old memories and pleasures of the past in this direction, will have been appreciated by the large number of old readers still existing, and also by the younger generation, who may be interested in “Peeps into the Past.”


Before concluding these articles I think a few expressions of opinion that have reached me will bear reproducing, as showing the interest that has been aroused.

Mr. Henry Steele, 15, Silverdale Road, Southampton, wrote me a little while ago:


“I am pleased to see the prominence you give to the subject of old boys’ journals, and have very much enjoyed perusing the articles.  I am myself somewhat of an enthusiast in this respect, and as a boy took the greatest interest in the journals that were then in vogue.  In my youth “The Boys’ Standard,” published by Charles Fox, was one of the most popular journals, and some rattling good stories appeared in it.  There is a great fascination in re-reading the old tales, although in the light of maturer years they may not awaken that keen interest which was kindled when we first read them.

“The chief charm lies in the fact that they carry one back to the days gone by, and you overlook any little discrepancy in the writing.  I was pleasantly surprised to find so many other men who, like myself, delight in recalling the favourite literature of their youth.  I shall always remember the keen interest with which I followed the varying fortunes of ‘Wallace, the Hero of Scotland,’ which appeared in ‘The Boys’ Standard’ in 1882, and other historical Scotch stories such as ‘The Outlaw of the Highlands’ and ‘Bothwell or the Scotch Outlaws.’  I was very partial to these old-time champions of Scotland.  Another delight of my youth was the stories of ancient Rome, such as ‘The Sentinel of Pompeii,’ ‘Nicias the Spartan,’ and ‘The Roman Standard Bearer.’  It was these tales that stimulated my love of history and certainly impressed many dates of important events on my mind, which the ordinary school tuition would have failed to do.

“Some years ago I witnessed Sir Herbert Tree’s magnificent production ‘Nero’ at His Majesty’s Theatre, London, and it recalled to my mind many of the characters and incidents about which I had read as a boy, including the gorgeous spectacle, ‘The Burning of Rome.’  Another fascinating feature of the old boys’ journals was the stories dealing with Old London.  To mention a few:  ‘The Link Boy of Old London’ (‘Boys’ Standard,’ 1882), ‘Clubs and Staves’ (‘Young Men of Great Britain,’ 1880), ‘The Bravos of Alsatia,’ (‘Boys of England,’ 1884), ‘Dark Deeds of Old London’ (‘Boys’ Comic Journal,’ 1885) ‘The Doomed City:  A Story of the Great Fire of London in 1666’ (‘Boys’ Half Holiday’).  These good old stories read in our young days create an impression never erased, and to a romantic nature invest those portions of old London that still remain with a sort of halo of romance.

“Many times when in London I have paused in front of some Elizabethan structure and pictured to myself all sorts of romantic deeds that may have been enacted within the precincts in bygone days.  Those who remember the journals I mention will recall how exciting and thrilling were the adventures in that part of London between Fleet Street and the Thames known in the old days as Alsatia (Whitefriars) mentioned in Charles Stevens’s story ‘Jack o’ Clubs,’ which appeared in ‘The Boys’ Standard’ in 1881.  A rather good story was ‘Tim Ne’er-do-well,’ which appeared in ‘The Boys’ Standard’ in 1887.  It related to George Barnwell, the London apprentice who murdered his uncle, the period being the 18th century.  The version of George Barnwell in Ritchie’s ‘Newgate Calendar,’ however, gives the date of his execution as October, 1603, so there is a discrepancy somewhere.  A cinematograph film on this subject was produced some two or three years ago.  I should be very pleased to correspond with any of your readers on the subject of old boys’ journals.”


March 22, 1919.



Several subscribers and readers of my articles dealing with “Old Time Periodicals” who

have followed them with much interest, and appreciate their value from an historical point of view, have expressed a desire to know more about the lives of the old publishers, authors, and writers.

This is not a very easy task, and I am not able to give much more information beyond that already published, simply because so little is known about them, and most of them have passed into oblivion without leaving any record or trace of their careers.

The only exception I personally know of is Mr. Ralph Rollington, who, in his interesting

and valuable “Brief History of Boys’ Journals” (already mentioned) gives a little insight

on the subject, and Mr. E. Harcourt Burrage’s obituary notice in the Redhill (Surrey) newspaper of March 11, 1916, gives much information respecting his life and character.

One of Mr. Burrage’s last works was a volume of reminiscences entitled either “People I

Have met,” or “Characters I have met,” I forget which, in which he told the writer he had

included a good chapter dealing with the old bohemian journalists, etc., connected with old boys’ literature, etc., and although he repeatedly tried to induce various publishers to take it up he failed to do so, and so the MSS. has not appeared in print.  As a matter of fact, the MSS. has, I am afraid, been irretrievably lost.  This is more than a pity—it is little less than a calamity.  Anyway, such are the facts, and what might have been a most valuable asset to the lovers of old journals is lost forever.

The other exception is Mr. Edwin J. Brett, who has in various forms left a good record of

his life and labours, from which I have been enabled to gather much information, principally from the newspaper reports of his death, the sale of his fine collection of armour, works of art, etc., “Boase’s Modern English Biography,” “Colbron’s New Monthly Magazine,” August, 1881, “The Bookseller,” 1895, and various other sources for research.



Mr. Edwin J. Brett, the most successful and deservedly popular publisher of Boys’ Periodicals and books of the period 1866-1895, was born in the old city of Canterbury in 1828.  The family of the Bretts “came over with the Conqueror,” and the name is to be found on the battle roll of Hastings.  The old name was again brought prominently forward by the then head of the family, Sir Richard LeBrett, being one of the knights concerned in the slaying of Thomas à Beckett, and again when Captain Brett of the City Trained Bands, took up arms, under Sir Thomas Wyatt, in the cause of Princess Elizabeth against her sister, Queen Mary.

His grandfather (on his mother’s side) was Lieutenant Small, who served with some distinction in the Preventive Service, in the latter part of the last century.  His father was an officer in the British Army, and served through the Irish Rebellion of 1798, the Peninsular, and Waterloo.  Soon after Waterloo he retired from the service, and married, living to the honoured old age of just ninety.

Mr. Brett’s mother was a cousin of the celebrated Lady Mary Small, and it was doubtless from her that he inherited the artistic taste and tendencies that featured in his life.  At eight years of age he had a speaking part at Covent Garden Theatre.  The name of the play is not recorded, but a brilliant future was prophesied for him by his many friends; his father thought differently, for he apprenticed him to a watchmaker, who was known as one of the most skilled and scientific workers in the horological world, but the boy could not settle down to such a life, and in course of time he became acquainted with some young artists and authors and amongst them he naturally found satisfactions for the artistic instincts which had been aroused in him.

His acquaintance with them ripened, and, from what he saw, he took a liking to their profession, and became one of them.  He formed the acquaintance of G. W. M. Reynolds (whose portrait I am able to reproduce), Charles Cochrane, Fergus O’Connor, etc., etc., and took part with them in the political agitations of the day (1848).

He married about this time, and became partner with Ebenezer Landell, the great wood engraver, and remained so until Mr. Landell’s death in 1860.  During this period he associated with Henry Mayhew, Mark Lemon, Douglas Jerrold, Charles Bennett, Alfred Bunn (author of “A Word to ‘Punch’”), Mr. H. Ingram (founder of “The Illustrated London News”), and many other leading authors, artists, and publishers.  Soon after his partner’s death he produced and published his “Naval History of Great Britain” and “Brett’s Useful Knowledge upon all Subjects,” both of which became very popular.  He afterwards joined W. L. Emmett (brother of George Emmett), and Joseph Hardiman in the production of “The English Girls’ Journal,” which was afterwards put “out of the field” by E. Harrison’s “Young Ladies’ Journal.”  Under the name of “The Newsagents’ Publishing Co.,” Mr. Brett published various penny number romances, including “The Wild Boys of London,” “The Work Girls of London,” “Tales of Highwaymen,” “Jolly Dogs of London,” “Ivan the Terrible,” etc., etc., between the years 1860-66.

The production of “The Boys of England” (No. 1, November 27, 1866), was the outcome of the sensational “Wild Boys of London; or, The Children of the Night.”  The first 146 numbers of “The Boys of England” were published at the same office (147, Fleet Street).  Afterwards Mr. Brett severed his connection from the Newsagents’ Publishing Co., and became his own publisher at 173, Fleet Street, remaining there until his death.

In 1877 Mr. Brett purchased “Oaklands,” St. Peter’s, Broadstairs, a charming old-time residence with six acres of grounds, and here he resided with his family six months a year for eighteen years.

The writer cannot do better than give the full description of a visit by a member of the staff of the late Mr. George Augustus Sala, which appeared in “Sala’s Journal” on Feb. 21, 1894.  It contains much of interest to old readers and admirers of Mr. Brett.


A Day in the Country.

A Visit to Mr. Edwin J. Brett at St. Peter’s, Broadstairs.

“It is a foolish and wicked thing,” recently observed the Conductor of this Journal in an article on “Luxury,” “to indulge in selfish and senseless luxury; but luxury may be sensible, may be well directed, may be distinctly benevolent and philanthropic.  When we are rich we have the right, after we have bestowed as we think we should in charity, to have the best of everything.  Money spent in gambling or betting is either senseless luxury or disgusting greed of gain.  Luxury, on the other hand, which makes life splendid and comely and ornate, and which means remunerative business for manufacturers and traders, and permanent employment for the working classes, is a luxury which should be steadfastly and boldly practiced.”  I have thought fit to reproduce these remarks, fresh though they may be in the memory of many readers, because they so admirably adapt themselves to the task in hand—that of endeavouring to give some idea of a beautiful home, where the owner has, to all intents and purposes, succeeded in realizing in a very practical and substantial form the ideal laid down in the above-mentioned conception.

It is to Mr. Edwin J. Brett, the proprietor of many popular periodicals for boys and girls, as well as the author of several works of the most useful character, that I refer:  and it is to his charming home at St. Peter’s, Broadstairs, that I wish to draw attention.  As the carriage which conveys me from the railway-station—by the way, was there ever a more miserable apology for a station than that at Broadstairs?—enters the carriage-drive which leads up to “Oaklands” I notice at the entrance an ominous intimation that the house and its extensive grounds are for sale.  Later on I learn the reason for this—and a painfully sad one it is.  For nearly eighteen years “Oaklands” has been the happy retreat for at least six months out of every twelve of a busy man.  Here, with wife and children, and often with friends as well, the owner of this handsome house, with all its picturesque and choice surroundings, has been one of the happiest and most contented of men.

But, unfortunately, all this is changed now.  To him, at least, the old home no longer possesses the attraction which it did.  The rooms are still beautifully furnished, the extensive grounds still bear evidence of the most careful attention, the kitchen garden denotes that vegetation of all kinds is still produced in large quantities, the greenhouses are filled with plants conspicuous for their rarity, or their brilliancy of flower, the fountains on the lawns send forth, as of old, their jets of sparkling water which are distributed in all directions by the breeze, the goldfish in the pond swim round and round with the same monotonous regularity, and the grand old trees which surround the dwelling, and shelter it in winter from the searching winds, and in summer serve the purpose of cool and shady retreats, give to the attractive picture that old-world touch which seems to throw a glamour of romance around the scene.  Everything is the same, and yet not the same.  Death has been an unwelcome visitor in this happy, peaceful household.  The one who was beloved as wife and mother has been taken away.  The one who played the part of hostess in such a generous, pure and open English manner, that friends were always pleased to come and ever loth to go, is no longer there to bid them welcome.  The old place is never now the scene of life and animation as it was in the past, and the charm which it had for its owner is gone.  Thus it is that “Oaklands” is in the market, and there is no telling how soon this delightful country seat, with its six acres of grounds, will pass into other hands.

Under the circumstances, it is only now and again that Mr. Brett pays a visit to St. Peter’s and if was on occasion of a recent pilgrimage that I accepted an invitation to spend the day with him.  The proprietor of “The Boys of England” is a genial and liberal host, and in his company time passes most agreeably.  If I were asked to give an alternative title to “Oaklands,” I should borrow from Mr. Carton and call it “Liberty Hall.”  You are no sooner in the house, exchanged greetings with its owner, and located yourself in the comfortable easy chair which he places for you by the side of a fire where a substantial log replaces the more conventional coal, than you unconsciously feel yourself thoroughly at home.  While we toast our toes for a brief space, conversation drifts into a variety of channels, and I soon find out that my host is one who is familiar with the Fleet Street of the past, and also with many of the men of letters who have left “footprints in the sands of time.”  I find, too, that he has been an enthusiastic playgoer, and at one time a consistent “first-nighter.”

Among the many whom he has had the pleasure of entertaining at “Oaklands” he can include Mr. Henry Irving, who was delighted with the place and its lovely surroundings.  Then, again, Mr. Brett has travelled a good deal, and when we subsequently wandered from room to room numerous artistic possessions were pointed out as having been purchased in Italy or elsewhere in the Continent.  But besides this love for pictures, old china, handsome cabinets, and exquisite furniture, I discover that Mr. Brett has yet another weakness—and that is armour.  At “Oaklands” there is an armoury which, if the house possessed not other attractive features, would be worth going miles to see.

There is time before lunch to commence an inspection of the interior; the weather does not look inviting enough to venture outside, although from the windows an excellent view is obtained of a portion of the grounds, and it needs no great stretch of imagination to conceive how pretty it must look in the summer when the flower-beds are to be seen in their perfection, and the rose-trees and honeysuckle which climb up the trellis-work at the side of the house are in full bloom.  The house has something like a score of rooms, and there are two flights of stairs to ascend.  The first object of interest to which attention is directed is the bedstead which Mr. Brett uses.  It is a marvellous specimen of the old four-poster.  It consists of oak elaborately carved, and plentifully embellished with gilt, and at either corner are large-sized figures representative of the four seasons.  At the head of the bed are Autumn and Winter, and at the foot Spring and Summer.

“It is a quaint old bedstead, is it not?” observed Mr. Brett in response to my exclamation if admiration and surprise.  “I purchased it in Italy some years ago.  I was said to have belonged to the Duke of Saxony, but, as you see, it has a carved eagle at the foot, which suggests that it was Austrian.  Of course, this may have been put on afterwards.  There is also a crest above, which indicates that in all probability it belonged to a knight.”

It was indeed, a most remarkable bedstead.

Another interesting possession is a cabinet, brought from San Remo, and, pointing to a pair of rich velvet curtains, Mr. Brett said he succeeded in conveying them out of Italy free of duty, because, after some trouble, he was able to prove that they were made by the old hand looms, and were more than tree hundred years old.  On the walls are a number of paintings by old and modern masters; but for treasures such as these it is necessary to step on to the landing and staircase, which are completely covered in them.  They are varied in character and by different artists of repute.  There is a full-length of James II., for which it was said the monarch gave sittings; a curious painting is on one board, covered on the back with wolf-skin.  Another interesting and notable study is “The Clown at Home,” by Luker:  while at the foot of the staircase is one as to which some doubt, it was stated, is entertained whether or not it is a Vandyke.  On the landing is a wardrobe, which is a marvellous specimen of the carver’s art.  This was another possession which Mr. Brett acquired when travelling abroad.

The drawing-room is a spacious and lofty apartment, and most sumptuously furnished.  The chairs and lounges are of the Louis Quartorze period, and the rich gilding tones admirably with the choice mirrors and cheffoniers, and the valuable collection of Dresden, Chelsea and Derby China.  In this room, too, there is a clock which was exhibited in the Exhibition of 1851.  It has astronomical works which keep in proper order for four years without receiving any attention.

Then we came to what I should imagine, in Mr. Brett’s estimation, is THE attraction of the place—the armoury.


March 29, 1919.

Those who have read Lockhart’s “Life of Sir Walter Scott” will remember that, when completing Abbotsford, the novelist wrote to a friend with enthusiasm concerning his armoury.  “I am quite feverish,” he observed, “about the armoury.  I have two pretty complete suits of armour—one Indian one, and a cuirassier’s, with boots, casque, etc., many helmets, corslets, and steel caps, swords and poinards without end, and about a dozen of guns, ancient and modern.  I have besides two or three battle-axes and maces, pikes and targets, a Highlander’s accoutrements complete and a great variety of branches of horns, bows and arrows, and the clubs and creases of Indian tribes.  I have good reason to be proud of the furnishing of my castle.”

With equally good cause Mr. Brett has every reason to be proud of his armoury at “Oaklands,” although he assured me that he had one at his residence in London which was even better and of greater value.  There was the ready invitation to go and see the latter; but meanwhile I was delighted with the one at St. Peter’s.  It is a grand collection, artistically arranged in a large room specially built for the purpose, and I could quite believe Mr. Brett when he incidentally remarked that his armoury alone had cost him thousands—more, he was afraid, then he could ever see back again were he to think of disposing of it.  In the centre is an armour-clad warrior on horse-back, and around the room are effigies similarly adorned, as well as suits of armour, and swords, helmets, steel caps, and other emblems of ancient warfare.  The collection, Mr. Brett said, ranged from Henry VIII. to Charles I.  It should be noted that, besides being a collector, that gentleman is likewise an authority on ancient arms and armour.  It is a subject to which he has devoted considerable attention, and a book which he has produced is accepted as a valuable and authoritative treatise.

“It was one of my hobbies as a boy,” he remarked, “to go into all the old churches in

and around Canterbury, where I lived, and gaze at the arms with which they were at that

time decorated.  I well remember on one occasion being purposely locked in a church, in

order that I might have a better chance of making an examination.  I crawled under one of

the seats, and remained there until I heard the doors locked.  Then I came out of my hiding-place, and had a very good view.  My curiosity prompted me to try and remove one of the helmets to examine, but just as I was in the act of doing so a pew-opener appeared on the scene, and I am afraid the last stage of my visit was not so pleasant as the first.”

I had a further opportunity of spending an hour in this romantic spot, but there was just time to take a peep at the billiard-room, and also the pretty retreat which adjoins the armoury, and then the warning notes of the gong informed us that luncheon was ready.  The dining-room is another fine apartment, the walls if which are covered with paintings.  The whole of one side is filled by two massive pictures—one, “The Passions,” from Collins’s Ode, and the other, “The Repose of the River Gods.”  They make a magnificent pair, and help materially to set off the room to advantage.

It was while we were discussing the good things of the table that Mr. Brett told me some of the leading incidents of his life.  For instance, mention was made of the death of Henry Vizetelly, and this led my host to observe that it was from Mr. Vizetelly he received the first half-guinea he ever earned.

“I was sixteen years of age at the time,” he explained.  “Vizetelly had started the ‘Pictorial Times’ in opposition to the ‘Illustrated London News,’ and he wrote to me saying, ‘You know the Canonbury Tower.  Will you quickly make a sketch of it and forward it on to this office?’  I made the sketch, he approved of it, sent me a piece of boxwood to make the drawing for the engraver, and afterwards, to my surprise, sent me a half guinea.”

I referred to the phenomenal success which the “Boys of England” had attained, and the conspicuous position it had held for so many years, and Mr. Brett told me the circumstances which induced him to start the journal, now some thirty years ago.

“It was at the time,” he explained, “when ‘Jack Sheppard’ and books of that character were being published.  I had an idea that it was possible to counteract the effects of such publications by giving a journal which should have as its distinguishing features good drawings, good paper, healthy stories of a sensational order, but always making the villain the most despicable of characters, and giving plenty for money. The ‘Boys of England,’” observed Mr. Brett with justified pride, “led the way in this crusade against pernicious literature, and was successful in dealing it a death blow.”

Besides this, many very useful undertakings have been carried out under the auspices of the “Boys of England.”  An exhibition was held, a lifeboat was stationed at Southend, and has been instrumental in saving many lives, and cricket and football clubs all over the country have been among some of the things which can be laid to the credit of this favourite publication.  Then, again, among its subscribers were the Duke of Connaught when a boy, the late Prince Imperial, and Count Bernstorff, son of the German Ambassador in 1870, who paid Mr. Brett the compliment of calling at his office and assuring him that the “Boys of England” had taught him more English than he was ever able to learn under his English tutor.

We finished our cigars in the open.  The rain had ceased, and although the wind was cold, the weather had cleared sufficiently to enable us to walk round the grounds.  These cover a wide area and they have the additional advantage of being walled in.  There are some delightful walks, and in summer the scene must be one of surpassing beauty.  In due season there will be flowers and fruit in abundance, while the kitchen garden is one which would gladden the heart of the thrifty housewife.  Beyond this lay a fine open stretch of country, with the silver sea in the distance and cornfields in the summer in the foreground.  As we meandered along the well-kept paths, Mr. Brett pointed to some of the arches under which we passed, constructed of Norman stonework some eight hundred years old, and which was obtained from St. Peter’s Church, immediately opposite “Oaklands,” when the restoration of the edifice took place.  Outdoors as well as indoors you had ample proof of what a lovely place this country retreat was.  There were fruit trees of all kinds, a lawn tennis ground, a fernery, and an orchid house, in which were also many valuable tropical plants.  Then attention was directed to the birds—at one time, my host informed me, he had a very fine collection—among them being some pheasants from China, and a tame seagull, which blinked and winked in the most knowing manner as we strolled along.

At last we finished our tour of inspection, and once more found ourselves in the armoury.  With the curtains drawn, the gas alight, and a bright fire burning in the grate, the scene, if anything, was even more picturesque.  We decided to remain in this pleasant “snuggery,” as it was termed, and the time passed all too quickly.

As already intimated, Mr. Brett has published numerous other works in addition to the “Boys of England.”  These include a “Naval History of England,” “Brett’s Useful Knowledge upon all Subjects,” “Tales of the American War,” and the “English Girls’ Journal,” the idea in connection with the last-named being to give in one journal stories, fashions, patterns for needlework and music—a plan which has had many imitators since.

An eventful epoch in Mr. Brett’s early career was his association with Mr. Landells, who, with Henry Mayhew, Mark Lemon, and Douglas Jerrold, was one of the originators of “Punch.”  Landells also started “Puck” and the original “Judy,” and was one of the first contributors to the “Illustrated London News.”  Mr. Brett narrated an amusing experience which occurred to him when he went to see Landells—with whom at the time he was in partnership—in the old Debtors’ Prison in Whitecross Street.  Landells asked for the loan of some money, and Mr. Brett left him to get change of a £5 note.  In one of the corridors he met a clerical-looking person, who he concluded was the chaplain.  He ventured to ask him how he could get a £5 note changed.  The clerical-looking gentleman smiled blandly and remarked, “A £5 note!”  “Yes,” was the reply, “I want to leave some money with a friend.”  By this time about half-a-dozen more individuals had appeared on the scene.  The Clerical-looking individual looked at them, and then said, “This young gentleman requires change for a £5 note.  What sort of dinner are we going to have?”

“I found out then,” continued Mr. Brett, “that instead of the chaplain I had spoken to the father of the prison.  I entered quickly into the joke, told them I was prepared to pay for a dinner and the ‘father’ very promptly and still smiling, ordered a leg of mutton, salt beef, carrots, and potatoes, adding, ‘This young gentleman will pay.  He wants change for a £5 note.’  But, later on, when I wanted to leave, the warder would not allow me to do so.  He declined to believe my statement that I had been to see a friend:  and it was only when one of the superintendents appeared and I explained the circumstances to him that I was allowed to depart.  ‘Take my advice,’ said the official sternly; ‘don’t treat any of them to dinner again, and don’t stop so late.’”

Want of space forbids me entering at any length into a career which has been characterized by so much success.  Mr. Brett has been one of the pioneers in providing good and healthy literature suitable for both boys and girls.  At the present time he is publishing a novelette, and a periodical called “Something to Read,” and both are received with great favour.  He discovered the latter title one day while waiting at a railway station.  He noticed two gentlemen, one of whom was making his way to the bookstall.  “What are you going for?” asked the other.  “Something to read,” was the reply.  “I made a note of the remark in my pocket-book,” said Mr. Brett, “and soon afterwards brought out under that title a journal which has been one of the most successful of my series.”

But I must leave Mr. Brett, although the remembrance of the visit to St. Peter’s, Broadstairs, will live long in my memory.  I have but one more remark to make, and that is to say that if the owner of “Oaklands” has a big purse, he has likewise a most charitable disposition.  At St. Peter’s, Ramsgate, and also in London there are many indigent persons who, in the words of poor Jo, can say, “He was very good to me, he was.”—G. M.



The great interest aroused by my articles upon “Old-Time Periodicals,” induces me to contribute some notes dealing with what is usually termed the “Old Penny Dreadfuls.”

Since writing about the Old-Time Periodicals I have come across one or two more publications long since forgotten, and of which few copies are in existence, and it was only by accident that I became acquainted with them.  I refer to “Twice a Week,” published at 122, Fleet Street, during the latter part of 1861.  This was the usual kind of periodical, containing some fine old tales and romances, with woodcut illustrations, and it ran to 50 numbers, ending October 25, 1862, when it became incorporated with a new periodical entitled “Every Week,” an illustrated journal of entertaining literature and useful information, consisting of 16 quarto pages of serials, three of four illustrations, and the usual “padding.”

This periodical first saw the light on Nov. 1, 1862, and was published at 122, Fleet Street, but the copies do not bear any printer’s or publishers’ names.  The opening serial was (Part II.) of “Daisy Thorne; or, The Grimwood Mystery,” by the author of “The Flower Girl,” “Jessie Ashton,” etc.  (Part I. had appeared in “Twice a Week.”)  “The Treasure Seekers,” a Romance of the Golden Valley, author not mentioned, but the illustrations are similar to those of Captain Mayne Reid’s stories.  Another serial was entitled, “In Spite of the World; or, The Physician’s Secret,” by Vane Ireton St. John, and the remaining serial, “Dead Men Tell no Tales,” by the author of “Daisy Thorne,” etc., completes the publication, which only ran to seventeen numbers, the last dated Feb. 21, 1863, when, according to an announcement, the staff, etc., were transferred to “Halfpenny Welcome Guest,” George Vickers, publisher.

I am also indebted to Mr. G. Hill for his kind information respecting his remembrance of the announcement in the “London Star” of the death of John Frederick Smith, the favourite author and writer.  Mr. Hill thinks is read as follows:

“There has just died in New York, J. F. Smith, a once popular author, who wrote a large number of serials in the fifties for the LONDON JOURNAL, etc.  His methods of production were peculiar; nothing would induce him to write more than the weekly instalment, which was done at the office of the paper.  Here he would shut himself up in his room with a copy of last week’s ‘Journal,’ and the office boy had strict instructions not to let him out without the necessary copy being supplied.  In this way were his long romances produced, and it is a marvel how he could keep the connection of the plot and his characters under such circumstances.

“Whilst in the United States Smith wrote several tales and romances, which were, and still are, published by a firm of the name of Dick and Fitzgerald.  It is sad to relate that, in spite of his brilliant talents, Smith died in obscurity and abject poverty.  His works live after him, however, and continue to command a good sale.”

The same applies to Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth, who, although dead for many years, her American publishers, Messrs. Street & Smith, make a special “Southworth” feature in their catalogues.


I have to thank Mr. W. F. Lee, of Fulham Cross, S.W. 6, for much information respecting the old-time periodical under the title of “Fiction,” described in Article No. 12, Jan. 11.  This publication extended to 63 numbers, the last being dated Dec. 5, 1866, making six volumes in all.  The editor (Mrs. Eliza Winstanley) on the last page announced her intention to devote her time and talents to her favourite journal, viz. “Bow Bells.”


Mr. Lee also possesses a goodly number of


a journal of entertainment and instruction for everyone, devoted to literature, the domestic accomplishments, useful information and amusement.  16 quarto pages.  Price one penny.  It contained the usual spicy and highly flavoured serials of the sixties, with the woodcut illustrations.  Printed by Messrs. Ford and Tilt, 52, Acre Lane, and published by Edward Harrison, Salisbury Court, E.C.  The journal evidently ran to 14 volumes or nearly 400 numbers, and it is remarkable there are so few specimens about.


Another old periodical shown me by Mr. Lee was


An Illustrated Journal of Entertaining Literature.

No. 1, published Saturday, Feb. 5, 1859.  16 quarto pages, 1d.  Of the usual type of periodicals of this character.  The entire issue ran to 72 numbers, the last one being dated June, 1860, when it became incorporated by H. Vickers, 334, Strand, with THE LONDON JOURNAL.  Judging by its various printers and publishers one is led to believe that it had a very chequered career.  It was first printed by Messrs. Petter & Galpin, La Belle Sauvage Yard, Ludgate Hill, and published by Ward and Lock, 158, Fleet Street.  It was afterwards printed by Messrs. Lynn & Gough, 294, Strand, and published by Henry Vickers, 28 and 29, Holywell Street.  Again printed by Charles Vickers, 2, Black Horse Alley, and Messrs. C. Duff & Co., 103, Cheapside, Henry Vickers remaining the publisher.

Some of the serials comprised “The Bride of the Isle,” “The Lost Deeds,” “The Gipsy’s Daughter; or, The King and the Sorceress,” “Fate,” Alexander Dumas’s grand romance, “The Actress; or, Before and Behind the Curtain,” “The Death Touch; or, The Terror of the Wilderness,” finely illustrated by R. Prowse, “Hubert; or, The Mystery,” “Gisele; or, The Knight of the Cross,” illustrated by Sir John Gilbert.

It apparently was a well-conducted publication.


April 5, 1919.

Another fine and extremely rare periodical in the possession of Mr. Lee is


an Irish Magazine of entertainment and instruction.  16 and sometimes 12 small quarto pages; price one penny; the motto being:  “Encourage Irish Art and Encourage Irish Literature.”  (William Smith O’Brien).  Printed and published at the office of “The Nation” and “Weekly News,” 90, Middle Abbey Street, Dublin.  he new series was published Saturday, March 27, 1875, and ran to thirteen vols., Dec. 31, 1887.  Each volumes was numbered separately 1 to 52, and contained serial tales, stories, romances, poems, correspondence, two or three half-page illustrations, and a little padding.  On the whole a most interesting publication.  The titles of the serials are too many in number to give a complete list, but in order to show the kind or style of literature, I will quote a few.  “Michael Dwyer; or, The Wicklow Outlaw,” “Moll Martho’s Mischief” (by Thomas Sherlock), “Dagger Nell” (Captain Mayne Reid), “A Brother’s Revenge,” by the same author, “The Mystery of the Mill,” (a romance of the Black Forest), “Florence O’Neill; or, The Siege of Limerick,” (by Agnes Steward), “The Spy of the Brandymine,” (by E. S. Ellis), “Florence MacCarthy; or, Ireland after the Union,” (by Lady Morgan), “A Fair Saxon,” (by Justin MacCarthy), “The O’Bourbons of Goragh,” (by Thomas Kelly), “Redmond Barry, the Irish Privateer,” (by John O’Connell), “The Czar’s Spy,” (by Mayer Alfred Rocheford), who also contributed “Through Fire and Water,” also “Foiled by Himself,” “Under the White Cockade,” (by P. G. Smyth), and a great many more too numerous to mention.



Described in article number 12, I find ran to 74 numbers, making a third volume, the date of the last number being July 30, 1864.  The serials consist of the continuation of “Mazeppa” and “The Green Mask,” as well as “The Gipsy’s Secret,” “Girandoff, the Miller,” and “Lost Amongst the Wild Men,” by William Dalton.

An announcement appears on the last page that the “Boys’ Miscellany” will be permanently enlarged to 48 instead of 32 columns, and two original tales “will be commenced next week.”  Whether this was ever published I do not know.  I am surprised that a third volume was issued, having always understood Volumes 1-2 only were published.  It will be interesting to know if a Volume 4 appeared.

A further announcement appeared stating that No. 1, “The Boys’ Penny Monthly,” 32 pages, 162, Fleet Street, is ready.  Also No. 1 of “The Boys’ Halfpenny Paper,” with “The Boy Crusoe; or, The Island of Crocodiles.”

Does any reader know of the existence of either of these two old boys’ periodicals?  The writer does not, nor has he ever seen them, and begs to thank Mr. Callcott, of Teddington, for calling his attention to them.



My articles in THE LONDON JOURNAL have inspired a couple of friends to offer poetic tributes to my interesting task, and as these contributions embody the titles of many works we admired in the old days, I make no excuse for reproducing them.  The first is from “Amateur Notes,” and is entitled:



(Ex-Councillor Fred Harrison, Camberwell, London).

Dedicated to Mr. Frank Jay, and inspired by

his indefatigable exertions in collecting

Data on this subject.

Our granddads in past days enjoyed

The penny dreadfuls by E. Lloyd.

The “String of Pearls” and “Varney” too,

“Gentleman Jack,” an awful crew.

That lengthy yarn beyond comparison,

“Black Bess,” by Viles and Edward Harrison.

Then Charles Fox with “Boys’ Standard” came:

“Boys’ Leisure Hour” was far from tame.

Ah me!  For boys those were the times,

“Three Fingered Jack” with all his crimes.

The list is long, I fain would tarry.

“Ching-Ching” and far-famed “Handsome Harry,”

“Jack Harkaway” of world renown,

From E. J. Brett, of London Town.

Next Ritchie’s list I like to scan—

“Tom King,” “Tom Drake,” and bold “Jack Rann,”

And on their brilliant covers back

You’ll see the name of “Crusoe Jack.”

We’ve more remote ones, quite a bag,

Like “Moonlight Jack” and “Charley Wag,”

With “Paul the Poacher,” “Rook the Robber,”

And “Nightshade” in his fancy “clobber.”

I’d like a friend who keeps a few,

George Emmett’s books to let me view.

“Sons of Britannia” I would scan,

“Young Briton” and “Young Englishman.”

Pierce Egan’s tales of course were good.

“Wat Tyler” and “Bold Robin Hood,”

With “Hogarth House” we’ll stay a tick.

“Tom Wildrake’s Schooldays,” “Tyburn Dick,”

“Gentleman George” and “Dashing Duke.”

Perchance, old book-worm, by a fluke,

You’ve kept a few and used them well.

‘Tis long since I’ve seen “Shot and Shell.”

These books that once we used to read

Are like the Great Auk’s Egg indeed.

Perhaps a copy you have got

Of “Spring-Heeled Jack” and all the lot,

The yarns we loved in days long past.

And now I’ll make this line the last.


The second poem is from the Amateur Magazine entitled “Vanity Fair,” and runs:—


About three hundred still exist

Of weird old book-worms in our midst;

Long past their youth, they still contrive

To keep their boyhood days alive.

For Huxley, Darwin, they don’t care,

Or Dickens first editions rare.

I fear their taste you’d call it low,

If of their quest you did but know.

Would you believe it?  Boyhood’s books

Still tempts them to secluded nooks.

You’ll be surprised, too, at the price

They’ll pay for copies really nice.

Of Turpin, Sheppard, and Jack Rann,

With joy these ancient yarns they’ll scan.

Of course to you it must seem odd

That they should still love “Sweeny Todd,”

But still the fact remains they do,

Most serious in their hobby too.

What pains they’ll take when on the track

Of such a book as “Moonlight Jack.”

John Jefferies on the City Road

Of London Town, has quite a load;

While Ransom still can make a show

Somewhere in Paternoster Row;

While if a fortune you could pay,

You might get some from one Frank Jay.

These names are meaningless to you,

But potent names among the crew

Who hoard their old “Boys’ Standard” still

And search for more, with right good will.

So treat that old boys’ book with care,

For all you know it may be rare.

Despise not “Spring Heeled Jack” my friend

Nor let the dustbin be its end.

Some epicure may give you gold

If this edition should be old;

So be advised, your granddad’s lumbers

May still contain some penny numbers.

If clean, complete, and bound up nice,

Just drop a card and ask the price

That either of these “cranks” will give.

The Editor knows just where they live.


Similarly to the “Old Time Periodicals,” no writer has written a conclusive history of this peculiar class of literature.  It stands out quite by itself, as if it were never worth anyone’s while to write about it.  Mason Jackson, in his standard work, “The Pictorial Press:  its origin and progress,” (Hurst & Blackett, 1885), does not even mention the subject; nor does Joseph Hatton in “Journalistic London” (Sampson, Low & Marston, 1882).  Neither is there any mention in “The History of the Catnach Press” (Charles Hindley, 1887) of the blood-curdling or quaint woodcuts with which these “Penny Dreadfuls” were illustrated, although they were apparently drawn by the same class or school of artists who would have common knowledge of each other.

It seems very strange that no mention of their titles, illustrations, or characteristics has been made (as far as my researches go) by anyone better able to deal with the subject than myself, beyond two articles by Mr. Arthur E. Waite (who, in my opinion, possesses the finest collection of this class of literature in the United Kingdom), and these appeared in “Walford’s Antiquarian Magazine and Bibliographical Review” in 1887 under the heading of “By-ways of Periodical Literature.”  There was another in No. 341, July, 1890, of “The Quarterly Review,” by Mr. Francis Hitchman, under the heading of “Penny Fiction,” and a clever article appeared in Part 49, January 1, 1915, of “Chamber’s Journal,” by Mr. E. Latham, entitled “No. 2 Given Away with No. 1.”  With these three exceptions the writer knows of no other work, article, or commentary touching on the subject, although the old penny numbers, dreadfuls, or romances, or whatever you wish to call them, have played a most important part in the history of English literature, because at one period it formed the staple supply of reading matter for the public.

These old penny weekly numbers began to be published in the early part of the nineteenth century, but it was not until 1840 to 1850 that they got into a good stride of circulation, and became exceedingly popular.  Prior to that date amongst the earliest productions may be mentioned the works of Mrs. Mary Radcliffe (1764-1823) including “The Castle of Athlin and Dunbayne,” “The Sicilian Romance,” “The Romance of the Forest” (1791), “The Mysteries of Udolpho” (1794), “The Italian” (1797).  There were also “Fatherless Fanny; or, A Young Lady’s First Entrance into Live,” “being the memoirs of a little mendicant and her benefactor,” published by J. Tallis, London, 1819.  The authorship is accredited to the author of “The Old English Baron” (Miss Clara Brown), but a footnote in the British Museum Catalogue discredits this, as Miss Brown died in 1807, so could not have written a work in 1819.  A romance bearing the same title was written by T. Frost, and published by E. Lloyd in 1841, the only difference being that the author called it “Fatherless Fanny; or, The Mysterious Orphan.”

George Virtue, 26, Ivy Lane, London, published during the thirties “St. Clair of the Isles; or, The Outlaws of Barra,” “Pilgrims of the Cross,” “Duncan and Peggy,” “The Farmer of Inglewood Forest,” and several others, in penny numbers, with woodcut illustrations of a respectable kind.  J. Cunningham, Crown Court, Fleet Street, issued numerous romances in penny weekly numbers.  He also published the “Novel Newspaper,” which contained romances in serial form, but these were not illustrated.  Messrs. Foster and Hextall, 11, Catherine Street, Strand, published “The Novelist,” a collection of Standard Novels, about this period.  This publication was in penny weekly numbers, each embellished with a decently executed woodcut.  The writer has Vol. 4 dated 1840.  It contains “Moustache or, The Three Students of Paris,” by Paul de Kock, “St. Leon,” by W. Godwin, “The Old Manor House,” by Mrs. Charlotte Smith, and one or two others, a special feature of the volume being some full-page plates signed by Pierce Egan, junior.  They are not what one may term works of art, but show a certain amount of merit.  Some of G. P. R. James’s novels were published in 1842, in penny weekly number form, but were not illustrated.  Another publisher was E. Dipple, Holywell Street, Strand.  One of his publications was “Life in London,” a romance by Herbert Thornley, dated 1846, in 13 Nos., and well executed woodcuts.  Another publisher was E. Appleyard, 86, Farringdon St., who produced the novels of Eugene Sue (Roscoe’s Library Edition) in penny weekly numbers about 1845-47, and George Vickers, 3, Catherine Street, Strand, who produced “The Three Musketeers,” and other works by Alexander Dumas; also G. W. M. Reynolds’s “Mysteries of London,” etc., in penny weekly numbers, about the same date, but I am going a little beyond my subject.

I wish to speak more particularly about the old romances, affectionately called by their admirers and collectors, “Penny Bloods,” published by Mr. E. Lloyd, the founder of “Lloyd’s Sunday Newspaper,” originally entitled “Lloyd’s Weekly London News.”

Mr. Lloyd founded “The Penny Sunday Times and People’s Police Gazette,” some time about April 3, 1840.  The copy I have before me consists of 4 pages, No. 99, Vol. 2, and is dated Sunday, February 20, 1842.  It contains some police court news and reports of theatres, but no political or general news, and is mainly taken up with four serial romances under the titles of “Adeline Munton; or, the Fair Forester of Sherwood,” “Memoirs of Madame Lafarce,” written by herself (translated from the French expressly for this work), “Deeds of Guilt; or, The Desolate House on the Waste,” by the author of “Alice Bland,” “Ravenslie,” “The Fortunes of Essex,” etc., etc., and last, but not least, “The Death Grasp; or, a Father’s Crime,” by the author of “Ela the Outcast,” etc.  On the front page is a large woodcut illustration, depicting the villain of the romance, “Baron Orlinburt and the Ruffians conveying Adeline away.”  Two of them wear masks and have their daggers drawn, the others have their swords ready to strike if anyone dares to impede their progress, and altogether it is a most weird and ghastly picture, putting any cheap book illustration entirely in the shade.  It is a fine example of the blood-and-thunder pictures which generally illustrate the old penny dreadfuls.  It was about this time that Lloyd employed a writer of “bloods” names Thomas Peskett Prest to write a number of these “dreadful” romances for his paper.

Previous to this Prest had written a good many burlesque travesties upon some of the best known works of Charles Dickens, under the pen name of “Bos.”  The first was “The Sketch Book,” by Bos, published in 12 penny numbers, embellished with 17 elegant engravings, 92 pages of double columns.  Printed and published by E. Lloyd, 62, Broad Street, Bloomsbury, 1836.  The next was “Nicholas Nicklebery,” by Bos.  43 penny numbers, 342 pages and 42 engravings.  After this came “The Posthumorous Notes of the Pickwickian Club,” or “Penny Pickwick,” edited by Bos, in 2 vols.  Vol. 1, 54 penny numbers, 432 pages in double columns, and 38 chapters.  Vol. 2 contains the numbers up to 112, 452 pages and 33 chapters.  The whole is embellished with no less than 200 engravings.  Printed and published by E. Lloyd, 62, Broad Street, Bloomsbury.  This was by far the best of the series.  It was followed by “The Life and Adventures of Oliver Twiss, the Workhouse Boy,” 79 penny numbers, 631 pages of double columns, and 119 chapters, and was printed and published by E. Lloyd for F. Graves, printer, 30, Curtain Road, Shoreditch.


April 12, 1919.

The next travesty upon Dickens’s work by Prest was “Pickwick in America,” edited by

“Bos,” 44 penny numbers, 350 pages, double columns and 28 chapters.  Printed and published by E. Lloyd, 82, Broad Street, Bloomsbury.  That is the address given in the copy in the British Museum.  The date is 1840.  “Mister Humfries’ Clock” follows, and “Bos” makes this a miscellany of striking interest, illustrated with numerous engravings by an eminent artist.  It consists of twelve penny numbers, 92 pages, single column, and twelve illustrations.  It was published at 44, Holywell Street, Strand, 1840.

From this date Prest commenced to write the old penny number “bloods” and dreadfuls by which he is best known.  Mr. G. A. Sala describes the author as a “Gutter Blood

Hack,” and his “Penny Pickwick” a “rag.”

Mr. Lloyd had evidently settled down at 231 High Street, Shoreditch, as it was from this address that the greater number of these “bloods” were published, and it gives them their hall mark of genuineness.

At this stage I cannot do better than quote a short abstract from the “Dictionary of

National Biography,” relating to Mr. E. Lloyd.

“He was born at Thornton Heath on Feb. 16, 1815.  His parents removed to London,

and when quite a boy Lloyd opened a shop in Curtain Road, Shoreditch, where he sold books and newspapers, and began to publish cheap literature.  In 1833 he compiled ‘Lloyd’s Stenography,’ getting his introduction printed, writing the symbols with his own hand, and carrying round the copies for sale.  He published in 1836 a ‘Monthly Budget of News,’ and in 1840 ‘The Pickwickian Songster,’ which occasioned a temporary dispute with Charles Dickens.  The ‘Ethiopian Song Book’ in 1847, and other works of the same class followed.  He also issued in 1842, ‘Lloyd’s Penny Weekly Miscellany,’ which had a large circulation and became in 1844 ‘Lloyd’s Entertaining Journal.’  ‘Lloyd’s Penny Atlas,’ 1842-45, was a similar undertaking.  ‘Lloyd’s Illustrated London Newspaper,’ issued in opposition to ‘The Illustrated London News,’ on November 27, 1842, at twopence, was stopped after seven numbers, owing to difficulties with regard to stamp duties.  It was held that it contained ‘news,’ although unstamped.  It was continued immediately, however, without illustrations, at twopence-halfpenny, under the name of ‘Lloyd’s Weekly London Newspaper,’ the original of the present popular Sunday paper.  Mr. Lloyd died very wealthy on April 8, 1890, at 17, Delahay Street, Westminster, and was buried at Highgate Cemetery.  He was the founder of the famous paper mills at Sittingbourne.”

It will me noticed that no mention is made in the foregoing record of the “Penny Dreadfuls,” nor of his other publications already mentioned, beyond “Lloyd’s Weekly London Newspaper.”

The writer has not seen a copy of “Lloyd’s Penny Weekly Miscellany” for some time, and cannot give any details of same, but “Lloyd’s Entertaining Journal” contained a large number of old “bloods” in serial form; so did “Lloyd’s Penny Atlas,” but none of them were illustrated.  It was published in 1847, and only ran to 38 numbers, when it was continued under the title of “Lloyd’s Penny Sunday Times and People’s Police Gazette”—possibly the earlier publication of the same title resuscitated.  The writer has not been able to find any record of this paper in the British Museum.

Many of the old “romances,” “bloods,” and “dreadfuls” that appeared in these various journals and papers were afterwards issued in penny number form.  An advertisement on the cover of the monthly part of “People’s Periodical and Family Library,” announced that No. 1 would be given away with Nos. 2, 3 and 4, so that you had to buy four numbers to secure No. 1.

I have already described this publication in article No. 7, Dec. 7, 1918, but I wish to add that the celebrated “blood,” “Sweeney Todd,” which it contained as a serial, was no doubt adapted by Thos. Preskett Prest (its reputed author) from the French story, “A Terrific Story of the Rue de la Harpe, Paris,” which appeared in a monthly publication called “The Tell Tale,” published by Henry Fisher (printer of the Camden Imperial History of England), in 1825.  The story is duly detailed in “Fouche’s Archives of the Police,” and the date is fixed at 1800.  Prest simply transferred the details to Fleet Street, and enlarged his morbid mind upon them; and in this manner was the notorious “Sweeney Todd:  the Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” created.  The writer has made a very close study of this particular “blood,” and can vouch for the accuracy of his statement.

The “Tale,” as it appears in “The Tell Tale, Fireside Companion and Amusing Instructor”  No. 1-16, page 510, is written in the form of a letter addressed to the Editor, and ends with the words “Cecil Street, B.”  “Sweeney Todd” was published in penny numbers by Lloyd in 1840, and is a very rare item, and seldom met with.  This is a different version of the romance to that which appeared in “The People’s Periodical,” 1846-47, as mentioned in article No. 7, Dec. 7.  “Prest’s” version was dramatised by George Dibdin Pitt, and under the title of “Sweeney Todd:  the Barber of Fleet Street; or, The String of Pearls,” a Legendary Drama in two acts, was first performed at the Britannia Theatre, Hoxton, in 1842.  (See No. 499, “Dick’s English Plays.”)

With regard to the quaint, weird, ghastly, and disproportionate illustrations in these old “penny bloods,” Mr. G. A. Sala, in his “Life and Adventures,” published by Cassell and Co. (1896) devotes a chapter to the subject.

Mr. Sala, who was born in 1828, began life as an illustrator of books, and scene painter.  Whilst little more than a youth he went to work for Mr. Calvert, who furnished Mr. Lloyd with the wood blocks for illustrating his “bloods,” etc.  I will give a brief extract of what Mr. Sala says on the matter.

“Mr. Calvert, a wood engraver, of Belvedere Road, Lambeth, who was not by any means a high art xylographer, was exclusively employed in preparing the work for illustrations of cheap, and it must now be admitted, vulgar weekly publications; prominently among which was a large sheet called ‘The Penny Sunday Times.’  He also furnished the illustrations to a large number of novels published in weekly numbers, to which was given the generic title of ‘Penny Dreadfuls.’  He himself employed the draughtsman, who drew on the block the designs which he engraved, or rather, chipped; and he was glad to have my assistance because I had been so long in a theatre that I had an extensive knowledge of costumes of almost every country and about every period.  (This explains why some of these quaint character illustrations are in costumes a hundred or more years older than the period of the romances, and others are in the conventional top-hats and dress coats and dresses of the modern times.  Anything did so long as an illustration was made up).

“So he set me to work at once,” (Mr. Sala goes on.)  “I used to spend three to four hours every morning in his studio in Belvedere Road.  He would work desperately hard until dinner time, which was one p.m., but after that repast he would not do another stroke of work; and for the remainder of the afternoon and evening he devoted himself to recreation—chiefly skitties.  I should add that ‘The Penny Sunday Times’ and the ‘Penny Dreadfuls’ were the property of Mr. Edward Lloyd—afterwards to be well known as the founder and proprietor of ‘Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper’—who towards the close of his life was elected by the political committee of the Reform Club a member of that distinguished institution.  Murders were the topics which I generally treated in the ‘Penny Sunday Times,’ and when there was a lack of assassinations one had to fall back upon such topics as ‘child stealing,’ ‘incendiarism,’ ‘burglary under arms,’ and the infliction of the knout on Russian princesses.  The titles of the ‘Penny Dreadfuls,’ with one exception I forget, but there were scores of them.  The one I recollect was a romance of the days of Edward IV., and it bore the attractive title of ‘The Heads of the Headless.’  The author of this marrow-freezing fiction was an old gentleman named Saville Faucit, who had been, I fancy, an actor and a playwright, and was the father of that delightful actress, Miss Helen Faucit, now Lady Martin.

“Mr. Edward Lloyd, Mr. Calvert, and I,” (says Mr. Sala), “got on very well on the whole for several months, although on one occasion the proprietor of the ‘Penny Dreadfuls’ sent me a mild letter of remonstrance, begging me to put a little more vigour into my drawings on wood.  ‘The eyes,’ he wrote, ‘must be larger; and there must be more blood—much more blood.’  (In some of the illustrations there is gore enough to satisfy the most bloodthirsty readers.  Daggers, swords and pistols are in full working order, and there is no attempt to hide the effects.  Heads, legs and arms are cut off ruthlessly, and blood is seen spurting from the wounds.)

“A good many outside draughtsmen were employed by Mr. Calvert, and among them was Robert Cruikshank, the brother of the famous George.  One of his assistants was named Armstrong, who had been a pupil of Thomas Bewick, the father of modern English wood engraving.  He had a delightful stock of stories to tell about Bewick himself, about his pupils Harvey and Landells, and Luke Clennell; and he could remember when John Gilbert, then quite a lad, had begun to make drawings on wood, and would accept so small a sum as half-a-guinea for an initial letter.”

In another chapter Mr. Sala says that Thomas Peskett Prest was responsible for half of the 200 or more of the “bloods” which were published by E. Lloyd.  Mr. Sala knew Prest personally.  What eventually became of Prest, or where and when he died, is not known, for he is not mentioned in any biography or authority.  Perhaps he passed into the usual oblivion of these old “Penny Dreadful” authors when he left the employ of E. Lloyd?

But what a writer!  What a morbid mind Prest must have had to write up such ghastly horrors, and what a multitude of ideas.  There are enough incidents given in his romance of “Newgate,” and “The Old House in West Street” alone to furnish the groundwork of a dozen or more of modern novels, or plots for the cinema.  What a mind to be able to write such an enormous quantity of romantic and weird fiction.  All were original, for, unlike the present-day writer, he would have very few references to work upon.  At one time he had four different romances on hand per week, all closely written, as the numbers will show.  One would think they would clash in their execution, but they did not do so.  Each romance or tale is quite separate in plot, detail and description from the others.


April 19, 1919.

Mr. T. P. Prest’s “record” in the catalogues of the British Museum consists of the following choice items, but does not by any means embrace all his works.

“The Maniac Father; or, The Victim of Seduction,” 1844.  “Martha Willis,” 1844.  “Mary

Clifford,” 1842.  “Angelina; or, The Mystery of St. Mark’s Abbey,” 1841.  “The Blighted

Heart; or, The Old Priory Ruin,” 1849.  “The Death Grasp; or, A Father’s Curse,” 1844.  “Newgate,” a romance, 1847.  (A most voluminous work running to 97 numbers and 772

pages of single columns, and illustrated by the most execrable pictures imaginable, abounding in horror of the most vivid description.)  “Ernestine De Lacy; or, The Robber

Foundling,” 1842.  “Poverty, Crime, and Sorrow,” a romance of deep pathos, 1845.  “Ela,

The Outcast; or, The Gipsy of Rosemary Dell,” 1845.  “The Old House in West Street; or, London in the Last Century,” 1846.  “Jack Junk; or, The Tar for all Weathers,” a romance of the deep blue Sea, 1849.  “Gallant Tom:  or, The Perils of a Sailor Ashore and Afloat,” 1841.  “Evelina, The Pauper’s Child; or, Poverty, Crime, and Sorrow,” 1847.  “The Gipsy Boy,” a romance of the Woods and Wilds, 1847.  “The Traitor of Shoreditch,” [sic; probably “The Miser of Shoreditch”] an original romantic drama, 1850.  “Richard Parker; or, The Mystery of the Nore,” 1851.  “The Miller and His Men; or, The Secret Robber of Bohemia,” 1852.  “The Blue Mantle; or, The Murder of the Old Priory,” 1851.  “The Hebrew Maiden; or, The Lost Diamond,” 1851.  “The Brigand; or, The Mountain Chief,” a romance, 1851.  “The Smuggler King; or, The Foundling of the Wreck,” a nautical domestic romance, 1844.  “Vice and its Victims,” 1851.  “Varney the Vampire; or, The Feast of Blood,” 1847.  “Captain Hawk; or, The Shadow of Death,” 1851.  “Paul Clifford; or, Hurrah for the Road,” was a romance of the old times.  This work reaches to 102 numbers and 397 chapters, printed in double columns.  The illustrations are wretched in the extreme.  “Gentleman Jack; or, Life on the Road,” was a romance of interest bounding in hairbreadth escapes of the most exciting character.

It is one of the most voluminous of all the periodical stories, being complete in 205 numbers and 398 chapters.  The date of these two works is about 1845.  Prest is generally credited as being the author, but as far as my researches go, he was not, especially of the last named, for a lady of the name of Mrs. E. C. Grey wrote it.  She was also the author of “Ordeal by Touch,” 1847, and “The Dream of a Life,” a romance, 1847.  Both published by Lloyd.

Amongst the numerous “Old Bloods” published by Lloyd during the forties and early fifties may be mentioned the following:  “A Lady in Search of a Husband,” 1847.  “The Wreck of the Heart; or, The Story of Agnes Primrose,” a domestic tale, by George Dibdin Pitt, 1842.  “The Ocean Chief; or, The Lost Vessel,” a domestic tale, 1846.  “The Royal Twins; or, The Sisters of Mystery,” by Prest, 1848.  “May Grayson; or, Love and Treachery,” 1842.  “The Ruined Cottage; or, The Farmer’s Maid,” 1847.  “Emma Mayfield,” 1846.  “Cottage on the Cliff,” 1847.  “The Demon of Sicily,” 1847.  And many others.

Another general hack or “blood” writer employed by Lloyd rejoiced in the name of “Malcolm J. Errym.”  His real surname was called “Merry,” but as that would be too jovial a name to use as an author of “bloods,” he mixed it up into Errym, and is known under that name in all his works.  His only record in the British Museum reads:  Malcolm J. Rymer, pseud. Errym.  “Sea Drift; or, The Wreckers of the Channel.”  New York.  1860.

He contributed numerous blood-curdling romances or bloods to “Lloyd’s Entertaining Journal,” “The Penny Atlas,” and “Lloyd’s Penny Weekly Miscellany,” including the following:  “Ada the Betrayed; or, The Murder at the Old Smithy,” “Jane Brightwell; or, The Farmer’s Daughter,” “Miranda; or, The Heiress of the Grange,” “Alice Horne; or, The Revenge of the Blighted One,” “The Compact; or, First and Last,” “Love; or, The Thread of Mystery,” “Brentwood of Brentwood,” and several others, some of which were afterwards issued as penny numbers.  He subsequently covered himself with glory, in the estimation of his admirers, by the publication of “The Black Monk; or, The Secret of the Grey Turret,” a romance in the style of Mrs. Radcliffe, abounding in horror and mysteries, all subsequently explained in a manner more astounding than any miracle.

If he was paid at the stock price of one penny per line, he certainly (like Prest) did his best to spin them out, for they ran to a most unconscionable length.

Mr. G. A. Sala said of him in his masterful and splendid articles, “London Up to Date”:

“Finally, I am wholly unable to make up my mind as to whether a personage, once very familiar to me, is extant in these days of new journalism, or whether he has vanished from the Press world—I mean the penny-a-liner—strictly, the term itself is a misnomer, as the occasional reporter of all kinds of scraps and snippets of information was paid at the rate of 1½d. per printed line; but does the individual himself exist, and retain his original status, or has he, like the so-called Bohemian of the present decade, become a master, arrayed in the popular sable garb with the due white cravat and the indispensable flower in his coat button-hole?  When I was young the penny-a-liner, indefatigably industrious as he was, rarely presented the appearance of one who was a favourite of fortune.  He was in truth usually a seedy, grubby person, who, for all his labouriousness, seldom seemed to obtain any advancement in his calling.  It is true that a first-rate murder and plenty of additional particulars turning up morning after morning, sometimes obtained for him a brief spell of worldly prosperity.  I remember at the time of the murder of an Irish exciseman, by that choice pair of rascals, George Frederick and Maria Manning—both of whom by the way, I saw hanged over the gate of Horsemonger Lane Goal—a penny-a-liner whose real name I have long since forgotten (Malcolm J. Errym), but whom we used to call ‘Ada the Betrayed,’ for the reason that he had once written a ‘penny dreadful’ with the title just given, but which, after running through four successive numbers of the ‘Weekly Ghoul,’ came to a sudden termination.  The proprietor of ‘The Ghoul’ eloped to Texas, and ‘Ada, the Betrayed,’ like Lord Ullin in the ballad, was left lamenting.

“The crime of the Mannings brought for a time splendid grist to ‘Ada’s’ mill.  Prior to the discovery of the exciseman’s body under the stones of the kitchen in Bermondsey, he had been a man all tattered and torn, but so soon as the remains of poor Patrick O’Connor had been identified through the dentist’s number on the gold of the false teeth which he wore, the lucky reporter blossomed into a brand new coat of Newmarket cut, new plaid pantaloons followed, a glossy silk hat shone upon his head, Wellington boots adorned his lower extremities, and the bows of a satin neck-tie floated on his chest.  The only thing he lacked was a waistcoat, but alas! the Manning’s were hanged ere ‘Ada, the Betrayed’ had secured that much coveted vest, and afterwards, murders being rare, he drifted gradually into his old and normal condition of dismal seediness.”—G. A. S.

(The execution of the Mannings took place on Tuesday, November 10, 1849.)

Lloyd does not appear to have published many bloods after about 1852-3, and when the success of the “Weekly Sunday News” had set his house above its former level of sensational fiction, the talents of “Errym” (or Merry) were transferred to John Dicks, who, commencing life as a small newsagent, had by enterprise and perseverance developed into a large publisher.  I will, however, speak more of this connection with Dicks’ publications later on.

I might here say that Mr. E. Lloyd acquired the “Clerkenwell News” in 1876 for £30,000 and subsequently called it “The Daily Chronicle.”  He spent, according to his biographer something approaching £150,000 before he succeeded in establishing it as a London daily newspaper.  It will be noticed, however, that the foundation of his fortune was made in a great measure through the publishing of “penny dreadfuls,” and as they would doubtless throw some reflection upon his social status, that perhaps is one of the reasons that no mention is made by his biographer of this particular line of his business.  Nevertheless, some thousands upon thousands of these penny dreadfuls were sold by him.  Of course in those days sensational stories were in great demand, as is evidenced in Reynolds’s publications.



As far as I have been able to ascertain in my researches G. W. M. Reynolds commenced to write his celebrated “Mysteries of London” during 1844, and the first number was published in August of September of that year.  Volume 1 is dated 1845, and consists of 52 numbers.  George Vickers (who, according to the brief notice in Boase’s Modern English Biography, was born in 1821), published at 28, Holywell St., 1857-66, and at 317, Strand, from 1866, until his death on October 19, 1884 at 12, Putney Hill, Putney.  He published “The Mysteries of London,” Vols. 1, 2 and 3 at 3, Catherine Street (1845-46-47), and Vol. 4 at 334, Strand (1848).  These consisted of 52 numbers each.  He also published Vol. 5, Vol. 1 (third series), written by Thomas Miller, and Vol. 6 (fourth series) by E. L. Blanchard at the latter address 1849-50, each vol. consisting of 52 numbers.  The firm, as Geo. Vickers, Ltd., is still alive and prosperous, although now better known as wholesale newsagents.

George Stiff, the first proprietor of THE LONDON JOURNAL, appears to have had some control of Reynolds’s publications, judging by the replies to correspondents in the “Miscellany.”  As a matter of fact he edited them for Stiff, who, when he heard that Reynolds intended to publish a new series of the “Miscellany,” forthwith issued a publication, called “Reynolds’s Magazine,” on June 27, 1848, which Reynolds advertised as being a fraud, and under this denouncement appear several notices in the first numbers of “The Miscellany.”  I will give one in full, to enable readers to understand better the strained relationship existing at the time between Reynolds and Stiff.


“Whereas a vile attempt has been made to palm off upon the public a spurious work, entitled ‘Reynolds’s Magazine,’ instead of the real, legitimate and duly advertised periodical called ‘Reynolds’s Miscellany,’ edited by George W. M. Reynolds, author of ‘The Mysteries of London,’ etc.  This is to give notice that legal proceedings have been instituted in the case, and all booksellers and newsvendors are cautioned against selling the spurious work.”

It is worthy of note that up to the early part of October, 1847, Reynolds had apparently been under publishing obligations to various publishers and printers.  To some his “Miscellany” was entrusted, to others his serial romances, etc., including his “Mysteries of London;” and it is possible that each of them considered he had a perfect claim to his work.

However, it was about this date that he became associated with Mr. John Dicks, who, history tells us, was destined to become so closely associated with Reynolds and the publisher of all his works.  On the issue of “The Miscellany” for Oct. 23, 1847, John Dicks’ name first appears as the publisher, at 7, Wellington Street, Strand.

In No. 3 of the new series of “The Miscellany,” July 29, 1848, appears the following “Address to the Public.”  I had better give it in full to enable the reader to understand the matter in question.

“In appealing to the justice and generosity of the British Public, I am convinced that the statement which I am about to make will not be without effect, and that the millions generally will espouse the cause of one who has laboured hard for some years to afford them amusement and instruction.  Moreover, having a wife and large family to maintain, I crave the assistance of the public to enable me to resist the malignant designs of certain persons who have conspired to ruin me.

“In the number of ‘Reynolds’ Miscellany’ bearing the date of June 24, but in reality published on Wednesday, June 14, it was announced that the ‘Miscellany’ would be enlarged to its present form, and that I proposed to commence in the new series a new romance.  In the ‘Weekly Dispatch,’ and other Sunday newspapers of June 18 an advertisement was inserted announcing that enlargement, and stating that the name of the new tale would be ‘The Coral Island.’

“In the number of the ‘Miscellany’ (the last of the old series) dated July 1 and published on the 21st of June, the same announcement was made; and the advertisement was re-inserted in several Sunday papers of June 25 with the additional notification that the new series would contain a translation of Larmartine’s ‘History of the Girondists.’

“Placards and bills to the same effect were moreover issued; and thus all possible publicity was given to the various intentions specified.

“Number one of the new series was printed in good time, and many thousands were already worked off at the Steam Press by Saturday evening, June 24, the day of publication being Wednesday, June 28; and on that same Saturday evening a considerable quantity of the impression was sent to Mr. Vickers, the bookseller of Holywell Street, to be dispatched to Scotland.

“On the Monday morning (June 26) I was informed by a friend that Mr. Stiff, the proprietor of THE LONDON JOURNAL (published by Mr. Vickers) had been to a printing office to enquire whether he could have several pages of a new work printed there, and he stated that he intended to issue a publication in opposition to ‘Reynolds’s Miscellany.’  This fact, together with others not necessary now to be explained, proves that on the Monday morning he had not as yet commenced the printing of his periodical.

“On the Tuesday morning (June 27) Mr. Stiff issued ‘Reynolds’ Magazine’ (Mr. Vickers being the publisher).  This spurious work contained a wretched travesty of my tale ‘The Coral Island,’ under the title of ‘Corral Island,’ Coral being spelt with two r’s.  It likewise contained a portion of another translation of ‘The History of the Girondists’—these two features being introduced to mislead the public to follow out the announcement contained in all the advertisements and placards above referred to, and to induce people to take ‘Reynolds’ Magazine’ instead of ‘Reynolds’ Miscellany.’  Even the ‘Notices to Correspondents’ in No. 1 of the new series of ‘The Miscellany’ were travestied or parodied in ‘The Magazine.’  Mr. Stiff moreover declared in the presence of witnesses that ‘He would spend a thousand pounds to ruin me and the “Miscellany.”’

“But upon what pretence did Mr. Stiff issue a work entitled ‘Reynolds’ Magazine’?  He has a stoker in his employment of the name of Abraham Reynolds, and this man, who is perfectly illiterate, and who earns a pound or a guinea a week, lent his name to the spurious publication!  But that name has been withdrawn from the imprint of No. 2 of the said spurious publication; and there is not even now a shadow of a pretence for retaining the name of Reynolds in the title of the work.

“I now appeal to the British Public whether a more malignant, cowardly and dishonourable attempt to supplant a popular publication and throw discredit upon an author, was ever made before.  The connexion between Mr. Stiff and Mr. Vickers explains clearly enough how a copy of No. 1 of the new ‘Miscellany’ could have found its way into the hands of the former between the Saturday night (June 24), and the Monday morning (June 26).  Indeed, it can be proved absolutely that Mr. Stiff did obtain a copy during that interval.  As a matter of course, law proceedings have been taken in this matter; but as the delays of such proceedings are notoriously and necessarily great, I deem it right to publish this explanation.—GEORGE W. M. REYNOLDS.”


[NOTE.—By an oversight the author of the second poem entitled “The Old Boys’ Book Brigade,” which appeared in my instalment for April 5 issue, was not stated.  The poem should have been credited to Mr. Barry Ono, who is so well known as a collector of old boys’ books, and to whom I am greatly indebted for much valuable data.—F. JAY.]


April 26, 1919.

It will be seen that at the period mentioned in our last issue there was no love lost between Reynolds and Stiff.  The battle was continued for some months, and in the issue of “The Miscellany” for November 18, 1848, appears the following “NOTICE TO MY READERS” by Reynolds, which will go to prove the why and wherefore of several publications that have hitherto remained a mystery.

“Several weeks ago an article upon ‘The Mysteries of London’ appeared in the columns of ‘The Weekly Times,’ of which Mr. Stiff is the proprietor.  This pseudo-review, which was written to the express order of Mr. Stiff, bestowed all kinds of Billingsgate abuse upon the work which it pretended to criticise.  How any respectable Editor could have lent himself to such a disgraceful proceeding—or how any literary man could consent to do Mr. Stiff’s dirty work, I must leave the public to judge.  The article concluded by intimating that Mr. Stiff intended to issue a new work, entitled ‘The Mysteries of London,’ and that he was looking out for a competent person to carry out the original design.  Mr. Thomas Miller was the gentleman then selected, and he accordingly entered into arrangements with Mr. Stiff for the projected publication.

“The agreement between Mr. Miller and Mr. Stiff were signed, sealed and delivered—the placards and bills announcing the work were printed and ready for issue.  The MSS. of the first number was in Mr. Stiff’s hands, and an advertisement was already in print on MY concluding number of the Second Series—when, lo and behold! Mr. Stiff sent a lawyer to ask ME write a Third Series of ‘The Mysteries of London.’  Mr. Davis (my solicitor) communicated this circumstance to me, and I agreed to meet Mr. Stiff to talk over the matter.  Without revealing to Mr. Davis my real sentiments, I wished to see how far human impudence would really go.  Accordingly, Mr. Davis and myself had an interview with Mr. Stiff and Mr. Moss (his solicitor) on Wednesday afternoon, September 13, and on that occasion Mr. Stiff proposed to me the ensuing terms:—‘That I should write the Third Series of “The Mysteries of London” at the rate of £5 per number, and that I should become the Editor of THE LONDON JOURNAL (his property) at a similar salary; he then offering to engage my services at £10 per week for two years certain.’  He added that he should unhesitatingly ‘throw Miller overboard’ for me, and turn away the gentleman already managing THE LONDON JOURNAL.  He likewise observed that, having just purchased a work called ‘Godfrey Malvern,’ of Mr. Miller, he had him completely in his power and could do with him as he chose.  The propositions were reduced to writing by Mr. Moss, and the document was forwarded to Mr. Davis, in whose possession it now remains.

“Thus it was, then, that after all the abuse which Mr. Stiff had heaped upon me through the medium of his various publications, he comes to me at the last moment, begging and praying that I will write him a third series of the much reviled book, and proposing to break off all his solemnly contracted agreements with Mr. Miller.  And mark—the interview thus alluded to took place the day before the last number of my second series was to appear, and consequently only seven days before he proposed to issue the first number of the third series.  Thus, even at the very last moment, did he apply to me and express his anxiety that I—and I alone—should continue to write ‘The Mysteries of London.’

“The above statement I should not have thought it worth while to make public, had not ‘The Weekly Times’ renewed its spiteful onslaughts upon me in its issue of the 8th of October.

“However, Mr. Stiff may continue to vent his malevolence against me to his heart’s content.  ‘The Miscellany’ is rising rapidly; and ‘The Mysteries of the Court of London’ is selling as well as either the first or second series of ‘The Mysteries of London’ I wrote for Mr. Stiff.”

We have thus an important chapter in the history of this celebrated work, and now we know that Mr. Reynolds had nothing to do with the third and fourth series of “The Mysteries of London,” written respectively by Thomas Miller, Edward Litt, and Leman Blanchard.  It would be very interesting to know who was the author of “The Merry Wives of London,” announced on the last page of Blanchard’s work as:  “On Saturday next, the 14th, a new romance will be commenced in the same style and printed in the same format as ‘The Mysteries of London.’  London:  George Vickers and all booksellers.”  The full title of this notorious and extremely rare work is as follows:—

“The Merry Wives of London.”  A picture of Life, high and low, from the refined sensuality of the rich to the coarse and depraved debauchery of the poor.  Amongst other humorous and amorous incidents will be found the “Merry Wives” and “Merry Husbands,” “Laura Bell and her Lordly Bully,” Young Love’s first blushes, Fortune-telling and Gay Ladies, Love Potion and it results, The Virgin and her Victor, Sly Ladies, and Sly Doings, etc., etc., complete in 26 numbers, 208 pages.  Printed for the Bookseller.”  Name of publisher is not given and it bears no date (but it would be as near as I can judge, 1850.)

Who was the author of this most extraordinary and extremely reprehensible work?  By some it is ascribed to G. W. M. Reynolds, but from what I have written it could not possibly be by him, for he had severed all connection with the producer, Mr. Stiff, and the publisher, Mr. G. Vickers.

The first number of “The Mysteries of the Court of London” was published by John Dicks at 7, Wellington Street North, Strand, on September 9, 1848.  The entire work was made up into four series of two volumes each.  The second series was published August 24, 1850, the third series on May 1, 1852, and the fourth series on December 30, 1853, and was completed on December 5, 1855.  The numbers were bound up and issued in volumes bearing dates from 1848 to 1856.  These are therefore the first issues.  The work was afterwards reissued in volume form at the same address, and “The Mysteries of London” and of “The Court of London,” at 313, Strand, some time afterwards.

A new issue of “The Mysteries of London” was published by W. M. Clarke, Warwick Lane in June, 1854.  Collectors should make note of these dates, as they are important in determining which are the first issues.

To assist collectors I cannot do better than give the dates the first number of the first issue of each romance or tale by G. W. M. Reynolds were published.  Much doubt has existed on the subject, and the dates will settle the matter.

“Master Timothy’s Bookcase,” July 25, 1846.

“The Parricide; or, The Youth’s Career of Crime,” January 9, 1847.

“Wallace, the Hero of Scotland,” by Gabriel Alexander.  Published by John Dicks, March 19, 1847.

“Pickwick Abroad; or, A Tour in France,” 1d. No. edition, April 24, 1847.

“Gretna Green; or, All for Love,” by Susannah Francis Reynolds (Mrs. G. W. M. Reynolds), September 10, 1847.

“The Bottle; or, The Drunkard’s Curse,” by G. Alexander.  November 6, 1847.

“Wagner, the Wehr Wolf,” Nov. 12, 1847.

“The Pixy; or, The Unbaptised Child,” Christmas, 1848.  It was only issued in volume form, and is a small work consisting of 136 pages, 3½ in. by 5½ in., and two illustrations.  Published by John Dicks.

“Alfred; or, The Adventures of a French Gentleman,” was published by Willoughby & Co., 86, Aldersgate Street, in book form, 1844.  It was not issued in 1d. number form.

“Wealth and Poverty,” by Mrs. Reynolds.  September 6, 1848.

“Robert Macaire,” December 11, 1848.

“Town and Country,” by E. F. Roberts.  October 24, 1851.

“Old London; or, The Days of Hogarth,” January 26, 1850.

“Mary Price; or, The Memoirs of a Servant Girl,” November 1, 1851.

“Robert Bruce,” by the author of “Wallace,” January 2, 1852.

“Lilias Winter:  The Milliner’s Daughter,” by G. Alexander, February 4, 1853.

“The Soldier’s Wife,” December 3, 1852.

“The Seamstress,” March 11, 1853.

“The Coral Island,” July 15, 1853.

“Joseph Wilmot; or, The Memoirs of a Man Servant,” July 29, 1853.

“Rosa Lambert; or, The Memoirs of an Unfortunate Woman,” November 4, 1853.

“Faust” was published by G. Vickers, 28, Holywell Street, February 13, 1847.

“Adelaide; or, The Trials of a Governess,” by G. Alexander, February 3, 1854.

“The Bronze Statue,” April 28, 1854.

“The Massacre of Glencoe,” July 12, 1856.

“Agnes; or, Beauty and Pleasure,” December 12, 1855.

“Ellen Percy; or, The Memoirs of an Actress,” January 10, 1855.

“Kenneth,” March 15, 1855.

“Loves of the Harem,” August 10, 1855.

“The Rye House Plot,” November 19, 1856.

“The Empress Eugenie’s Boudoir,” August 10, 1856,

“The Necromancer,” November 23, 1856.

“Margaret,” March 15, 1858.

“The Young Duchess,” sequel to “Ellen Percy,” October 10, 1857.

“Omar,” April 12, 1856.

“The Greek Maiden,” July 3, 1856.

“Canonbury House,” December 5, 1869.

“Mary Stuart:  Queen of Scots,” September 3, 1860.

“The Young Fisherman,” June 4, 1863.

“May Middleton,” August 21, 1857.

“Leila; or, The Star of Mingrelia,” June 6, 1857.

“Pope Joan, The Female Pontiff,” May 3 [?], 1858.

“Grace Darling,” written in 1839, does not appear to have been reissued in penny number form, but is included in the sixpenny reprints (Dicks’ English Novels.)

With the exception of “Mary Price,” “Joseph Wilmot,” “Rosa Lambert,” “Ellen Percy,” “Agnes,” “The Young Duchess,” and “Empress Eugenie’s Boudoir,” the greater part of Reynolds’s romances appeared as serials in “Reynolds’s Miscellany,” as described in Article No. 7, Nov. 30, 1918.


May 3, 1919.


According to “Boase’s Modern English Biography” John Thomas Dicks was born in 1818.  He entered the printing trade in London about 1832, and was employed for some time at “The Queen’s” and other printing offices.  He became a printer and publisher at 313, Strand, London, in 1863, and remained there till his death.  He established one of the largest printing and publishing offices in England, and became the proprietor of “Reynolds’s Newspaper,” “Bow Bells,” and other popular papers.  He also issued many cheap and good works, including “Dicks’ Complete Shakespeare,” 1866, “Dicks’ Standard Plays,” “Dicks’ Library of English Literature,” etc., etc.  He bought for a splendid annuity the name and copyrights of G. W. M. Reynolds (who died June 17, 1879, churchwarden of St. Andrew’s, Wells Street, London, in the odour of sanctity).  (E. Blanchard’s Life, 1891, 1-55).  “The Bookseller” of March 3, 1881, in an obituary notice says:  “The deceased (John Dicks) we believe commenced life in a very humble capacity and about forty years ago (1841) was assistant to P. T. Thomas, the Chinese scholar, who at that time was carrying on the business of publisher, printer and stereotyper to the trade on Warwick Square.

“Leaving Mr. Thomas he next joined the late G. W. M. Reynolds, at that time a leading Chartist, and was associated with him in the publishing of ‘Reynolds’ Miscellany’ and other works with which Reynolds was associated.  ‘Reynolds’ Miscellany’ had an unwholesome name, and was merged into ‘Bow Bells,’ a fairly well conducted weekly having a large circulation.  This and the other newspapers became the property of the deceased.  Mr. Dicks’ name has been honourably associated with the production of cheap literature, ‘Shilling Shakespeares,’ and wonderfully cheap reprints of Scott, and other standard authors.”

G. A. Sala used to write short tales for John Dicks, and he recounts in his “Life and Adventures” that when staying for a holiday at Mentone, he had only, in order to “raise the wind,” to write some short tale, present himself at Mr. Dicks’ villa, and receive a crisp £10 note and two and-a-half Louis in gold, in payment for the same.

Mr. Dicks died at his residence, The Villa, St. Valentine’s, Mentone, on Feb. 4, 1881.

His successors commenced to publish reprints of Reynolds’ romances, novels, etc., during the early eighties under the title of “Dicks’ English Novels,” and included were many of the stories, tales and romances that had appeared in serial form in “Bow Bells” and other publications.  Dicks’ “English Library” of Standard works (quarto size) was first published on June 27, 1883, and ran to Vol. 38 (quarterly volumes) March 2, 1894.  Percy B. St. John was the editor of the first few volumes.  It was a wonderful periodical; the first three volumes were only halfpenny per number, but it is best known by its familiar orange coloured paper covers, in volumes at 1/6 each.

“Dicks’ English Library,” 8vo. size, issued in monthly parts at 6d. each, containing complete tales, with copies of original illustrations, was first published on July 24, 1894.  The series ran to 30 parts, the last being dated Dec. 24, 1896.  Some of the tales had previously appeared in the 4to issue.

The first issue of “Dicks’ English Novels” are known by their pale green paper covers.  The subsequent issues have coloured pictorial covers.  Although thousand upon thousand copies of these popular sixpenny novels have been published during the last 30 to 40 years, it is remarkable how few of them appear to be in existence at the present time.  One great drawback to them is the close print and thin paper used, but considering you could obtain for sixpence a work complete with copies of all of the original illustrations, that in penny number form cost four or five shillings, they were well worth the money.  “The Mysteries of London” and “The Court of London” were never issued in this cheap form.  The latter was re-issued in weekly numbers, Jan. 10, 1857.  It is worthy of note here that the author admitted that the entire works of “The Mysteries of London,” and “The Mysteries of the Court of London,” were purely fictitious.

One of the most sensational works published by John Dicks was “The Secret History of the Court of England” from the accession of George the Third to the death of George the Fourth, by the Right Hon. Lady Anne Hamilton.  This was a faithful reprint of a work which caused an extraordinary sensation on its first appearance in 1832, and which was speedily suppressed.  It is the same, too, for which the sum of £1,000 was subsequently offered in New York.  Previously to its being published in book form it had appeared serially in “Reynolds’s Newspaper,” during the 70’s.

The writer is of opinion that G. W. M. Reynolds received his inspiration from this work to write his “Mysteries of the Court of London.”

The publications of John Dicks were legion, and were all published with the intention of giving the masses an opportunity of obtaining good literature at the least possible expense.



This publisher, of whom there is no special record, issued from 86, Farringdon Street, a number of penny number romances during 1844-45, including Roscoe’s Library Edition of Eugene Sue’s works.  “The Wandering Jew” in 70 Nos.  “The Mysteries of Paris” in 49 Nos.  “The Widow’s Will,” in 19 Nos.  “The Slave King,” in 16 Nos.  “Martin the Foundling,” and in 1846 “The Memoirs of a Physician,” “The Bastard of Manleon,” and others of Alexandre Dumas’s works; and in 1847 “Atar-Gull,” “Paula Monti,” and “The Commander of Malta,” by Eugene Sue.  “Life in Paris,” by Vidocq, “The Seven Cardinal Sins,” “The Forty-five Guardsmen,” “The Parody of the Wandering Jew,” “The Sin of Antoine,” “Ottawah,” and several others during 1847.


Alexandre Dumas’s “Remarkable Crimes” was published by Chapman and Hall in 1846.  “The Three Musketeers,” by George Vickers, 3 Catherine Street, Strand, in 16 Nos., 1846.  “The Mysteries of the Old Castles of France,” by Mr. Strange, 21, Paternoster Row, in 43 Nos. in 1847.  “The Mysteries of Bedlam; or, The Annals of a Mad-house,” by S. Chauntler, Amen Corner, Paternoster Row, in 1847, and W. Hillyard’s fine romance, “Catalina; or, The Spaniard’s Revenge,” by J. Dicks in 1847.

So many re-issues of the above works were published by various publishers that it is difficult to fix the dates of the first issues, but I think the above are as nearly accurate as it is possible to discover.

George Purkess was another publisher of penny number “bloods,” penny “dreadfuls,” etc.  His principal address was Compton St., Soho.  (He died at 59, Dean Street in 1862).  It follows, therefore, that all the first issues published by him bear dates prior to his death.  His son, also called George, was born at Wardour Street, Soho, 1840, and became a publisher and bookseller at 16, Alban’s Place, Edgeware Road, in 1858, and remained there until 1863.  He became the proprietor of “The Illustrated Police News,” and published the same at 83, Fleet Street, 1863 to 1865, and at 274, Strand, 1865 to 1868, and at 286, Strand, 1868 to 1890 and at 34, Catherine Street, 1890 to 1892.  He died at 25, Avenue Road, Regent’s Park, on December 10, 1892, and was buried at Highgate New Cemetery.

I mention these dates in order to fix those of any publications by him bearing these addresses, but not dates.  I believe the son re-issued some of his father’s publications, but all that bear the address, G. Purkess, Compton Street, Soho, are first issues.  I give a brief list of these:

“The Life and Adventures of Jack Sheppard,” 30 Nos., No. 1 published April 28, 1849. “Roderick Dhu; Clan Alpine’s Chief; or, The Scottish Outlaws,” November 10, 1849.  “The Unknown Warrior; or, The Secret Band,” March 2, 1850.  “Jack Rann, alias Sixteen String Jack,” by James Lindridge, March 23, 1850, and about the same date, “Paul Jones the Pirate” by Pierce Egan, September 29, 1849.  “Tyburn Tree; or, The Mysteries of the Past,” about 1857.  (This work was first published by G. Vickers, Holywell Street, Oct. 29, 1850, and completed in 40 Nos.)  “Paul the Poacher,” by T. Frost, September 21, 1850.  “Captain Macheath, the Bold Highwayman,” and “The Monk:  A Tale of the Inquisition,” by Monk Lewis, February 16, 1851.  “Jack Cade, the Insurrectionist,” March 8, 1851.  “The Black Mask; or, The Mysterious Robber,” by T. Frost, January 10, 1852.  “The Corsican Brothers; or, The Fatal Duel,” May 8, 1852.  “Purkess’s Penny Library of Romances,” No. 1, January 29, 1863.  “George Barrington, the Gentleman Pickpocket,” by T. Frost, November 1, 1851, and many others.

Purkess’s (Senior) publications were produced in a much better style than most of the other works of a like nature.  The illustrations were really good, and altogether the vols. are of a superior character.  “The Penny Library of Romances” were first-class issues, and embraced practically all the works of 1d. Nos. he published, a kind of cheap re-issue.

Another publisher was W. M. Clarke, “The Man in the Moon” office, 17, Warwick Lane.  During 1846-47-48 he published “Tales of Shipwrecks and Adventures at Sea” in 60 Nos., “Tales of Heroism” in 50 Nos., “The Mysteries of Paris,” in 24 Nos., 1½d. each, with 24 whole-length portraits of the various characters.  “The Wandering Jew,” in 26 Nos., 1½d. each, with 24 whole-length portraits, “Matilda or, The Memoirs of a Young Woman,” in 17 Nos., with eight page engravings, “Arthur; or, The Journal of an Unknown,” by Eugene Sue, “Paula Monti; or, The Hotel Lambert,” “Sylvester Sound, the Somnambulist,” by Henry Cockton, “The Love Match,” by the same author, “The Man in the Moon,” by Albert Smith, “The Life and Times of Dick Turpin,” by H. D. Miles, “Will Watch, the Bold Smuggler—A Tale of the Coast,” “Tales of the Pirates, and Lives of Celebrated Smugglers,” and, as before mentioned, “The Mysteries of London,” 1st Series, October 22, 1853.

Another publisher was William Caffyn, 31, Oxford Street, Mile End.  He published during 1846-47-48 “Alice Leighton; or, The Murder at the Druid Stones,” “The Mysteries of Old Father Thames,” “Milena, the Murderess:  or, The Soldier Victim,” “The Shipwrecked Sailor,” being a sequel to “The Ruined Cottage,” “Emma Mayfield; or, The Rector’s Daughter,” by the author of “Alice Leighton” (T. Frost), 52 Nos., 412 pages.  This work is of a peculiar mixed-up nature.  It deals with the daughter of a rector of Streatham, Surrey, and brings in the Prince of Wales, George IV., and other titled personages and characters, such as “Dick Turpin,” “Jack Sheppard,” “Claude Duval,” “Blueskin,” “George Barrington,” and other well written-of scamps, all interwoven one with another in a remarkable manner.

It brings in Brixton, Clapham, Croydon, Castle Street, Cranbourn Alley, Long Lane, Drury Lane, “The Cock and Magpie” Hostelry, and “The Hole in the Wall” public-house, and many other notorious houses, gambling places, procuresses, etc., innumerable, and accuses the Prince of Wales, George IV., as being the violator of Emmaline Stafford, etc.  Altogether a most remarkable, atrocious romance.  It was re-issued in 1857 by W. M. Clarke, 16-17, Warwick Lane.

Other penny dreadfuls published by W. Caffyn include “Jerry Abershaw; or, The Mother’s Curse,” in 30 Nos., “David Watson; or, The London ‘Prentice,” in 24 Nos., “The Ruined Cottage; or, The Farmer’s Maid,” by Hannah Maria Jones, 78 Nos., “Santo Sebastino; or, The Heiress of Montalvan,” in 68 Nos., “The British Log Book,” and many others.  The writer considers he ranks next to Lloyd in sensational literature.

May 10, 1919.

Another old-time publisher was George Peirce, 310, Strand, who issued on New Year’s Day, 1847, “Robin Hood and Little John; or, The Merry Men of Sherwood Forest,” by Pierce Egan, and other stories by the same author.  He also published “Marie Antoinette,” and “The Memoirs of a Physician,” by Alexandre Dumas, and “The King’s Daughter, or, Revelations of our own Times,” and “The Pirate’s Doom,” by William Hurton; also “Memoirs of Serjeant Paul Swanston,” “The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Vidocq, the French Jonathan Wild,” “The Female Bluebeard,” by Eugene Sue, “Maid Marian:  The Forest Queen” (companion work to Robin Hood), in 1849.  “The Scottish Chiefs,” by Miss Jane Porter, “Family Mysteries,” “Paul Periwinkle; or, The Press Gang,” “Will Watch,” etc., in 1853.  Some of these were also published by Henry Lea, 22, Warwick Lane, and Willoughby & Co., Smithfield.

“Old St. Paul’s,” 18 nos., 1841, was brought out by G. Vickers, who also published “The Lover of Paris” by John Wilson Ross, in 1846.



Amongst earlier works of the “Penny Dreadful” order was the History and Adventures of that famous negro robber, “Three-Fingered Jack:  The Terror of Jamaica.”  Printed and sold by T. Johnston Falkirk, 1822, 24 pages, forming one of a number of romances under the title of “Penny Miseries.”

Another version was published by T. & J. Allman, London, in 1829, and one by J. Moseley, Newcastle, in 1800.  The best-known and most secretly read work was by T. Frost, entitled “Obi:  or, Three-Fingered Jack.”  This was published by E. Lloyd, Salisbury Square, in 1851, and consisted of 51 Nos. (406 double column pages).  Others were “Life in Paris,” by Vidocq, published by Henry Lea, September 20, 1856.  “The Broken Heart; or, The Village Bride,” by Mary Bennett (H. Lea),  July 5, 1856.  “The Orphan Sisters; or, The Lover’s Secret,” “Family Faults; or, A Mother’s Error,” “A Voice from the Tomb,” “Emily Moreland; or, The Maid of the Valley,” by Mrs. H. M. Jones.  These were published by John Lofts, 262, Strand, October 3, 1853, to January 21, 1854.

“Rosaline Woodbridge,” and “Emmaline; or, The Orphan of the Castle,” by Henry Lea, December 6, 1856.  “The Bottle; or, The Drunkard’s Crime,” October 23, 1847 (published by J. Dicks).  “George Barnwell, The City Apprentice; or, London Life in the Last Century,” (G. Vickers) December 25, 1847.  “Nell Gwynne; or, The Court of Charles II,” (Henry Barth, 4, Brydges Street), September 15, 1849.  “Madeline Lisle; or, The Maid of Kent,” (S. J. Collins, 113, Fleet Street) May 18, 1850.  “Jane Shore:  The Goldsmith’s Wife” (John Lofts, 262, Strand) March 19, 1853.  “The She Tiger; or, The Female Fiend,” (Sinnett, 490, Oxford Street), May 14, 1853.  “The Rose of England; or, The Adventures of a Prince,” (John Lofts), August 28, 1852.  “Jenny Diver:  The Female Highwayman,” (S. J. Collins), January 25, 1851.  “Tom King:  The Hero Highwayman; or, Stand and Deliver,” by the author of “Lady Godiva,” “Sixteen String Jack,” “Ned Kelly,” “Will Watch,” “Prairie Perils,” “Mazeppa,” etc., printed and published by Pinder, Briggate, Leeds, under the title of “The Yorkshire Pocket Library,” 1884.

“Tom King,” (The Life and Adventures of the Highwayman) (Lloyd), in 51 Nos., August 11, 1852.  “Jonathan Wild,” described as the latest particulars of the original “House in West Street,” and the strange discovery of human bones that was found in the residence of Jonathan Wild.  Formerly called the “Red Lion” public-house, also the resort of the notorious Jack Sheppard and Dick Turpin, likewise various concealments, trap doors, secret panels, drawbridges to cross the Fleet Ditch, with cellars and curious contrived “spouts” for the purpose of conveying stolen property into the ditch, etc., etc.

Then there was a four-leaved pamphlet, size 6¾ inches by 4½ inches, published by Paul, 18, Great Andrew Street, Seven Dials, under the title of “Tracts on Crime” (December 31, 1860).  “The Gipsy Bride; or, The Miser’s Daughter,” by the author of “Jane Shore,” W. Bennett, publisher, 1841.  “The Sepoy’s Daughter:  A Tale of the Indian Mutiny,” by John Bridge, 1860.  “Sixteen String Jack,” “The Hero Highwayman; or, The Dangers and Diversions of the Road,” 19 Nos., published by Appleyard, 1877.  “Lois Meakin,” “Madame Angot’s Daughter,” “Claude Duval,” “Rose Michael,” “The Stolen Bride,” “The Two Orphans,” “The White Tiger” (Appleyard) 1876.  “The London Apprentice of the Last Century,” by Edward Lytton Blanchard, published by T. White, London, 1840. “Schamyl; or, The Wild Woman of Circassia,” 52 Nos., 1856.  “Ben Bolt; or, The Perils of a Sailor,” by T. Prest, 15 Nos., published by G. Purkess, 1856.  “The Calendar of Horrors,” by T. Prest, 91 Nos., published by G. Drake, 12, Houghton Street, Strand, 1836.  (This was probably one of the author’s first “Bloods.”)  “The Criminal Records of Highwaymen, etc.,” containing the Lives of “Dick Turpin,” “Galloping Dick,” “Jenny Diver,” “Jack Sheppard,” “George Barrington,” etc., 1815.  “The Wife’s Dream; or, The Profligate’s Lesson,” by T. Prest (E. Lloyd), 19 Nos., 1843.  “Deveril the Cracksman,” by an Old Bailey Barrister, published by W. M. Clarke, 9 Nos., 1849.  “Emily Fitzormond; or, The Deserted One,” by T. Prest (E. Lloyd), 36 Nos., 1842.  “Clarisse; or, The Merchant’s Daughter” (E. Lloyd) 1847.  “Gentleman Jack, The Highwayman,” 205 Nos., (E. Lloyd), 1852.  This is the most scarce “blood” published by Lloyd.

“Colonel Jack:  or, The Life of a Highwayman,” 104 Nos., (H. Lea) 1860.  “The Lady in Black,” (E. Lloyd) 1847.  “Luke Somerton; or, The English Renegade,” 32 Nos. (E. Lloyd) 1848.  “Claude Duval:  The Ladies’ Highwayman,” by the author of “Gentleman Jack” and “Paul Clifford,” 1848 (E. Lloyd).  “Dick Turpin,” 41 Nos., with photo of “Dick Turpin” and facsimile of his signature, (Thos. White, 59, Wych Street),  1840.  “Jack Sheppard,” 12 Nos., same publisher and date, “Old London Bridge and its Mysteries,” 52 Nos., (Willoughby & Co.) 1850.  “The Red Cross Warrior; or, The Spirit of the Night,” 12 Nos., (Hextall) 1843.  “Life of Jack Ketch, the Hangman,” (E. Churton, 26 Holles Street) 1835.  “Pirates’ Lives and Exploits,” (Richardson, 172, Fleet Street) 1845.  “The Nautical Log Book,” (Robin, 57, Tooley Street) 32 Nos., 1845.  “Stradella; or, The Power of Song,” by Walter Somers (E. Dipple, 12, Holywell Street) 14 Nos., 1848.  “Martin’s Annals of Crime,” 1836.

The writer could continue with scores upon scores of titles of old “bloods” and “penny dreadfuls,” but he is of opinion that those already listed (some of them mentioned twice over through the mixing up of his notes and records) are sufficient to show the kind of literature our forefathers evidently enjoyed.  The education of the masses about the period (say 1836 to 1856) was at a very low ebb, schooling being very expensive.  Newspapers were costly and not popular, and it was only the educated classes who could understand the better-class literature published about the same period.  Wages, too, were low, and pennies had to be considered.  The writer can well remember when “The Lincoln, Rutland and Stamford Mercury” was 4d., and in the country town where he lived as a boy, this and one of the London weekly newspapers were taken in by the publican, who loaned then out in single sheets per day to their customers.  It thus occupied a week to obtain and read the current news, and this was the usual manner in which the news of the week got circulated.  Newsagents and stationers bought up a quantity of the penny number publications, had them bound up in volumes of 15 to 20 numbers, and lent them out at prices ranging from one penny to 3d. per week, a deposit covering the value of the volumes during circulation.  This was when the “Penny Reading” meetings were popular, at which the temperance and other publications were read out.  In time these and other mediums enabled the masses to obtain, or rather to read, the literature of the day.  The idea soon spread until it became a general trade throughout the country, and in the big towns in particular.  There were hundreds of such lending libraries in London—East, West, North and South.  The writer (and many readers of THE LONDON JOURNAL), was acquainted with many of them.  Quite recently the stock from such a library was sold by auction and realised big prices.

Here is an advertisement taken from an old Journal of June 12, 1847:—


Four hundred volumes of modern novels, including the works of the most popular authors, to be sold for £20.—Apply to * * * * Great Titchfield Street, Oxford Street.  Three doors from Mortimer Street.”

The same number of volumes put on the market today would be worth more than five times the amount, and collectors and old readers would tumble over one another to obtain them.  It is a positive fact that there is GOLD in these penny dreadfuls, and people will find it well worth while to search the street stalls for them.

Probably one of the largest and most complete collections in this country is possessed by Mr. Barry Ono, the well-known and popular music-hall artist of 76, Vaughan Road, Coldharbour Lane, London, S.E.5.  The writer supplied him with the majority of his choice items.  When in town, Mr. Ono delights in showing his treasures to genuine enthusiasts, and he is always glad to correspond with “Old Boys.”

Some time during the fifties a firm styling themselves “The Newsagents’ Publishing Co.,” of 147, Fleet Street, sprang into existence, and following the lines of E. Lloyd, who had given up this class of publication, the Company commenced to publish a large number of penny dreadfuls, and to give them a more graphic description than the writer is capable of doing, Mr. Arthur E. Waite, in his “By-ways of Periodical Literature,” in Walford’s Antiquarian Magazine, August, 1887, says:—

“The period of the existence of the above firm would seem to mark the era of the greatest general depravity, as well as literary wretchedness, in the history of periodical fiction, tales of pirates, tales of highwaymen, tales of life in London, various indeed in subject, but all identical in tendency; such were many of the productions of this firm, while illustrations and type of a superior quality caused them to sell like wildfire in the shops of small newsagents, or, collected in volume form, to crowd the shelves of fifth-rate circulating libraries, where they were lent at a penny a volume, and passed through the hands of countless juvenile readers from the regions of Bermondsey and Whitechapel, to Bell Street and the Edgeware Road.  These libraries, like the publications to which they owed their existence, are rapidly becoming things of the past, but the curious pedestrian in the by-streets of Shepperton Market, Hoxton and the City Road may still meet with a few paltry survivors subsisting on the dilapidated remnant of their former stock.

“The literary value of these productions may be judged from the specimens we shall lay before our readers.

“ ‘The Skeleton Horseman; or, The Shadow of Death,’ is in point of literary merit, the worst penny serial we have met with, but in subject it is, perhaps, the most astounding.  It was issued in 1866, and was completed in 60 numbers, and 222 chapters.  It is concerned with the secrets of Glendore Castle, and notably with a skeleton who walks about, sword in hand, administrating terror and revenge in strong doses.

“ ‘Lion Lamb:  The Boy King of the South Sea Islands,’ was issued by the same company and was advertised as ‘the most marvellous tale of adventure written.’  It is complete in 47 numbers without date, title page or preface.  The hero, with a boy friend, is condemned to death for supposed murder, in the first chapter.  At the last moment their sentence is commuted to penal servitude for life.  The young convicts embark for the foggy, bleak and dreary Falkland Islands, but get wrecked in the South Sea.  Lion Lamb meets with the Cannibal King, gets a schooner of his own, and has many marvellous maritime adventures and a hundred hairbreadth escapes.

“ ‘The Skeleton Crew; or, Wildfire Ned,’ . . . which eclipses ‘The Skeleton Horseman’ in its horrors, if not in general absurdity, records the deeds of a terrific band of pirates, who were scourges alike of land and sea.

“It may safely be affirmed that a large proportion of periodical romances once widely circulated would not now be re-published by the most ‘enterprising’ bookseller.  Public opinion has changed during the last twenty-five years in the matter of periodical literature, and that which then passed unnoticed would now be dealt with according to the law.  This was occasionally the case at the period we are concerned with, and it is a curious fact that several works which were published with impunity in 1865 were suppressed on their reisssue some years afterwards.  Among these the most notorious was ‘The Wild Boys of London,’ whose first and only complete impression is much sought and highly prized by a certain class of book collectors.  Its literary merit is considerable, and its interest for errand boys and street boys was naturally profound, depicting, as it did, the daily life of London ragamuffins, whose squalid existence was invested with all the allurements of romance, and transmuted by all heroism of act and inspiration which ever crowned and strutted on the boards of transpontine theatre.”

Some time during the seventies it was reissued, but such an outcry was created on its appearance, that a raid was made by the police upon its publisher’s offices and the newsagents’ shops, and all the copies were seized and destroyed by order of the authorities.

May 17, 1919.

I dealt with the publications of the “Newsagents’ Publishing Co.” in Article No.12, January 11, and need not repeat them, but I will mention a few similar penny dreadfuls published by “The Temple Publishing Co.”:  “Starlight Nell, the Queen of the Highwaymen; or, The Red Rider,” by the author of “Captain MacHeath,” 46 Nos., 1866.  “Daredevil Dick; or, The Boy King of the Smugglers,” 96 Nos., 1867.  “Red Wolf, the Pirate; or, The Monarch of the Deep,” 86 Nos., 1867.  “Poor Boys of London; or, Driven to Crime,” 41 Nos., 1867.  “The Maroon’s Daughter; or, The Blood-hounds of Jamaica,” 47 Nos., 1867.

H. Lea published the following during the sixties:  “Lightning Dick, The Devil of Whitefriars,” 21 Nos. “Valentine Vox,” 80 Nos.  “Black Rollo, the Pirate; or, The Dark Woman of the Deep,” 93 Nos.  “The Boy Actor; or, Struggles for Bread,” 23 Nos.  “The Boy Brigand; or, The Dark King of the Mountains,” 33 Nos.  “Amy Lawrence, the Freemason’s Daughter,” 35 Nos.  “The Sepoy’s Daughter,” 109 Nos.  “The Outsiders of Society; or, The Wild Beauties of London,” 20 Nos.  “Vice and its Victims; or, Phoebe, the Peasant’s Daughter,” 72 Nos.  “Tales of Shipwreck,” 15 Nos., 1866.  “Guy Fawkes; or, the Conspirator’s Bride,” 14 Nos.  “Hounslow Heath and its Moonlight Riders,” published by The London Romance Co., 18 Nos., 1866.  “Robin Hood; or, The Outlaws of Sherwood Forest,” 52 Nos., 1869.

The following were published by George Vickers:  “Charley Wag, the New Jack Sheppard,” by the author of “The Woman with the Yellow Hair,” “Somebody Else’s Wife,” etc. (ascribed to John Wilson Ross), 74 Nos., 1861.  “Fanny White and Her Friend Jack Rawlings,” 21 Nos., 1865.  “The Women of London,” 24 Nos., 1866.  “The Woman with the Yellow Hair,” 24 Nos., 1866.  “The Haunted Woman; or, Passion and Perseverance,” 20 Nos., 1866 (published by H. Lea), and several others.

E. Harrison, Salisbury Court, Fleet Street, published some time in the sixties, the celebrated “Black Bess; or, The Knight of the Road.”  It was written by E. Viles, and ran to no less than 254 numbers and 2,028 pages, each number being illustrated.  Allowing one number per week, it must have taken nearly five years to complete, a truly marvelous bit of work.  The preface to the bound volume is dated 1868, but is it obvious the numbers were issued before that date.  A bound volume is as large as a family Bible, and is the largest work amongst the “Penny Dreadfuls.”  The writer has never yet met any person who can say he has read the whole of it straight away, with the exception of the well-known and popular music-hall artist, Mr. Mark Melford, who assured the writer that both he and his daughter had read it through no less than three times, and he declared that they had enjoyed it immensely.

“The Black Highwayman,” being the second series of “Black Bess,” by the same author, followed in 86 Nos., 688 pages, 1866-68, a fine coloured plate being given away gratis with Nos. 1 and 2.  Evidently both works were popular, and sold well, for they were re-issued, I believe, in penny numbers, and again in halfpenny numbers, and with the later edition a number of coloured plates were given away.  Possibly the re-issue was occasioned through subscribers not completing the first issue, and in order to supply the missing numbers.  A complete first issue is a rarity, and much sought after, more as a curiosity than from the desire to read it through.

“Blueskin,” also by Edward Viles, was published by E. Harrison in 158 Nos., 1259 pages, during 1866-67.  The author must, therefore, have been a very busy writer to keep these three works going at the same time.  “Blueskin” (i.e. “Joseph Blake, the Highwayman”) is, in the opinion of the writer, the best of the author’s works.  It was also re-issued, as “Black Bess,” and “The Black Highwayman.”  There is not doubt the same author was responsible for the greater part of the similar works published by E. Harrison, for he was a prolific writer, chiefly on sensational subjects.  He was also a very keen and ardent collector of “Bloods” and “Penny Dreadfuls.”  The writer was told by a well-known secondhand book-seller that Viles engaged him to employ a four wheeled cab and go round to all the old lending libraries and secondhand booksellers and buy up all the books of this kind he came across, and in this manner he acquired an immense stock which, at his (Viles’s) death were sold by auction and commanded big prices.

Other works published by E. Harrison included “Gentleman Clifford; or, The Lady’s Highwayman,” 35 Nos., 1864.  “Red Gauntlet, the Bandit,” 26 Nos., 1865.  “Little John and Will Scarlett; or, The Outlaws of Sherwood,” 40 Nos., 1865.  “Captain Cook, the Mariner,” 1870.  “The New Newgate Calendar,” about 120 Nos., 1863-65.  “Jessie, the Mormon’s Daughter,” 64 Nos., 1864.  “The Orphan Sisters; or, The Lovers’ Secret,” 24 Nos., 1865.  “The Illustrated London Novelist,” by E. Viles, 24 Nos., 1864, and several others, including “Nightshade; or, Claude Duval, the Dashing Highwayman,” by Malcolm J. Errym, 60 Nos., 480 pages, 1863-64.

The writer has not been able to ascertain who really published “Edith the Captive; or, The Robbers of Epping Forest,” nor who was the correct author.  The British Museum Catalogue gives the name of Fred. Hazleton as the author, at any rate, the copy in that institution, which is in two volumes of 52 numbers, and 416 pages each, dated 1861-62; and the same applies to “Edith Heron; or, The Earl and the Countess,” the sequel to “Edith the Captive,” also in two volumes dated 1863-64.  Published by John Dick and “noted.”  “The Daughter of Midnight,” by the same author, should be read with it.  Now, considering the latter was written by Edward Ellis, the author of “Ruth, the Betrayer,” it is a little perplexing to know who was really the author of these two well-known and favourite romances.  E. Viles is said by some to have written “Edith the Captive,” and M. J. Errym (Merry) the sequel.  Others assert that Errym wrote both of them—which is correct?  If Ellis, Viles or “Errym” wrote them, it follows that the entries in the British Museum Catalogue are incorrect.  The question is, therefore, an open one.  Unfortunately, the copies I have seen do not bear the author’s name.

“The Dark Woman; or, the Life and Adventures of Sixteen String Jack,” by Errym (J. Dicks) 104 Nos., 1866.  “Rook, the Robber; or, London Fifty Years Ago,” also by Errym (J. Dicks), 30 Nos., 1863.  Another issue of the first-named was entitled “The Dark Woman; or, The Days of the Prince Regent.”  “Ruth the Betrayer; or, The Female Spy,” (J. Dicks) 50 Nos., 1866-68.  “The Buccaneers; or, The Hidden Treasure,” by the author of “Charley Wag,” 12 Nos.  “Kate Chudleigh; or, The Duchess of Kingston,” by the author of “Edith the Captive,” 12 Nos. (J. Dicks), 1868.  “Money Marks; or, The Highwayman of the Seas” (George Vickers), 20 Nos., 1865.  “The New Mysteries of London,” by Hablot K. Browne (Phiz.), published by George Howe, 145, Fleet Street, 22 Nos., about 1866.  (There is no copy or record in the British Museum).  “Kit the Pirate; or, Life on the Ocean,” 92 Nos., and “The Boy Detective:  or, Crimes of London,” 40 Nos. (published by G. Howe about the same date).

“The Scarlet Cruiser; or, The Wolf of the Waves,” 15 Nos., and “The Confederate’s Daughter; or, The Tyrant of New Orleans,” 15 Nos. (published by Allen & Co., about 1865).  “Turnpike Dick, The Star of the Road,” was published, I believe, by Charles Fox, in 60 Nos.—902 pages, some time about 1889.  “Tales of Brigands and Banditti,” 26 Nos., and “Mazeppa; or, The Dwarf’s Revenge,” 26 Nos. (Newsagents’ Publishing Co., 1866).  “The Serpent on the Hearth:  A Mystery of the New Divorce Court,” (The United Press Co., 28 Brydges Street, Strand), 24 Nos., 1867.  “The Colleen Bawn; or, The Collegian’s Wife,” by Gerald Griffin, (G. Vickers) 14 Nos., 1866.  “Ned Kelly, the Ironclad Bushranger of Australia” (G. Vickers), 38 Nos., 1881.  “The Newgate Calendar” (A. Ritchie), 50 Nos., 1889.  “Tom Turpin; or, Life on the Road,” 60 Nos., 1867.  “The Mystery of Marlborough House” (E. Harrison) 52 Nos., about 1867.  “The Mysteries of the Court of Denmark,” by Lady Charlotte Gordon (H. Lea), 1863, was a remarkable work and only ran to 30 Nos., Vol. 1.  This is explained by a notice on the back page of the paper cover to the last number, which reads as follows:  “I doubt not that these revelations will be most interesting to the reader.  An attempt has already been made to suppress them, but so long as I am supported by the vouchers of fact, no power shall deny me my liberty of stating all I know.—December, 1862.  Charlotte Gordon.”

The writer is of opinion that G. W. M. Reynolds was the real author, and used the name of Lady Charlotte Gordon anonymously.  The work is of a similar nature to “The Mysteries of the Court of London.”  There is no record to the assumed authoress in the British Museum beyond this one, and it is marked “Pseud.”, therefore leaving a doubt as to who she was.

Pierce Egan’s well-known works, “Quintin Matsys,” 34 Nos., “Wat Tyler,” 64 Nos. (1st issue 1841), “Paul Jones,” 2 Vols., 1842, “The London Apprentice,” 92 Nos., 1852, “The Black Prince” 36 Nos., “Robin Hood,” 35 Nos., 1850, were all issued in penny numbers by various publishers, but they scarcely come under the style of “Penny Dreadfuls.”

Finally, I will mention “Charles Peace,” the notorious burglar, whose “life and adventures” were made the subject of a voluminous publication of 100 Nos., 778 pages, published by Purkess in 1888.  Together with the Life and recollections of “Calcraft, the Hangman,” in 30 Nos., (the first issue being dated 1871) these two works had a large sale.

I have omitted many works simply because the subject is an unending one, and I am afraid the Editor will become tired of passing the “copy” to the printer, but for all practical purposes I have given the principal ones.  I may have made a few errors in regard to publishers’ names and dates, although I have been most careful to verify them as much as possible.  It is no easy task to ascertain when such and such a work was published, and who was the author, etc., when the volumes themselves bear no name or date, and the only way to find out is by wading through countless pages of newspaper advertisements announcing their publications.

I might in conclusion refer briefly to “The Hogarth House” list of works published by W. Cate, 32, Bouverie Street, some thirty years ago.  They were originally issued in penny numbers, and afterwards bound up in coloured pictorial covers.  The list includes:—

“Robin Hood; or, The Archers of Merrie Sherwood,” “Will Dudley; or, The Scarlet Rider,” “Handsome Harry of the Fighting Belvedere,” “Tyburn Dick; or, Take Me Who Dare,” “The Outlaws of Epping Forest,” “Tomahawk and Rifle,” “Whip the Wind; or, The White Horse of the Prairie,” “Young Will Watch; or, The Smuggler King,” “Dashing Duke; or, The Mystery of the Red Mask,” “The War Cruise of the Mosca; or, The Fighting Mids,” “For Honour; or, The Young Privateer,” “Black-eyed Susan; or, Pirates Ashore,” “Midshipman Tom; or, The Cruise of the War Cloud,” “Adrift on the Spanish Main,” “Sheet Anchor Jack,” “The Pirates’ Isle; or, The Wonders of the Deep,” “Willie Gray; or, The Wreck of the Polar Star,” “Frank Fearless; or, The Cruise of the Firebrand,” and many others, whilst Charles Fox published “Spring Heeled Jack, the Terror of London,” “Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” “Cheeky Charlie; or, What a Boy Can Do,” “Morgan the Buccaneer:  The Scourge of the Spanish Main,” “The Life and Adventures of Jack Sheppard,” “He would be a Clown,” “Broad-Arrow Jack,” “Green as Grass,” “Paul Jones, the Pirate:  The Terror of the Sea,” “The Boys of London:  A Story for the People,” “Famous Fights in the Prize Ring,” which were all issued from 4, Shoe Lane, and were all specially mentioned by Mr. Francis Hitchman in his article on “Penny Fiction,” in “The Quarterly Review,” July, 1890.  (Mr. Hitchman at this time was assistant Editor of “The Standard.”)  I may also mention “Under the Pirate Flag; or, Adventures at Sea,” published by A. Ritchie, 6, Red Lion Court, E.C., 60 Nos., 1886-87.  A. Ritchie also published “Captain Tom Drake,” a rather disappointing production both as regards the yarn and the illustrations.

Most of Edwin Brett’s selected tales from his various Boys’ Periodicals were issued in penny numbers before being sold in book form.  The practice of publishing stories in weekly or bi-weekly penny numbers has apparently now ceased.

Money is now more plentiful, and the present generation can better afford to purchase the volumes “right out” than we of the past reading generation were able to do.  As a matter of fact, it is perhaps only the middle-aged man who cares or interests himself about the old-time penny number publications.  They cannot appeal to the present-day youth except as curiosities (particularly their illustrations) as they have never experienced the “anxiety” of waiting for the next number.

Judging from the numerous letters the writer has received from old readers, admirers and collectors of this class of literature, their only desire is to renew the pleasures of their youth by possessing some of these old relics of the past.  Frequently the writer receives letters saying, “When a boy I read a take entitled so-and-so.  I forget in what periodical or journal it appeared, but the date would be round about so-and-so.  Its characters consisted of such-and-such.  Can I give them any information concerning it? or, better still, tell them where they could obtain copies.”

They would like to read over again what they had read in their youthful days, and preserve the copies as mementos of the past, many of which recall to their minds certain sweet memories and events of their irresponsible youthful days, and it was in response to these appeals that I was induced to make a special study of the subject.

Being and old reader and collector myself, I felt I could assist them and at the same time increase my own knowledge.  The task has been a laborious, but a pleasant one.  My only regret is that I have not been able to place the various publications in a more uniform manner.  It will be seen that the subject is one of endless research.  I sometimes think that a better informed and more able wielder of the pen could have dealt with “Peeps into the Past.”  At the same time I am pleased if I have been of some little service to others who have not the same opportunities to obtain the “data” and particulars that I have the pleasure, as well as the honour, to enjoy.

21, Fircroft Road, FRANK JAY,

Upper Tooting, S.W.17. 30/3/1919.



[We are sure the majority of our readers will regret that Mr. Jay’s most entertaining series of articles have come to a conclusion, and with ourselves will second our thanks to him for recalling events which will always rank as “red letter” days of our past.  We hope to persuade him to give us another series shortly, when he may perhaps be able to include the old “girls’” books, of which a large number were published in the seventies and eighties of the 19th Century.—Ed. “S.M.”]



July 31, 1920.

Second Series.

(Supplementary to the series that appeared in our issues dated October 19, 1918, to May 17, 1919).



I have already dealt in a summary way with “The Young Folks’ Weekly Budget” and “The Young Folks’ Paper,” both of which were family periodicals read by both sexes, but I wish to give a few particulars regarding their successors, all of which have become nearly as famous and as scarce as the above (nay, they are seldom met with) because many of the serials were republished in the following periodicals, and copies are consequently much sought after.



From ‘Scraps,’ ‘Snap Shots,’ etc.

Number One published May 7, 1892, consisted of 16 pages quarto size.  The contents consisted chiefly of comic and humorous pictures and sketches, and one serial entitled “The Munchausen Club,” established for the purpose of its members indulging in “Fun,” “Larks,” and “Hair Brained Adventures,” reprinted from “Old and Young,” formerly “Young Folks.”

The price was one halfpenny, and the publication ran to 29 numbers.

With number 30, November 26, the title was changed to



A serio-comic Budget of pictures and stories from ‘Scraps,’ ‘Snap Shots,’ ‘Young Folks,’ now ‘Old and Young,’ and other publications of Red Lion House, for over thirty years.  Intensely interesting and amusing.

The publication was increased to 32 pages, 16 pages of pictures and 16  pages of reading matter as a supplement under the title of STORY NUGGETS, containing as serials “The Queen’s Musketeer,” “Fred Hilton, the Soldier-Sailor, a story of the Ashanti War,” “Silverspeare,” and “The Magician of Arabia,” all with their original illustrations.  The price for this double number was at first one halfpenny, but it was raised to one penny with the next number, and continued so till the end.  It was a very full pennyworth of pictures and reading matter, and no one could complain of not getting their money’s worth.  The paper used, however, was not so good as that of “The Young Folks,” being of a lightish green colour, which did not show the pictures, and especially the extremely fine work of that celebrated artist, John Proctor (Puck), William Boucher, and other clever artists in the same degree of excellence as in the previous publication.

All the same, the numbers of “Nuggets” containing their works are very eagerly “snapped up” by collectors, scores of whom cut the serials and illustrations out and have them bound up separately.

It would take up too much space to describe the whole of the serials, tales, and stories that followed one another in this popular publication, but I will give the titles of the leading ones, which may revive memories of the same in “Young Folks’ Weekly Budget” and “Young Folks.”

A special feature was “Editor’s Gossip,” in which the editor indulged in chatter on current events and gave much useful information respecting the various authors, writers, artists, and others connected with Red Lion House.  A portrait and sketch of Mr. Richard Quittenton (Roland Quiz), with his portrait, appears in number one.

In No. 70, September, 1893, appeared “Desdichado,” by Alfred R. Phillips, and in 71 “The Golden Helm” or “Further Adventures of Silverspeare” by Walter Villiers; in 81, “Jewel-Land” by Miss S. Holland, who was, I believe, the first editor of “Young Folks’ Weekly Budget,” or at any rate she was one of Mr. Henderson’s staff when he migrated from Manchester (where “The Weekly Budget” was first printed and published by “The Guardian Printing Works”) to Red Lion Court, Fleet Street, London.  She was a gifted lady, and wrote several of the “Wonderland” series, including “Fairydom,” “Marvel-Land,” “Goldyana,” etc., some of these being under her pen name of “Uncle George.”

In No. 94, February 17, 1894, appeared “Thundersleigh; or The Knight’s Quest,” by Alfred R. Phillips; in 100, “Funny-Land;” in 112, “Jack the Valiant,” by Roland Quiz; in 121, “Glaucus:  a Romance of Rome,” by Alfred R. Phillips, and “The Paradise of the North,” by David Lawson Johnstone; in 148, March 2, 1895, “Kairon,” by A. R. Phillips; in 157 “Tor,” companion to “Jack the Valiant,” by R. Quiz; in 185, “Under the Banner of St. James,” by William Sharp; in 202, “Tom Rodman”; in 203, March 21, 1896, “Giantland” with portrait of Roland Quiz (Richard Quittenton); in 231, “Tim Pippin;” in 256, March 20, 1897, “King Pippin;” in 272, “The Golden Pheasant,” by Roland Quiz.  Several other tales from “Young Folks” appeared afterwards, but few by the above writer.  In the Christmas number (348, December 24, 1899) appeared the opening chapters of “The Prince of Giant Land; or, The Wonderful Adventures of Young Tim Pippin,” by Roland Quiz, illustrated by William Boucher.  The volume for 1900 contained “Jack Parton,” “The Last of the Vikings,” “The Pride of the Troop,” “Paul Fontenay,” “The Swordsman,” “Vasco the Cooper,” and “The Royal Outlaw.”  The volume for 1901 contained several tales by D. Lawson Johnstone, William Murray Graydon, and Captain Fred Whittaker.  “Jack the Valiant” reappeared in No. 504, January 23, 1903, and “Tor” in No. 550.  The other serials for the year being “The Secret Island” and “On Four Brass Plates.”  In No. 593, September 5, appeared “Ralpho the Mysterious,” by Alfred R. Phillips, whilst in the volume for 1904, Nos. 610 to 662, appeared “The Lost Blue Diamond of the Stuarts,” by Lewis Ramsden, “The Black Arrow,” by Robert Louis Stevenson, and others of less note.  Number 665, January 21, 1905, was the last issued in small quarto sheets.  The next 31 Nos. were in larger sheets, of good quality white paper, and a new series on larger sheets of pink coloured paper commenced with No. 692, July 29, and ran to No. 714, December 30, 1905, when it was, I believe, discontinued.  The enlarged sheet series consisted of only 16 pages, and contained by few tales.

It was altogether not a bad publication as far as quality was concerned, and as before remarked, one got plenty for their money.



A Serio-Comic Budget of Fiction and Stories, original or selected

from the publications of the Red Lion House for over thirty years.

This was another publication on the same lines as NUGGETS.  No. 1 published on May 12, 1894, consisted of 32 pages, 16 of which were devoted to “Pictorial Varieties,” comic pictures, etc., and 16 pages of serials, tales, short stories, etc., Editor’s Gossip, etc.  Price one penny.  The paper used was the same quality as “Nuggets,” only light pink in colour.

The first serials comprised “Fairydom,” by Miss S. Holland, “The Maid of Domrency,” and afterwards “The Seven Pointed Star,” a romance of the days of Marlborough, by A. J. Colynski, “Ralpho, the Hero of Warsaw,” by Alfred R. Phillips, author of “Glaucus,” “Desdichado,” etc.  In number 91, February 1, 1896, appeared “Don Zalva the Brave”; or, “The Fortune Favoured Knight of Andalusia,” by A. R. Phillips, and “Wilchester Towers,” or “The Buried Treasure Legacy.”  In No. 98, March 21, “Marvel-Land; or, Winifred’s Wondrous Wanderings,” by Miss S. Holland, and in No. 107, May 23, “The Mysterious Twins.”

In one of the “Editor’s Gossips” appeared a portrait of Miss S. Holland and the following notice:—She was a contributor to “Young Folks’ Budget” and was a native of Lancashire, and began her literary career on the staff of Mr. Henderson’s first number (January 5, 1861) of “The Weekly Budget” which was printed by Messrs. Taylor, Garnett, Evans & Co., at that time the general printing department of the “Manchester Guardian,” and published in Manchester.

When Mr. Henderson removed to London Miss Holland was among the staff who followed in his wake.

She contributed to the very first number of “Young Folks,” and acted as Editor for some time.  In her editorial capacity she had a happy faculty for dealing with the varied letters and correspondence from her large circle of readers, and as an author she wrote several highly successful serials.  The first of these was the clever and imaginative “Fairydom,” which commenced in No. 106, Vol. 3, January 4, 1873, of “Young Folks” (republished in Varieties 1894).  “Goldyana,” a story about Elves and Fairies, Sequel to “Fairydom,” in No. 174, Vol. 4, April 25, 1874.  “Lottie Langdon’s Story,” with very fine illustrations by Puck (John Proctor), “Florrie’s Fortune,” “Nellie’s History,” “Alice Woodley,” “Marvel Land,” No. 393, Vol. 12, June 15, 1878.  “Lillian Lee,” “Violets Victory,” and “Hazelhurst,” her last story which appeared in 1883.

In addition to these long and popular tales Miss Holland contributed a number of articles, essays, and prose stories to the Henderson publications, and found time to compose several musical works, the most successful of these being the once popular “Fairydom” Gavotte.  Miss Holland died in 1889.

Mrs. George Sheldon, an American authoress, also contributed some stories to “Varieties,” which however only ran to 116 numbers, and ended on July 2, 1896, when it became incorporated with “The Garland,” and the serials continued the same.



August 7, 1920.


Of Illustrated Stories and Humorous Pictures.

was published on Wednesday, June 24, 1896.  It consisted of the usual 32 pages, 16 devoted to comic and humorous pictures, and 16 to serials, tales, short stories, etc., in quarto sheets.  The first number was a white paper of good quality and subsequent issues on pink tinted paper.  The serials from “Varieties” were continued, and “Zalva the Brave” by Alfred R. Phillips appeared, also “A Soldier of the Legion” by David Lawson Johnston, author of “Richard Tregellas,” “The Paradise of the North,” “The Mountain Kingdom,” etc., etc.  In Editor’s Gossip there was a fine portrait of Mr. Boucher, the artist, with a very brief sketch.  A peculiarity of this publication was that the volumes consisted of only twelve numbers.  In number 18 appeared “The Silver Ship,” and “The Duke’s Daughter.”  In number 19 “The Golden Bangles” by Mrs. E. A. Read, wife of the first editor of “Young Folks’ Weekly Budget,” was repeated (it also appeared in No. 1), and it is singular that a repetition should so soon occur.

In No. 30, February 17, 1897, appeared “Vivia” by Mary Agnes Fleming (an American authoress); in 33, “The Greton Rover” by Mrs. Geo. Sheldon.  No. 52 “The Pretty Schemer” by H. Corwin Pierce, and (in No. 42 “St. George; or, The Seven Champions” by A. R. Phillips), also in 52 “The Secret of the Seven Fountains” by William Sharp, in 53, July 28, 1897, “Sevajee the Manhattan Chief” by Alfred R. Phillips, who also contributed “Dandy’s Luck, a tale of Two Christmas Eves,” to the Christmas number for that year.  In 67, vol. 4, November 3, 1897, “The Scarlet Packet; or, The Young Cavalier’s Legacy” by the author of “The Seven Pointed Stars,” which appeared in No. 87 of “Varieties.”  In No. 76 “Jack Noel’s Legacy; or, The Quest of the Big Pearl,” also “Ainsworth’s Gold,” “A Lancaster Story,” by Captain W. S. L’Estrange, “The Young Count, Captain of the King’s Bodyguard” by Alfred R. Phillips, in 93 “Lottie Langdon” by S. Holland, in 105, July 27, 1898, “Watch Hapel” by Mrs. Geo. Sheldon, in 108 “For the Crown; or, The Union of the Roses;” in 121 “The Masked Miner; or, The Ironmaster’s Daughter” by Mabon Day; 123, “Marcello; or, The Young Artist of Venice;” 126, “The Two Keys” by Mrs. George Sheldon (American); 130, vol. 10, January 18, 1899, “Silverspeare; or the Magicians of Arabia” by Walter Villiers; in 132, “The Pearl of the Pacific;” in 147, vol. 12, “A Mystery of Haddon’s Ferry” by Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth (American) and “Raby’s Reward” by Mrs. George Sheldon, and “The Rejected Bride,” sequel to “Haddon’s Ferry.”

In No. 180, January 5, 1900 (vol. 14) appeared part three of “Silverspeare;” in 188 “The Knight of the Hidden Cross” by Sylvanus Cobb, author of “Arncliff Castle,” “The Princess and her Champion.”  In 195 “Gertrude Haddon” sequel to “Haddon’s Ferry” by Mrs. Southworth.  In 197, vol. 16, May 5, “The Princess and Her Champion,” “A Welch Princess” by Hedley Richards.  In 209 “Dashing Charlie and his Double.”  This was the last number dated July 28, when the publication became incorporated with “Nuggets.”  The price throughout was one penny.  Towards the end the position of the Garland stories supplement changed places with the Comic Pictures portion, being placed in the first or front portion of the publication.  Before concluding, I should like to give the names of a few of the authors and writers to the Henderson’s Publication, other than those already mentioned.

Jules Verne, who contributed “The Floating Island, the Paradise of the Pacific” to “Old and Young,” February 8, 1896; W. Murray Graydon, William Black, Robert Louis Stevenson, James Payn, William Sharp, Geo. Manville Fenn, Mrs. Amelia Barr, William Westall, B. M. Clay, St. George Rathbone, L. R. Comfort, and Effie A. Rowlands (who is still writing), Mrs. Harriett Lewis (American) author of “The Hampton Mystery,” etc., Isabella Castella, author of “The Spanish Treasure,” and Captain Fred Whitaker, author of “Maid of Doremny,” etc.

Some hundreds of tales which appeared as serials were afterwards published by Henderson in his Threepenny Story Books, a small size that could be carried in one’s pocket and read whilst travelling in the train, tram, or ‘bus, and some at one shilling in “The Anglo-American Library of Fiction.”

It is remarkable that considering the enormous number sold and put into circulation so very few of these old books are now seen.  They were very popular and commanded a huge sale.

The house of Henderson has now ceased business, the copyrights, etc., having been purchased a few months ago by the Amalgamated Press Ltd.  Thus one more Fleet Street landmark has disappeared.



In my previous notes dealing with this exceedingly and well deservedly popular periodical, which was read by girls as much as by boys, I only touched briefly upon it.  Since my notes appeared in print I have had an opportunity of making a greater research, and this, aided by volumes in my possession, enables me to give more complete details of to the history and progress of the “Budget.”  At the moment it is a most sought-for and valuable old periodical, so a few more remarks concerning it, will perhaps help to revive pleasant memories of the past to many of its old subscribers, readers and admirers.

The earlier volumes were published from Manchester, but when the success of the paper was established, its proprietor, Mr. James Henderson, removed its offices to Red Lion Court, Fleet Street, London.

The full title of the first six volumes was “Our Young Folks’ Weekly Budget” of tales, news, sketches, fun, puzzles, riddles, etc.  “To improve, to instruct, to amuse.”

The first 106 numbers each consisted of 8 pages, 9 in. x 12½ in., and the price was one halfpenny.  Miss S. Holland was the first editor.

The contents of number one, dated Monday, January 2, 1871, comprised short stories, including “In Search of a Giant,” illustrated by W. Thomas, “The Giant Outwitted,” “Alice of the Glen,” “The Boy King and poor Lady Jane” adapted by the editor, “Fred Hinton’s New Year Dinner,” “How the Bear Hunted Me,” and “Little Mischief.”  In No. two, “The Goblin’s Lesson to the Hard-hearted Landlord” (reprinted from “The Weekly Budget” of 1863), “Tales for Toddlers” No. 1, “The Duck and the Chuck.”  In No. 4, “The Golden Basket; or The Fairy’s Gift” by the editor, “Lost and Found” by the editor.  In No. 38, Sept. 16, appeared “The Giants of the Wood,” by Roland Quiz, and this was the beginning of the famous “Giant” stories by that talented author.  Most of the other tales in this volume were by the editor, and some of the excellent illustrations were by C. Morten and W. Thomas.

Vol. 2, No. 54, January 6, 1872, opened with “Sunshine After Rain,” by the editor, and in No. 78, June 22, “Giantland” by Roland Quiz, illustrated by Puck (John Proctor) and later on “Fairydom” by S. Holland, also illustrated by Puck.  In No. 111 “Frank the Fisherboy” by C. E. Pearce; No. 126, “Tim Pippin”; No. 132, “The Morley’s” by the editor, and “Billy Bo’swain” by C. E. Pearce; No. 146, October 11, 1873, “Funnyland; or the Brave Adventures of Young King Cole” by F. C. Thompson; 153, “Bold Robin Hood and His Merry Men” by Will Williams; 157, “King Saveall; or the Four and Twenty Blackbirds and the Song of Sixpence” by Paul Pleasant.

The foregoing comprise the principal serials, tales, and stories in the first three vols.  It would be a rather tedious task to enumerate all the tales, etc., in the succeeding vols., even if space permitted my doing so.  I will therefore mention only the principal ones or those that have become famous and are much sought after.  The volumes were commenced in January and July of each year.  I will therefore give the date in volumes as being more economical of space.  Vol. 4, January 3, 1874, “King Pippin,” “The Golden Island,” by E. C. Pearce, “Young Tom Rodman, His Fears, Fights, Feats, and Flights at Mr. Whackett’s School” by J. A. Maitland, “Ding Dong; or, Cicely Amongst the Beasts,” by Bill Brave, “Fred Hilton, the Soldier-Sailor,” by J. A. Maitland, “Theseus the Young Hero of Attica” by Sylvanus Cobb, jun., “Goldyana, a story of Elves and Fairies” by S. Holland, “Tom Rodman Afloat” by Maitland, “Silverspeare” by Walter Villiers, illustrated by Puck, “The North Pole,” C. E. Pearce, “Dashing Rodman.”

Vol. 5, July 4, “Orlando, the Outcast of Milan,” by author of “Theseus,” “King Pippin in Monster Land,” and with the Christmas number was presented a sheet of portraits of the principals, authors, and artists, including James Henderson, E. C. Pearce, J. A. Maitland, Roland Quiz, Miss S. Holland, Charles A. Read (joint editor with Miss Holland), Walter Villiers, and those clever artists, John Proctor, E. Mott, and W. Boucher, all of whom were subsequently to become famous in their respective spheres of labour, and of whom I will write more later on.

Vol. 6, January 2, 1875, “Ned Stanley,” by Maitland, “Charley Archer’s Luck” by J. S. Linwood, “Silverland; or The Further Fortunes of Silverspeare” by the same author, “Walter the Warrior” by Roland Quiz.

August 14, 1920.

Vol. 7, July 3 began a new heading—“OUR YOUNG FOLKS’ WEELY BUDGET,” a journal for boys and girls of all ages, and the paper was printed on large pages.  The stories were “The Golden Pheasant,” by Roland Quiz, “The Son of a Soldier,” by Victor, “Harold the Brave” by Sylvanus Cobb, jun., “The Young Knight,” and “Ben Brentford.”

Vol. 8, January 1, 1876, “Golden Helen; or, The Further Adventures of King Silverspeare,” by Walter Villiers, “Arthur Merrivale; or, The Jungle Ranges of Julpoor,” by Charles E. Pearce, “Tom Atkins” sequel to “Son of a Soldier” by Captain Victor.  “Ned Stanley at Cambridge,” a sequel to “Rugwall School,” by J. A. Maitland, “Hettie’s History; or, The Verger’s Story” by S. Holland, “Jewel-Land; or, The Marvellous Life, Adventures and Discoveries of the Young Lord Luton and his Sister Lady Lilia” by Uncle George, illustrated by Puck, “Freddy’s Freak” by S. Holland, “Frank Howard, a sea story of Adventure and Daring,” by J. A. Maitland, “The Sleeping Beauty,” “Hop of My Thumb and His Six Brothers,” “Achilles, the Young Hero of Thessaly” by C. A. Read, F.R.His.S.  This thrilling story, which deals with the marvellous exploits and adventures of Homer’s Iliad, in the heroic times of Ancient Greece, met with a great reception.  This volume contained more tales, etc., in proportion to any other, and consequently both it and vol. 9 are exceedingly scarce.  The British Museum does not possess copies, and their collection is also short several numbers in the earlier volumes.  Fortunately, the writer acquired copies, and is able to give these details:

Volume 9, July 2, “Bluebell Vane’s Story” by Lady Byrde, “Odysseus, His Wanderings and Adventures” by C. A. Read, “The Underworld; or, Prince Baldwin’s Marvellous Adventures Inside the Earth, in search of the Princess Rosenblume,” by Llewellyn Longfellow, “Jack the Valiant,” being the new and complete story of “Jack the Giant Killer,” by Roland Quiz, “On the Alert, a voyage round the world” by J. A. Maitland, “Alice Woodley, a Lancashire Story,” by S. Holland, “Hercules, his Labours and Adventures,” by C. A. Read, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

What a wealth of literature these two volumes contain.

Vol. 10, Jan. 6, 1877.  “Prince Goldenwings—His Adventures amongst the Stars,” by Alfred R. Phillips, a brilliant new author who had been added to the staff of writers and whose works soon became famous.  He belonged to a distinctly literary family:  a brother of his was the eminent dramatist, Watts Phillips, whose most famous play, “The Dead Heart,” was revived at the Lyceum theatre in 1894 by Sir Henry Irving, while a sister—Miss Emma Watts Phillips—produced a number of novels which enjoyed a large degree of popularity.  Watts Phillips wrote a number of serials for the LONDON JOURNAL.  Alfred Phillips received his education at a school in France, afterwards passing over with his family to Jersey, where he was the first student enrolled at the opening of Victoria College.  His early ambition was to enter the army, but this being prevented by the death of his father, he became a clerk in a Bank of a relative in the North of England.  Here he indulged in his extreme fondness for the sea, making frequent trips with the fisherfolk.  At the same time he acquired many friends, and in a desultory way took to literature.  After a time he fell a victim to that irresistible glamour which London exercises over literary youth, and by the influence of the great artist, George Cruikshank, and the once well-known Sir Peter Laurie, who were old friends of his family, he obtained an appointment in one of the West End branches of the Union Bank of London.  While there he wrote stories and comediettas with success.  After a time he left the bank and graduated as a professional author.  Several of his plays were acted in the provinces, while his musical absurdity, “Crazed,” may be said almost literally to have been performed everywhere.  His connection with Red Lion House extended over many years, and it was principally as a contributor of serials to “Our Young Folks’ Budget” that he acquired his great reputation.  His first story was “Prince Goldenwings,” illustrated by W. Boucher, and it was followed in succession by the stirring and romantic stories “Kairon” (illustrated by Harry Furniss), “Desdichado,” “Thundersleigh,” “St. George; or, The Seven Champions,” “Don Zalva the Brave” (a most popular story), “Zalva and Leline,” “Glaucus,” and others, the last being “The Young Count,” which was published in 1885, a year or two before his death (the date of which the writer has not been able to establish).

Writing of his absurdities as an author, the editor of the “Garland,” Nov. 28, 1896 (Roland Quiz), said:  “I need not speak at length of Mr. Phillips’ merit as a writer of fiction.  He possessed extraordinary imaginative power, and although he expended his gifts prodigally there was never any visible fluttering in his art.  The scenes in each successive chapter were, if anything, more interesting and dramatic than in the last.  The infinite variety of his resources and the ability with which he maintained the interest of his stories were almost marvellous.  His literary style was simple and direct, yet picturesque and vivid; no wonder, therefore, that Robert Louis Stevenson, a contributor to the ‘Young Folks Budget,’ admired, almost envied his popularity with readers.  But great as that was his reputation was fairly won and adequately maintained.”

His portrait appeared in No. 18 of “The Garland,” Nov. 28, 1896.  It represents a fine head with curly hair parted on the left side, and a nice moustache.  He is dressed in a full-breasted coat, peaked white collar, and striped tie, and is altogether a very striking picture.

I have given this rather lengthy account of him because I find amongst my very large number of correspondents that the greater number are keen admirers and readers of his well-written stories.  In point of fact, his popularity amongst the old readers is not less than that of Roland Quiz, and this is saying a good deal.

The other outstanding serials in Vol. 10 were “Jason; or, The Quest of the Golden Fleece,” another classical tale by C. A. Read.

Vol. 11, No. 342, July 7, 1877, “Tor,” companion to “Jack the Valiant,” by Roland Quiz.  “On Board the Denid,” by J. A. Maitland.

Vol. 12, “Silverstar, the Boy Knight,” “The Dashing Fitzroys,” by J. A. Maitland, “Silverlock; or, The Magic Mantle and the Sword of Herious,” by Uncle Geoffrey.  “Marvel Land” by Miss S. Holland.

In No. 375 appeared a portrait and obituary notice of the death from consumption of Charles Anderson Read, author of “Achilles,” “Odysseus,” “Hercules,” “The Stonecutter of Athens,” “The Spendthrift of Senope,” “Zenxis,” “Pericles,” “The Scourge of Rome,” “A Kingly Queen,” “The Austral King,” “Jason,” etc., etc. (which appeared in vols. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12).  He died on the evening of Wednesday, January 23, 1878.  This talented classical author, or rather writer of classical tales and stories, who had a very large number of admirers, many of whom are still keen to obtain copies of the volumes containing his works, was born near Sligo, Ireland, on November 9, 1841.  He was then only about 37 years old at the time of his death.  About a year previous to the sad event he took a voyage to Australia in the hope of prolonging his life, and derived some relief from his malady by the change, but upon his return to England he was stricken again and never recovered.  His loss was deeply felt by Mr. James Henderson.  The whole of the staff, and a large following of subscribers and readers of “The Young Folks’ Weekly Budget,” to whom he had endeared himself by his gentleness and kindness of nature, and his clever writings, which rank next to those of Alfred R. Phillips and Roland Quiz in popularity and deep interest.

His widow took his place upon the staff of the paper, and contributed many tales and stories of deep interest.

All Mr. Read’s contributions were subsequently reprinted in the later volumes, in point of fact I may here say that many of the other popular stories that appeared in the early volumes as enumerated, were afterwards reprinted, intermixed with new stories by other authors, and it was doubtless through these means that “The Young Folks’ Weekly Budget” and “Young Folks’ Paper” continued to be popular for so many years, but it was a little disappointing to new subscribers and readers of the later volumes to be told that the same tales and stories had appeared several years previously.

Volume 13, No. 396, July 6, 1878, “Miss Gwennie,” by Ladye Byrde, “Alice and Eva,” by Mrs. C. A. Read, “Kairon, the Young Gladiator; or The Frictions of the Blue and Green,” by Alfred R. Phillips, illustrated by “B.E.E.,” “Frank the Fisherboy,” “Covinda, the Tiger Tamer,” by Captain Fred Whittaker.

Volume 14, January 4, 1879, “Jack the Rascal, or The Boy with his Head Turned the Wrong Way,” by George Manville Fenn, “Jack Parton” being part 3 of “Jack the Rascal,” “Lillian Lee.”

Volume 15, No. 448, July 5, 1879.  With this volume and number the title was altered from THE YOUNG FOLKS’ WEEKLY BUDGET (which commenced with vol. 8) to YOUNG FOLKS, the size of the sheets being 9½ in. x 14 in.  The volume opened with “Desdichado; or a Fight for Fame,” by Alfred R. Phillips, considered by many admirers to be one of the best works of this author.

I may mention here that most of the tales and stories already enumerated, and those to follow, ran over the volumes they commenced in, and to secure the whole of them one must obtain the succeeding volume, although in some cases there is perhaps only one or two chapters carried over.

The other serials of note in volume 15 are “The Lily of Tregarn,” sequel to “Miss Gwennie,” “Dick Harford,” by Cyril Hathway, “Guy’s Fortune” by the author of “Orlando,” etc., and “Thundersleigh; or The Knight’s Quest,” sequel to “Desdichado” by Alfred R. Phillips, a rather lengthy tale which ends in volume 17.

August 21, 1920.

Volume 16, December 20, 1879.  “Beatrix,” by Sara Dunn, “Tom Rodman, Junior; or a Chip of the Old Block,” part 1.  His Schooldays, by J. A. Maitland.

With Vol. 17, No. 500, July 3, 1880, the sheets were enlarged to the unusual size of 11½ in. x 16½ in., and only eight pages to each number.  The writer attributes the great scarcity of copies of the paper of those days to the fact of the largeness of the sheets.  They could not be handled nor read with the same ease and freedom of the quarto sheets, consequently they became torn and soiled by being folded up, and little care was apparently taken to preserve them.  The numbers and volumes of this size, particularly those containing the serials by Alfred R. Phillips, are the most scarce of the entire publication.

The other tales in volume 17 were “Saint George; or, The Seven Champions” by Alfred R. Phillips, also “Ralpho, the Mysterious; or, The Young Swordsman of Warsaw,” by the same author, which was about the longest he wrote.  This tale runs to 124 chapters, and ends in volume 19.  The author uses his pen name of “Anthony Pastor” with this tale, which has led a good many readers to think it was not written by Mr. Phillips, but the tale in book form bears his name.  Mrs. C. A. Read contributes “Milly Dawson” and “Silvermere,” and Edward Greeye “The Lowell Boys; or a Trip to Tokio” to this volume.

Volume 18, January 8, 1881. “Nestor, the Golden Knight,” by author of “Orlando,” etc., “Who was Paul Grayson?” (no author), “The Glen Farm,” by W. Harper, “Bertram the Nameless” (no author), “White Rudolf and Red Ensign,” by Captain Fred Whittaker.

Volume 19, July 2, 1881.  “Don Zalva the Brave, or The Fortune Favoured Young Knight of Andalusia,” by Alfred R. Phillips, “Dorothy Dedenham,” by Mrs. C. A. Read, “Rob and Bob,” “Phil D’Arcy,” by Captain F. Whittaker, “Glenalan the Noble Middy,” by Z. K. Judkins, “Sir Claude the Conqueror,” by Walter Villiers, “Treasure Island,” by Captain North (Robert Louis Stevenson), “Fergus the Foundling,” by author of “Theseus,” etc.

Volume 20, January 7, 1882, “Phyllis and Corydon,” by Mrs. C. A. Read, “Cruise of the Vidette,” “Round the World,” by Captain F. Whittaker, “Wyvelhoe,” by George Manville Fenn, “The Pearl of the Pacific,” “Zalva and Selim, or, The Two Knights of Andalusia,” a sequel to “Don Zalva the Brave,” by Alfred R. Phillips.

Volume 21, July 1, 1882, “Harry Hairbrain,” by C. E. Pearce, “Olaf the Wanderer” by William Jameson, “Cora the Flower of Finlieve,” by Mrs. C. A. Read.

Volume 22, No. 631, January 6th, 1883, “Glaucus, a Romance of Rome,” by Alfred R. Phillips, “Seeking His Fortune,” “Lincoln Lyle, or The Sailor Knight,” “The Cruise of the Munchausen,” by C. E. Pearce, “Hazlehurst:  or Rose Rosslyn’s Reward,” by Miss Holland, “Jim Banks; or, The Circus Clown’s Protege,” by W. A. Morris, “The Black Arrow; a Tale of Tunstall Abbey,” by Captain George North, pen name of Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by J. Swain, “Sevajee the Mahratta Chief,” by Alfred R. Phillips.

Volume 23, No. 657, July 7, 1883, “Lyon Hart; or Adrift in the World,” by Oliver Optic, “The Black Bothy,” by William Black, “The Golden Bangles,” by Mrs. C. A. Read, and “The Knight of the Lily and the Rose,” by Alfred R. Phillips, “Whip King Joe,” no author.

Volume 24, January 5, 1884, “The Lost City,” “Haco the Dreamer” by William Sime, “Harry Redfern” (no author), “The Scarlet Packet; or The Young Cavalier’s Legacy,” “Joe Manley’s Rise in Life,” by Captain Fred Whittaker, “Doctor Diction’s Daughters,” by Mrs. C. A. Read.

Volume 25, No. 709, July 8, 1884, “The Hovellers of Deal,” by Edward Fitzgibbon, “The Seven Pointed Star,” by Arthur James Colynski, “Our Jack, his Fortunes and Misfortunes in his way through the World,” by Ernest Stavely, “Stella; or Uncle Jacob’s Heiress,” “Old London, a Story of the Maidens and Gallants of the Period” by Mrs. C. A. Read, “Anselm, the Noble Blacksmith” by Fred Myron Colby, “Theseus, The Young Hero of Attica” (reprinted), “The Harlands of Grimthorpe,” “The Young Count, Captain of the King’s Body Guard,” by Alfred R. Phillips, “The Young Gold Hunter” by Walter A. Morris, “The Morleys; or The Orphans of Woodleigh Grange,” a story of real life by Miss S. Holland.

Volume 26, No. 735, January 3, 1885.  Title changed to THE YOUNG FOLKS’ PAPER and continued so to the end, “Beyond the Rockies,” sequel to “The Young Gold Hunters,” “Dick Halibut’s Adventures,” by C. E. Pearce, “The Dashing Fitzroys” (reprinted), “The New River,” E. Fitzgibbon, “Who am I?” Mr. C. A. Read, “Jack Parton the Rascal” (reprinted), “Thorbrand,” by Sylvanus Cobb, “Under the Tamrack” by C. S. Brooke.  The last three serials appeared in vol. 27, June 20, 1885, together with “Odysseus” (reprinted), and “The Black Friar,” M. S. Cobb.

The immense interest aroused by Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island:  or, the Mutiny of the Hispaniola,” in Vols. 19 and 20, created a demand for similar stories, with the result that quite a crop of “Treasure Stories” appeared, one of the most popular and of absorbing interest being “The Treasure Seekers; or The Double Ciphis,” by James Otis, which appeared in No. 787 (Christmas number), Dec. 21, 1885, and ended at chapter 30, “The Crypt-ogram” in No. 798, vol. 28.

In the same number (787) appeared the opening chapter of “The Blue Coracle; or A Hundred Years Ago,” by Mrs. C. A. Read, one of the best tales written by that talented lady.

With the Christmas number, 787, Dec. 21, was presented a special portrait supplement of the chief competitors in THE LITERARY OLYMPIC AND TOURNAMENT of YOUNG FOLKS’ PAPER.  It may interest many people to know who the competitors were; several of them have risen to fame in the literary and artistic world, and at all events the list may help to revive happy memories and recall to mind some old friends and fellow subscribers and readers.

Fred Wallis (London), Sam Wood (Barnsley), Arthur E. Waite (Bayswater).  (This gentleman has become famous in the literary world, and has over forty-five records under his name in the catalogues of the British Museum).  Marion L. Taylor (Birkenhead), Lottie W. (Brighton), David Gow (London), Fred G. Webb (London), John C. Collins (London), Frank J. Hodges (Greenwich), J. Weber Baker, “ERNE. S. LEIGH,” “FREE LANCE,” Edith Kate Randle (Fulham), Mabel A. Clinton, “QUEENIE” (Chester), Henry W. Boyd (Birmingham), Robert L. Jefferson (London), Edward T. Wray (Romford), Thomas Royston (Sheffield), William Pickering (Priestfield), Edward Blair (Liverpool), (a well known old boy), Jennie E. Atkins (London), Kate F. Royston (Sheffield), Gerald Fitzgerald (Dungraven), R. W. Dye (South Tottenham), Richard C. Loveless, Juan C. Drenon (London), J. E. Nicholl (Milton), E. C. Bullock, “AGONISTER” (Carnarvon), Annie Smith (Gresley), Annie A. Royston (Sheffield), Arthur Ambuley, John Stock, George H. Perry (Plaistow), Bruce Drysdale Milner (Glasgow), T. Pinder, “RED ROSE,” (Leeds), Mark L. Raw (Bradford), Jacob Franklin (Dublin), Bernard De Bear (London), James Hurne, “PHILO,” Arthur Bennett (Warrington), S. Franklin (Dublin).

Vol. 28, No. 783, (Jan. 2. 1886), “The Banks of the Greta,” by Capt. W. D. L’Estrange, “Joe the Call Boy,” by W. A. Morris, “Gentle Deeds; or, from Serfdom to Knighthood,” by Capt. Fred Whittaker.  No. 805, (May 1) is especially noteworthy, for in that issue began a story entitled “Kidnapped; or, the Lad with the Silver Button,” being the memoirs of the Adventures of David Balfour, 1751, by Robert Louis Stevenson, who afterwards became famous.  The story is splendidly illustrated by W. Boucher, and ended with Chapter 30, No. 818, Vol. 29, July 31, 1886.  Mention may be made here that the size of the sheets was now 11¼ in. x 15¼ in., and there were 16 pages to each number.

Vol. 29, July 3.  “Two Keys,” by Mrs. Sheldon, “Ernest Darcourt,” by F. Whittaker, “The Scholar of Silverscar,” by J. Payn, “The Champneys,” by W. D. L’Estrange, “Orianna or the Castle of Gold,” by Sidney Maurice, “Henry of Richmond; or, the Union of the Roses,” by H. Clinton; a fine historical tale, illustrated by W. Boucher.  In point of fact the writer may remark here that nearly all the illustrations at this period at any rate, all those of the leading and chief serials—were by W. Boucher.  “Jack Noel’s Legacy; or, the Quest of the Big Pearl,” by William Sharp.

Vol. 29 is one of the most important of the series of “Young Folks’ Paper,” inasmuch as it contains in No. 837, Dec. 11, the introduction to a series of articles or essays, the author of which is stated to be Alfred C. Harmsworth (the present Lord Northcliffe), entitled “WHAT SHALL I BE?”  The summary of the first article includes the following “points.”—The Selection of a Calling a difficult matter—Premium for Apprenticeship—Security—Bonuses—Advertising for Situations—Testimonials—Letter replying to Advertisements—A Few Cautions—Employment Agencies—Shorthand Situations—Under Government—An explanatory notice states:  “This interesting series of articles will contain information respecting all branches of the Civil Service, and particulars of every known trade, business, occupation or profession with a chapter on where to emigrate.  The articles numbered in all forty-nine, and ended in No. 894, Vol. 32, Jan 14, 1888.

During this period Alfred Harmsworth was a free lance journalist, and contributed (on approval) articles to a number of journals, including “Tit-Bits.”  In April, 1888 he brought out the first number (actually No. 4, as there were no Nos. 1, 2 & 3 published ) of “Answers.”  As I am only dealing in this article with “Young Folks’ Paper,” there is no need to refer further to this particular author.  He was about twenty-three years of age when he contributed the articles to “Young Folks’ Paper,” and was then a great friend of Mr. Max Pemberton (“Mr. Answers” of later years.”)

August 28, 1920.

Vol. 30, No. 840, January 1, 1887.  “The Young Corsair,” by W. A. Morris, “The Knight of the Hidden Cross,” an old-time story of “The Robbers of the Rhine,” by the author of “The Black Friar,” etc., “Buffalo Bill’s First Trail; or, Will Cody the Pony Express Rider,” adapted for “Young Folks’ Paper” by Captain W. D. L’Estrange, “The Little Crusoes of Silver Island,” by Louis Herbert, “Theodora; or Queen Maqueda’s Rock” by Mrs. C. A. Read, “Rugby’s Reward,” “A Queer Race” from the story of “A Hidden Island,” by W. Westall.

Vol. 31, July 2, “Sky High; or The Strange Adventures of Cosma Sumerville,” by Major Victor, weirdly illustrated, “Virgin’s Inheritance,” by Mrs. Sheldon, “Rucks Hall,” an Irish romance, by Mrs. C. A. Read, “The Missing Star,” by H. Clinton, “Under the Banner of St. James,” a romance of the discovery of the Pacific, by William Sharp.  With the Christmas number was presented a full-page portrait in colours of Mr. James Henderson, founder, proprietor and publisher of “The Weekly Budget,” “South London Press,” “Young Folks’ Paper,” “Funny Folks,” “Pictorial News,” and “Scraps,” inscribed “With my best wishes,” my Christmas card.

Vol. 32, No. 873, January 7, 1888, “The Cruise of the Grampus,” by Ned Buntline, “The Maid of Domrency,” a romance of the famous Jeanne d’Arc, by Captain Fred Whittaker, “Geoffrey’s Victory,” by Mrs. Sheldon, “The Discovery of the Mountain Kingdom,” by D. Lawson Johnstone, in two parts.

In Number 908, April 21, a second series of articles by Alfred C. Harmsworth appeared, under the heading of “THE SECRET OF SUCCESS,” as revealed in the lives of those who have won it.  These articles numbered twenty-seven, the last one appearing in Number 961, vol. 34, April 27, 1889.  In the compilation of these articles the author is said to have been assisted by a Mrs. Stanton, who collaborated with him later in a booklet, entitled “A Thousand Ways to Earn a Living.”

In Number 916, Mr. Arthur E. Waite contributes a very interesting tale entitled “A Parable from Fairyland.”

Vol. 33, July 7, 1888, “Robert Coverdale,” by Horatio Alger, Junior, “The Secret of the Seven Fountains; or the Lost Island,” by William Sharp, “A Haunted Man; or The Heart of the Andes,” by W. Westall, author of “The Phantom City,” etc., “Noel Nameless; or The Waif of the Trinity Guild,” an English story of Court and Sea at the time of the Restoration, by author of “The Princess and her Champions,” etc., “Don Garnet’s Luck,” by author of “Rob and Bob,” “Witch Hazell; or The Secret of the Locket,” by Mrs. George Sheldon, “Walrig, the Child of the Eagle’s Nest,” by author of “Noel the Nameless,” etc., “Ingomar; or The Triumph of Love,” “The Abroxas Stone; or Young Days in Canada.”

Vol. 34, Number 945, January 5, 1899.  “Eldrie’s Legacy,” by Mrs. Sheldon, “The Northern Paradise;” a narrative of discovery and adventures around the Pole, by D. Lawson Johnstone, “Giantland,” reprinted, “Highfield Court,” a North Cheshire story by Captain W. D. L’Estrange.

In Number 957, March 30, appeared the following announcement:—

“We have to announce, with profound regret, the death of Miss S. Holland.  Younger readers will not be so familiar with her signature as some of our older ones, for latterly illness had prevented her from contributing quite so frequently to ‘Young Folks’ Paper’ as in times past.  Up to the last, however, her attachment to our journal was as strong and fervent as on the day when she first contributed to its columns.  She wrote for the first number, and stood for some time at the helm as Editor.  In this capacity she had the happy knack of pleasantly chatting with her large circle of readers, and succeeded in interesting herself in their little grievances, troubles, or ambitions.  It was in the light of a family that she regarded this extensive and continually expanding circle, and she therefore approached her readers on that homely side which is the most sensitive to appeal.  This sympathetic touch—the touch of nature which makes the whole world kin—was not limited to the circle of her readers.  She had the same kindly feeling for all those with whom she came in contact.  She was a staunch friend, a loyal colleague, an earnest worker.  What better epitaph could one wish when the turmoil of life is ended?  Miss Holland wrote several serials, the most successful of which were ‘Fairydom,’ ‘Lottie Langdon,’ ‘Hettie’s History,’ ‘The Morleys,’ and ‘Florrie’s Fortunes.’  In addition to these a number of short stories, essays, and articles which have appeared in our columns were from her pen.  Miss Holland was also an accomplished musician being a member of the Royal Academy of Music.  One of her most successful compositions was her ‘Fairydom Gavotte,’ and the early Christmas Numbers of ‘Young Folks’ Paper’ contained many charming musical charades, specially thought out and written for the Christmas amusement of our readers.”

Miss S. Holland died at Nottingham.  The actual date is not recorded.

Vol. 35, 1889, “Marcello, or the Young Artist of Venice,” by Sylvanus Cobb, Junior, author of “Orlando, the Outcast of Milan,” “The Knight of the Hidden Cross,” etc., etc.  “The ‘Yacht Spray,’ a story of New Jersey,” by Charles H. Heustin, “Our Fellows at Saint Mark’s,” by Walter C. Rhodes, “Richard Tregellas,” a memoir of his adventures in the West Indies, in the year of grace 1781, by D. Lawson Johnstone, “The Lighthouse Keeper, or the Storm Children,” by author of “Marcello,” etc., “Tim Pippin,” a companion story to “Giantland” reprinted, “Decoyed, a story of the Wild Tribes of India,” by J. H. Hutchinson.

Vol. 36, No. 997, January 4, 1890, “The Ordeal of Basil Hope, being the story of his Strange Adventures in the two Canadas in the time of the Great War between France and England,” by William Sharp, exceedingly well illustrated by W. Boucher, “Brownie Douglas,” by Mrs. Sheldon, “Stonio, the Stone Cutter, a story of Lisbon and the Great Earthquake,” by William Henry Richy, “The Household of the McNeil,” by Amelia E. Barr, “Grayson,” sequel to “Our Fellows at St. Mark’s,” “Tom Rodman, His Eventful Career at School and Afloat,” by J. A. Maitland (reprinted but title or heading somewhat altered to the original), “King Pippin,” a sequel story to “Tim Pippin” (reprinted), “In Exile, or a Young Soldier of Fortune,” by D. Lawson Johnstone.

Vol. 37, July 5, 1890, “Tom Rodman, part 2, Afloat,” “The Young Knight of Navarre,” by Author of “Marcello,” etc., “Lieutenant Tom Rodman,” part 3 of the series, “Frank, the Fisherboy” (reprinted), “Sister Angela, or Wedded by Fate,” by Mrs. Sheldon, “Mont Salvage, or the Twin Princesses,” by S. Blundy, “The Romance of a Bunch of Keys,” by Warden Ellerslie, “King Pippin, his wonderful adventures in Monsterland.”

Vol. 38, No. 1049, January 3, 1891, “Commander Tom Rodman,” ending in “Captain Tom Rodman,” in No. 1051, “Under a Cloud,” by Jean Kate Ludlum, “Billy Boswain,” by C. E. Pearce, author of “Frank, the Fisherboy,” etc. (reprinted), “A Son of Old Hurry,” by A. W. Fourgie, “The Sefton Girls,” by Mrs. C. A. Read, “The Secret of the Hidden Room,” by Professor W. H. Peck.  The Vol. ends with Number 1074, June 27, 1891, and practically completes the entire series of “Young Folks Paper.”

The writer omitted to mention in the proper place that “Achilles, the Young Hero of Thersaby,” a story from the classics, by C. A. Read, reprinted from the “Young Folks” of nine years ago by universal desire, appeared in Number 746, Vol. 26, March 21, 1885, and ended at Chapter 30, Number 758, same Vol., June 13, 1885, and its sequel, “Odysseus, his wanderings and adventures,” by the same author was reprinted in Number 783, Vol. 27, December 5, 1885, and ended at Chapter 31, in issue of March 6, 1886.  Mr. Read’s other tales, “Hercules,” “Jason,” &c., were not reprinted in “Young Folks.”  The illustrations to Mr. Read’s tales are of a peculiar character, quite different to any others in the Periodical, and bear an engraver’s name, “C. Birlling.”  They are of a purely classical character.

Judging by the many enquiries the writer has received, Mr. Read’s works were exceedingly popular.

There is no doubt that it was in a great measure the work of the artists who illustrated the tales that helped to make “Young Folks Paper” so popular, especially in the last 12 or 15 volumes.  No matter how indifferent the plots or incidents the tales contained, the illustrations gave them life, fire and vigour.  The artists appeared to have the full grip of the stories, and exercised their skill to the fullest extent, so much that without reading the tales one could follow them by studying the illustrations.  A few words concerning the artists will not be out of place.

In Number One of “The Garland,” June 24, 1896, appear the following in the “Editor’s Gossip.”


Mr. W. Boucher.

“We said the authors were distinguished writers, which is quite true, but we did no more than mention the name of the celebrated artist, W. Boucher, the illustrator of ‘A Soldier of the Legion,’ etc.  Mr. Boucher has achieved a high reputation in several branches of Art.  He is perhaps best known as an Etcher, and as a graceful and spirited book illustrator.  ‘Illustrated by W. Boucher,’ is a familiar line on the books of several of the best-known publishing firms and sets the seal upon their value.

“His connection with the Red Lion House extended to considerably over twenty years.  As long ago as 1874 he illustrated ‘The Forest Home’ on its first appearance in ‘The Young Folks’ Weekly Budget,’ and this was the first of a series which included most if not all the stories appearing in that periodical and ‘Young Folks’ of Roland Quiz, Alfred R. Phillips, Captain J. A. Maitland, Captain Fred Whittaker, Sylvanus Cobb, A. J. Colynski, W. Westall, William Sharp, Robert Louis Stevenson, F. De Boisgobsy, David Lawson Johnstone, etc., etc.

September 4, 1920.

“It is interesting to note that the late R. L. Stevenson had a very high opinion of Mr. Boucher’s artistic merits, and as the artist illustrated the novelist’s ‘Kidnapped,’ and ‘The Black Arrow,’ he had every opportunity of forming a sound judgment.

“It may also be within the memory or many of our readers that Mr. Boucher was for some years cartoonist to ‘Judy,’ while everyone with any pretension to artistic knowledge is aware that he has achieved fame as the etcher of the pictures of ‘Dendy Sadler.’

“His mastery of Georgian costume, and character was magnificent.  He was as prolific as he was excellent.  His work was all line-drawing, bold, clear, unerring.

“As will be seen from his portrait (published with this notice), Mr. Boucher is in the prime of his life, and there is every chance of his continuing in the first rank of living artists for many years to come.”

The writer has not been able to trace his subsequent career, nor the date of his death.

John Proctor (Puck) became a political cartoonist, working profusely for “Judy” and later “Fun,” and a capable critic expressed his opinion that Proctor’s work was superior to Tenniel’s, and Messrs. Henderson judged aright in allotting to him the front page of “The Young Folks’ Weekly Budget.”  There does not appear to be any reference made to E. Mott, another fine illustrator, much of whose work can be seen in the early volumes of “Young Folks’ Budget.”

Of the authors, mention has already been made of Alfred R. Phillips, and Mr. Richard Quittenton (“Roland Quiz”), who was for 42 years Editor of “The Weekly Budget.”  He died at the age of 80 at Hillside, South Benfleet, Essex, in 1914.  He was twice married, and had 21 children.  He may be said to have died in harness writing tales, for on the Sunday night previous to Thursday, January 22, the date of his death, he had just completed the introduction to a new story, while earlier in the afternoon he had read extracts from Burns’ and Shakespeare’s works to his family.  He was a personal friend of Dickens and Stevenson, and was buried at Sutton Cemetery, Southend-on-Sea.

David Lawson Johnston was born at Brechin in Forfarshire, sometime around the early seventies, and was educated at the Brechin Grammar School, and Edinburgh University.  His bent was naturally towards literature, and at a very early age he began to contribute short stories to “The Young Folks’ Paper.”  His first serial story was “The Discovery of the Mountain Kingdom,” which appeared in vols. 32, 33, 1888, when he was about 17 or 18 years of age.  He maintained his connection with Red Lion House for many years.  He resided at Edinburgh, and, in addition to his literary work, he filled the position of Assistant Editor to “Chamber’s Journal.”  A serial from his pen appeared in that famous old miscellany in 1896.

Seward W. Hopkins was an American novelist.  There does not appear to be any record of Sylvanus Cobb, writer of fine historical tales, nor of Walter Villiers.


Mr. Edward Blair, of Liverpool, whose portrait appeared in the Literary Olympic and Tournament Portrait Supplement in vol. 27, Christmas number, 1885, sends the following letter and contribution:—

16, Derbybrook Lane,

West Derby,



Dear. Mr. Jay.—Hope this will suit you.  I have had to write it very rapidly, for I am very busy.  I have just finished writing my first attempt at a long serial, 32 chapters.  I have also written a short story called “The Treasure of the Gun Brig Octopus.”  What their fate will be of course I know not; anyway, you may guess that doing this in spare time doesn’t leave me much margin for myself, but I feel I must write, market or no market.  It’s life to me now.

Yours sincerely,


Excuse haste, and horrid handwriting.


(By Edward Blair).

“Young Folks’ Paper”!  What a flood of recollections the dear old name recalls.  Seated here in my coy room surrounded by shelves full of my favourite books, the walls covered with my favourite engravings, each one hallowed with some memory or other, one is apt to forget the lapse of time.  Outside my window the clack and whirr of the machine cutting the hay in the field in front of my door, and the whoa! tchek, tcheck, of the driver, comes soothingly to my ear as I take up my pen to write these few recollections of the good old paper for Mr. Jay’s interesting series of articles.  A big flock of pigeons are restlessly wheeling over the forest of trees on the Derby Estate, as they did on that morning shortly after the outbreak of the war when I routed out Captain H—— in the village, and brought him to his door in dressing gown and slippers to offer my services for whatever was going, but though I had the honour to wear the King’s uniform, I didn’t get to France.  It was as well for me, perhaps, but anyway it has brought me the friendship of a fine set of fellows, whom I am proud to have known and have had the honour of being associated with.

“But what has this to do with ‘Y.F.P.’?” as we used to lovingly call it, some may ask, and I answer, “Nothing, only the room I have introduced you to is a room full of memories, and this recollection is one of them.”  There is a long row of volumes, ponderous and heavy, bound in half green calf, in a glass case near to my hand.  To glance at them casually you would take them for retired ledgers or journals.  They are not; they are the weekly numbers of “Y.F.P,” bound in single volumes, and to me they are fairyland.  Only, fairyland realized.  They cover the period when that brilliant poet and author, William Sharp (Fiona Macleod) edited it, and did so much to encourage and hearten young authors of any talent to try their budding powers.  Under him Robert Louis Stevenson enriched its pages with “Kidnapped,” excellently illustrated by W. Boucher, whose pleasant face in the 1874 supplement looks down at me from its frame as I write.

William Westall also supplied two excellent serials:  “A Queer Race” and “The Hunted Man; or the Heart of the Andes.”  Good old George Manville Fenn gave us “Iron Trials” and “Jack Parton,” James Payn gave us “The Scholar of Silverscar,” and David Lawson Johnstone, “Richard Tregallas,” etc:  names to conjure with, eh?

Then our brilliant master himself supplied “Jack Noel’s Legacy,” “The Mystery of the Seven Fountains,” “Under the Banner of St. James,” a fine story this.  Both it and “The Hunted Man” had some plates by W. Boucher, which I consider works of art.  There was also a fine Canadian story, and one dealing with the Norsemen, supplied by Mr. Sharp.  This last was not, to my mind, quite up to his brilliant style:  he died shortly afterwards.

Robert Leighton also wrote some excellent stories at this period, “The Abrara’s Stone,” etc.  Captain Fred Whittaker gave us “The Maid of Domrency,” and “Ernest Darcourt,” two excellent creations enriched by Boucher’s pencil.

But to enumerate all the excellent men and women who contributed to the pages at this period would require a whole magazine, but I certainly must mention the gifted Mrs. C. A. Read, author of “Doctor Leighton’s Daughter,” “Tuck’s Hall,” and the series of charming Irish stories, “When Malachi wore the Collar of Gold,” etc.; also Mrs. Georgie Sheldon, creator of “Gertrude Wynn.”  This lady—she was an American, I believe—gave very many excellent serials to our pages.  This was the high-water mark of the good old paper, and the volumes of this period should be very valuable, for they contained the work of the best brains in the Kingdom.

Harmsworth wrote a series of articles “On the Choice of a Profession,” and Max Pemberton some on “Athletics,” “Fencing,” and a variety of themes; he hadn’t thought of “Iron Pirates” in those days.  E. W. Harnung (the “Raffles” man) made his debut with one or two short tales, good ones; and Richard Le Gallien wrote verse, top left hand corner.  And that brings me to “The Literary Olympic” and “Tournament,” names very fragrant to many.  These departments comprised what I may term the cadet company of the “Y.F.P.” Battalion.

First was Queenie (Mabel A. Clinton, Chester), whose charming little stories of child life were favourites with all of us, I think.  Then came Marion Taylor, “The Queen of the Tournament,” as she was unanimously proclaimed.  A title bestowed upon her for her excellent poetical gifts.  She married on of the most brilliant of the little circle, and I see now by recent publication that there is a daughter wielding a pen in a manner even more charming than our undisputed Queen.  Marie Connor was another favourite, who later budded out into Marie Connor Leighton, and startled the world with detective stories, though I have not had the pleasure of perusing any of them.

Miss Ailsa Craig, daughter of the famous actress, Miss Ellen Terry, also contributed some pretty pen pictures, as might be expected from one so artistically connected.  These are but a very few of the ladies; there were many more equally as gifted.

Amongst the gentlemen were Fred Coulson, whose portrait is before me as I write, and A. St. J. Adcock.  Mr. Coulson took himself very seriously in those days, judging by some excellent verses of his I have just been reading.

Mr. Adcock and Mr. Coulson often ran in harness together, and an excellent couple they made.  I wonder if now they are at the summit of the ladder they ever look back upon those days?

There was also David Gow.  Personally, Mr. Gow was my favourite, though I have never come across any of his work since those days.  He always charmed me, and, looking over his verses since then I have seen no reason for changing that feeling.  There were many more I could mention.  Mr. Arthur E. Waite, whose charming little compilation, “Elfin Music,” Canterbury Poet series, is a pleasant memory to me.  He also wrote a book of verse, “Israfel,” which was very highly spoken of, but I never managed to get hold of it.  Then there was “Erne S. Leigh,” J. Webber Baker, who died very young.  J. Archer Bellchambers, Juan C. Drenor, and Maryweather, who wrote “The Angels’ Dream,” with a haunting melody in it reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe.


September 11, 1920.

Mr. William Hellier, of Manchester, contributes the following:—


(By William Hellier).

In the list of practically forgotten writers and artists who worked for the boys’ publications of the seventies and eighties of  the last century, several names occur which deserve to be remembered.

Pride of place, perhaps, belongs to Richard Quittenton, whose wonderfully-imagined “Giant Land” series ran through the early volumes of the late Mr. James Henderson’s famous “Young Folks’ Weekly Budget,” under his pen name of “Roland Quiz.”  A native of Lancaster, he was associated with Mr. Henderson right from the inception of the “Weekly Budget” at Manchester in 1860.  In an interview Mr. Quittenton once explained how he came to write his famous story.  “I had written a short giant story for ‘Young Folks’ Budget,’” he said, “and this story caught the fancy of a youthful reader, who communicated his appreciation of it to Mr. Henderson.  It struck Mr. Henderson that a serial story on similar lines would be interesting to the readers of ‘Young Folks,’ and so I was commissioned to tell my tale.”

A wonderfully busy penman, “Roland Quiz,” [I think there is some type missing here] 40 years, found time to write many long stories which achieved vast popularity during their progress as serials in the Red Lion House publications.  To mention a few titles:  “Walter the Warrior,” “The Sea Sprite,” “Belle Vue,” “The Divorced Queen,” “Felix the Hunchback,” and last, but by no means least, “Jack the Valiant,” and its sequel, “Tor.”

Another serial writer for “Young Folks’ Budget,” whose stories of sea life and adventure were far ahead of the trash so often produced for the youth of those days was J. A. Maitland.  Educated at Rugby School, he entered the Royal Navy as a midshipman and left the service as a lieutenant, tired of the monotonous life of a naval officer during the long years of peace-time service.  Emigrating to the United States he took up journalism and became editor of a newspaper in South Carolina.  When the great quarrel between North and South came to an open rupture, Maitland took sides with the South, and attained staff rank, distinguishing himself on the field on many occasions.  Upon General Lee’s surrender, and the total loss of the Confederate cause, Maitland returned to his native land, and his first long story, “Tom Rodman,” was accepted by Mr. Henderson, always ready to encourage a new writer.  Other stories followed in quick succession:  “Frank Howard,” “On the Alert,” “Ned Stanley,” and “Tom Rodman, Junior.”  When Captain Maitland died some thirty years ago he left a distinct blank in the ranks of those writers who found their most appreciative audience amongst the younger (and not less critical) members of the reading public.

Another clever writer, who endeavoured, and with success, to retell the old stories from Greek mythology in a style which made them vastly interesting to young people, was Charles Anderson Read, an Irishman, born in Sligo in 1841.  For the Red Lion House publications he penned “Jason,” “Achilles,” “Hercules,” and “Odysseus,” tales in which the classical heroes lived again; and coming to more recent times, “Savorneen Dheelish” and “Aileen Aroon” dealt with the Ireland he knew and loved so well.  He died in 1878, leaving his magnum opus, “The Cabinet of Irish Literature,” uncompleted, the fourth and last volume being issued afterwards under the editorship of his wife and Mr. T. P. O’Connor.



Being Vol. 39, “Young Folks,” No. 1075, 1891, contains the following serials:  “A Soldier of the Legion,” “Nameless Dell,” “On the Cliffs by the Sea,” “Ned Stanley,” (reprinted),  “The Scapegrace,” “Vasco, the Cooper,” (reprinted),  “Billy Bo’swain,” (reprinted).

Vol. 40, No. 1101, January 2nd, 1892, “Paul Fontenay, the Swordsman,” by F. Du Boisgoby, “The Desert Ship,” by J. B. Burton, “Ned Stanley at Cambridge” (reprinted), “Rising to Honour,” by Mrs. Sheldon, “A Soldier of the Legion,” Part 2, by David Lawson Johnston.

Vol. 41, No. 1127, June 2, 1892, “Marguerite’s Heritage,” by Mrs. Sheldon, “The King of Honey Island,” by Maurice Thompson, “The Hidden Treasure of the Mendoza,” by Isobel Castala (a story of Love and the Love of Gold).

Vol. 42,  No. 1154, January 2, 1893.  “The last of the Vikings,” by William Sharp, “A Mystery at Haddon’s Ferry,” by Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth, “The Young Squire of Steyne,” by Charles Edwards, “The Rejected Bride,” by Mrs. Southworth.

Vol. 43, No. 1179, July 1, 1893.  Title altered to “Old and Young—The Variety Journal.”  “The Missing Heir of Callonby,” (Nora), by Mrs. Sheldon, “Gertrude Haddon” (Mrs. Southworth), “Grazia’s Mistake” (Sheldon), “Girls of a Feather,” by Amelia E. Barr.

Vol. 44, No. 1206, January 6, 1894.  “The Baronet’s Love,” “Breta’s Double,” by Helen V. Greyson, “Dorothy’s Jewels,” by Mrs. Sheldon.  With No. 1225, May 19, the heading is again changed, and the size of sheets reduced, and quite a different style and general “get-up” adopted altogether.

Vol. 45, 1232, July 7, 1894, “Dora Deene,” is the only serial, and the remainder of the publication is made up with short stories, pictures, etc., and runs to No. 1257, December 27, 1894.

Vol. 46, 1258, January 5, 1895.  “Etelina, the White Queen,” be Seward W. Hopkins (reprinted), “Oliver Cromwell’s Wooing,” by A. S. Stephens.

Vol. 47, 1284, July 6, 1895.  “The Princess Helene,” by A. L. Dowding.

Vol. 48, 1300, January 4, 1896.  “The Floating Island:  the Paradise of the Pacific,” by Jules Verne, “The Snowy Regions,” by S. W. Hopkins.

Vol. 49, 1326, July 4, 1896.  Commences with a complete tale in each number.  “The Floating Island” was not completed.  “The Prince’s Messenger,” by Albert Lee, illustrated by W. Boucher.  The last number was 1353, October 31, 1896, when the publication was continued as “The Folks at Home.”



Published by James Henderson, No. 1, September 1, 1877, contained several tales reprinted from “The Weekly Budget” and “Young Folks’ Budget,” including “Giantland,” “Tim Pippin, King of Giantland,” etc.  It ran to July 10, 1888, when it was continued as “The Pictorial News,” to June 4, 1892, to be finally discontinued, and merged into “The Comic Pictorial Nuggets,” as described in our issue of July 31.

It will be noticed that the various tales that became famous and favourites in “Young Folks” were reprinted over and over again in the various publications of Messrs. Henderson, and nearly all of them were issued afterwards  in book form, now very scarce  and difficult to find.  The writer is of opinion that if they were republished they would again become popular, and command a good and profitable sale.



September 18, 1920.

Many correspondents have written suggesting a “review” of this once popular newspaper, which ran for fifty-three years, but it is somewhat outside the range of papers and periodicals, which this series of articles was originally intended to embrace.  It was essentially a weekly newspaper, as its sub-title implied, although many tales, stories and romances that became prime favourites and afterwards famous, ran through its pages as serials.  Many of these were afterwards reprinted in other Henderson publications, and in book form—notably “The People’s Pocket Story Book,” which embraced nearly 400 titles and volumes, and were sold at threepence each.  These volumes were a very handy size, being 3¼ in. x 5 in.  They could be carried on one’s pocket, and read in tram, train or ‘bus, and although thousands upon thousands were sold, they are now very seldom met with.  This is no doubt due to the fact that the practice of binding up periodicals which formerly was very popular, fell into desuetude, and the demand for back numbers being only occasional, the publishers ceased to stock them, and “overs” were sold as waste paper at regular intervals.  Returning to “The Weekly Budget,” I will for the benefit of those who are interested, give a brief history of that publication.  The “Weekly Budget” was created by Mr. James Henderson, and was originally published as the “Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Northern Weekly Budget,” but on January 12, 1861, it became (without the “The”)



“A family newspaper and magazine, news, politics, history, tales, etc.  To inform, to instruct, to amuse.”  Unfortunately the British Museum does not possess the first four volumes.  The set at that institution commences with No. 105, vol. 5, January 3, 1863.  The size of the page was 13¼ in. x 19¼ in., 8 pages to a number.  It was published every Saturday at Red Lion House, Red Lion Court, Fleet Street, London, and at Manchester.

It commenced with a circulation of 20,000 copies weekly, but through researches the writer finds it had attained a circulation of 150,000 copies weekly towards the end of 1863; while later in its career the sales had been doubled.  This proves that it took its place amongst the widely circulated weekly papers of the period.

It would be too gigantic a task to review all the fifty-three yearly vols. and enumerate the hundreds of titles, authors, etc., of tales and stories that appeared in their pages.  This writer would willingly undertake the task, but it would not be of much interest to the general readers, and besides, it would take up too much space; but in order to give some idea to those chiefly interested I will give the contents of Vol. 5, No. 105, January 3, 1863, to No. 156, December 26 the same year.  “Esther:  or, The Mystic Bond of Eight,” by Francis Flaxmore commenced in No. 84, vol. 4.  “Sea and Shore,” by author of “Lost and Found” (Miss S. Holland):  111.  “Vivia:  or The Daughter of an Actress,” 123, “Lord Ernuth’s Will:  or The Exile Noble in the Far West,” by the author of “Gold Brick,” “Fashion and Fumins,” 131, “The Silver Mountain,” a tale of the Mexican Empire, 133, “Amoret the Lady of Karslot,” by Charles Obbign, author of the “Gipsy Queen,” etc., 134, “Eunice Earle; or, The Gambler’s Compact,” 135, “Vasco, the Cooper,” a romance of the Portuguese Peerage (no author mentioned), 139, “Adrienne; or The White Terror,” 141, “Perault; or Slaves and their Masters”; a tale of humour, affection and heroism, 148, “Strange People; or The Experiences of a Governor,” 152, “Harry Long’s Love Dream, and its Realization,” a Manchester Elopement, written for the Budget by Roland Quiz, “Oanita; the Guardian Angel,” and in 156 “Pomona” a Manchester romance of the present day (no author named).

During the year Mr. Henderson published a paper entitled “THE KEY,” a weekly journal of instruction and amusing literature, containing serial stories, short completed stories, the Library, the Knowledge Box, the College:  Novelties and Curiosities, Evening amusements, and on July 4, another paper entitled “THE ORB,” a weekly newspaper and literary journal, for the people, having for its motto “The Altar,” “The Throne,” and “The Cottage.”

I mention these two papers because several of the serials published in the “Weekly Budget” were continued and completed in “THE KEY” and “THE ORB,” so if the reader desired to follow and complete any favourite story he had to follow it up in those two papers.  This was either a clever diplomatic move on the part of the publisher, or else it was because he had such a large stock of tales and stories to work off that made it necessary to issue some other journal to do this, and it must have been very disappointing to the reader to read at the end of a very interesting and exciting chapter of a favourite tale:  Note.—This tale will be continued in “The Key” (or “The Orb”).  It sort of “kept the kettle boiling.”

With the Christmas number (1863) of “The Weekly Budget” was presented a woodcut illustration representing the portraits of the editors and contributors, consisting of twelve gentlemen and three ladies, who are seen sitting round a table enjoying “nuts and wine.”  No names were given, neither was there any detailed description concerning the same.  One of the gentlemen is reading a manuscript to the company.  The writer recognized Mr. Henderson, “Roland Quiz,” Miss Holland, and Mr. Charles A. Read, but as the picture was not produced from a photograph it is difficult to distinguish any others.  The group appears to be a happy and contented one—like a family party.  The writer wonders whether this good old-fashioned custom of convivial gatherings is continued in any of the present day publishing offices.

There were no illustrations to the serial tales in the early volumes of “Weekly Budget” and those in the later vols. are of an ordinary character and call for no special comment. Mr. Henderson’s aim was to make the “Weekly Budget” a popular paper combining all the interesting news of the day, with first class stories, and varied features of family reading and appeal, and time proved that its creator’s ambition was achieved.

Although the principal heading remained, its sub-title changed from time to time, as for instance in 1887 its title was “The Weekly Budget,” “A Family Newspaper, and Magazine.  News, Politics, History, Tales, etc.”  The outstanding features of that year were “Blackly Hall; a story of Boggart, Hole Clough and Old Manchester,” by Captain W. D. L’Estrange, author of “Jacob Ainsworth’s Gold,” “Cloughton Abbey,” etc.  “Buffalo Bill’s Secret Service Trail,” by Major Dangerfield Burr, 5th Regt. Cavalry, U.S. Army, a romance of Redskins, Renegades, and Army Rencounters, also “Red Renard, the Indian Detective; or the Gold Buzzards of Colorado,” by Buffalo Bill (Hon. W. F. Cody).  “The Personal Recollections of Buffalo Bill,” by Col. Paul B. Sutcliffe, late U. S. Army, and “The White King of the Pawnees,” a mate to “Buffalo Bill,” by Ned Buntline.

It is interesting to note that it was during this year (1887) that Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show made their first appearance at the opening if Earls Court Exhibition, and these yarns, etc., were doubtless prepared as a sort of advertisement.  The writer remembers the excitement that was caused by the “Wild West Show,” with its Cowboys, Indians, Deadwood Coach, etc.  All London and a goodly portion of the provinces flocked to Earls Court to see the performances.  In 1909—49th year of publication—the Title had become “The Weekly Budget, the Popular Family Illustrated Newspaper for the People.”  The size of sheets being twelve and a quarter inches by twenty-four and a quarter inches, and 12 pages against 8 pages in the earlier numbers.

In 1910, Number 2258, January 6 (it was called the Jubilee Number) its title became “The Weekly Budget.  All the Latest News, Fearless Criticisms and the Latest Pictures.”  The size of sheets was reduced to 11¾  by 16¾, and 24 pages.  It continued in this form until Number 2599, Sunday, October 23, 1910, when it had evidently changed hands, for it reverted to larger sheets, 16 by 20¾, 8 pages of reading matter and 4 pages of coloured comic pictures of the “Mutt and Jeff” type, and the Title was changed to “The Weekly Budget, the popular Family Story & Newspaper.”  It was about this time that the house of Henderson fell on bad times, the other weeklies with their competition, etc., having taken the place of the older publications, and the copyrights of some of the Henderson papers changed proprietors.

The first number in the new form commenced with the Crippen Case, in which Crippen tells “his own story.”  The serial was “The Riverside Mystery,” by the author of “The Guilty Hand,” “The Mill Owner’s Money,” etc., and the publishing offices was at 1, 2, 3, Plough Court, Fetter Lane, and afterwards at 15, Essex Street, Strand.

In this form and under this title it ran to April 14, 1912, when its title was altered to “London Weekly Budget,” the best family paper for the best families of Great Britain.

It had become the property of a company, said to be controlled by Mr. Hearst, the American millionaire and newspaper proprietor, who published it for three years at a loss of £100,000, although it had a sale of 65,000 copies weekly.  It finally ceased publication on December 28, 1913.

It contained three sections, one of eight pages containing current news, sport, etc., another of four, sometimes six and sometimes eight pages, as a magazine, and the children’s section of four pages of coloured comic pictures, surely plenty of paper, reading matter, and pictures for one penny, but in spite of all these allurements it failed to arouse the Briton’s interest in the American idea of a Sunday paper, and it must have been very disheartening to its promoters enterprise to find it did not “catch on.”  Naturally they would attribute it to the lack of the public taste and appreciation.  Anyway, so ended the once extremely popular “Weekly Budget,” known and read all over the world where English was spoken.

The writer may add in passing that Mr. Henderson’s motto:  “To inform, to instruct, and to improve,” was faithfully carried out.  The paper was published finally at 60, Fleet Street.

September 25, 1920.


(An amusing picture paper for the people.)

This was another of Mr. Henderson’s productions, and I mention it because some of the tales, etc., and original illustrations from “Young Folks’ Weekly Budget” were reprinted in it.  No. 1 was published May 14, 1898, and the last number recorded in the British Museum under “Comic Life” is 1,071, December 28, 1918.

The later number—sold at halfpenny—contained nearly all of Roland Quiz’s “Giantland” and “Tim Pippin” series of tales, also those of Alfred R. Phillips, with some of the original illustrations.  Another humorous paper, “Lots o’ Fun,” also contained some of the good old serials.  Mention may be made of the series of “Young Folks’ Tales,” edited by Roland Quiz, published about ten or twelve years ago, each number containing a  complete story, and well illustrated.  There are also “The Nugget Library,” published about the same period.

It will be seen, therefore, that “The Young Folks’ Weekly Budget,” “Young Folks,” and “Young Folks’ Paper,” contain all the original and best tales, stories and romance, together with the gems of woodcut illustrations, and anyone who happily possesses these vols. has a unique wealth of good, sound and clear literature and artistic illustrative work second to none of its kind.



The first serial in “Young Folks” was “The Boy King” in number one, by the Editor.  The first Giant story was “The Giants of the Wood” in No. 37, written by Roland Quiz, and the last Giant story was “Saint George and the Seven Champions,” by Alfred R. Phillips.

All the Giantland and Tim Pippin series of tales appeared in “The Pictorial News,” Sept. 1, 1877 to July 10, 1888, as well as the following in the order given:  “Jack the Valiant,” “Tor,” “Kairon,” “Thundersleigh,” “Desdichado,” “Ned Stanley at School and at College,” and “The Forest Home.”

The “Giantland” and “Tim Pippin” series of tales were somewhat abridged in book form.  In their original form they ran as follows:—“Giantland,” 36 chapters; “Tim Pippin,” 77 chapters; “King Pippin,” 37 chapters; “Monsterland,” 42 chapters; and “Golden Pheasant,” 26 chapters.

None of Alfred R. Phillips and other favourite authors’ stories which were afterwards published in book form, were abridged.  They were given in their entirety; at any rate, the early editions were.

Several correspondents have written for further details respecting “Varieties” and its serials in the early numbers.  In the first number appeared “The Maid of Domrency,” “The Lighthouse Keeper,” “Sister Angela,” and “Fairydom.”  In No. 13, “The Jacket Spray,” 16 “Gentle Deeds,” “Serfdom to Knighthood,” 25 “Miss Gwennie of Tregarn,” 26 “Nydia the Beautiful Singer” and “Goldyanna,” sequel to “Fairydom,” 29 “The Masked Bridal,” 36 “Thorbrand,” 45 “The Queen’s Champion,” 55 “Theseus,” 56 “The Maid of Honour” by Miss A. S. Stephens, 46 “Ralpho the Hero of Warsaw,” 49 “That Dowdy of a Girl,” 67 “Frank the Fisherboy,” 70 “Stella,” 72 “Ingomar,” 79 “Seven Pointed Star,” 85 “Wilchester Towers.”

Some of these tales, notably those by Miss S. Holland, were reprinted in the later numbers of “Varieties,” as mentioned in article number one.

With regard to “Nuggets,” I am able to add to the list of serials between Nos. 30 and 70, as mentioned in article number one.  In No. 36, “The Mysterious Case of Ossington Hall,” 41 “Mascello,” 43 “The Golden Island,” 56 “Frank Howard,” and “The Cruise of the Munchausen,” 58 “The Princess and her Seven Champions.”  The serials in Nos. 272 to 348 comprised “The Dashing Fitzroys,” “Fergus the Foundling,” “Cliff Royal Chase,” “The Knights of the Lily and Rose,” “Etelma, the White Queen; or, The Expedition in Search of a Treasure Island” (doubtless inspired by Stevenson’s “Treasure Island”) “The Ordeal of Basil Hope,” “Nestor the Golden Knight,” “Tom Rodman at Sea,” “The Modern Crusoes,” “Odysseus, his Wanderings and Adventures,” “Walter the Archer.”

Other tales not already mentioned are as follows:—In No. 352 “Dick Halibut’s Adventure; or, The Magician of Mogg’s Island,” 354 “Wyvelivoe; or, The Young Heir of Bodian,” 372, “Olaf the Wanderer,” 376 “Coleston Grammar School,” by Maitland, 380 “Stonio the Stone Cutter,” 387 “The Treasure Cave,” a wonderful story of adventure in the South Seas, by George E. Gardner, 389 “Charley Archer’s Luck; or, The Young Diamond Digger,” 397 “The Last of the Vikings,” being the adventures on the East and West of Sequard the Boy King of Norway, by author of “The Seven Fountains,” 400 “Mont Croft; or, The Ghost of a Crime,” 401 “The Wreckers of the South Sea,” by Paul Kemble, 454 “The Rajah’s Legacy,” “Thirteen, Grimsdick Street, “The Story of a Great Mystery,” 460 “The Tremaynes,” 462 “Theseus, the Young King of Attica,” 463 “From Serf to Knight,” 474 “Eric Ducres,” 477 “Thorbrand,” 482 “The Squire’s Secret,” 486 “Ruric Neval, the Gunmaker of Moscow,” 487 “Matthew Quinn, Wild Beast Agent,” 494 “The Maid of Domrency,” 495 “Feodor of the Mountains; or, The Brotherhood of the White Cross,” 505 “The Squire of Kildenny,” 509 “The Secret of the Seven Fountains; or, The Lost Island,” 522 “The Forbidden Nepaul Story of the Kingdom of Mystery,” 526 “A Race for a Rescue,” 536 “The Secret Island,” 537 “A Soldier of the Legion,” a story of remarkable adventure, 549 “Tor,” a story of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, 551 “Gentleman George, a Story of the Australian Police,” by John G. Rowe, “The Cryptogram,” a tale of stirring adventure, in Canada, by W. M. Graydon, 556 “On Four Brass Plates,” the key to “Four Buried Treasures,” by Seward W. Hopkins.  From this number the tales were lengthened out somewhat, and only minor ones of little interest were added to those already enumerated.

The writer has already given the remaining principal serials to the end of the publication.  There were many others of less interest.  If the date of any tale or story not mentioned on these articles is required the writer will be pleased to comply, as he has a complete record of this and most of the publications by Henderson, which contain serials.

The following data may be useful to those who are interested:—

SNAP SHOTS, ran from July 28, 1890, to November 10, 1907.

SCRAPS, from August 29, 1883, to April 30, 1910.

FUNNY FOLKS, December 12, 1874, to April 28, 1914.

The other publications by Mr. Henderson are of too recent date to make special mention, although several of the old favourite stories from “Young Folks’ Paper,” etc., were reprinted in same.

A very clever author named Escott Lynn, contributed some fine stories, including “The New Master of Saint Clements,” “The Monarch of the Air,” “In the King’s Service,” “The Coward of Saint Ethelbert,” etc., to Henderson publications.  The volumes containing them are very much sought after by modern readers.

Mr. John Stewart, of Thettlestone, Glasgow (a well known Old Boy) contributed a series of “Scottish Legends and Folks’ Tales” in the volume of “Nuggets” for 1902, beginning at No. 548, October 25, and followed with a second series of “Legends and Tales of the Highlands” in No. 592, which were very much appreciated.

“The Garland” was in reality a continuations of “Varieties.”  It was represented to the publishers that the title of “Varieties” was suggestive of a theatrical paper, and thus numerous readers of story papers were lost who would otherwise have been regular subscribers, so the title or heading was changed from “Varieties” to “The Garland” and the publishers intended “The Garland” to be more for girls’ reading, in contrast with “Nuggets” which was intended more for boys.  The stories and tales in “The Garland” being more of a feminine character, and those in “Nuggets” being of adventure, history, etc.

The author who used “Uncle George” (author of “Wonderland,” “Marvel-land” series and “Goldyana”) as a pen name, was not, as I thought, Miss Holland, but a well-known writer of tales for boys, and grown-ups of the period, and he had over one hundred novels to his credit when he died.

A fine memoir of Mr. C. A. Read, author of “Achilles” and other classical tales that appeared in the early vols. of “Young Folks Weekly Budget,” appears in “The Cabinet of Irish Literature.”  With regard to my article dealing with “Young Folks’ Weekly Budget,” I find that the first number was given as a Supplement to the “Weekly Budget” Christmas number, December 24, 1870.  It commenced with an introduction, “How do you do?” by the Editor; then followed a short story, “Hop O’ my Thumb,” “A Night of Terror,” “Alice of the Glen,” “The Little Hunchback,” “Little Nellie’s Dream,” a few lines of verse, “The Christmas Pudding,” by Roland Quiz, and some minor items.  This being a presentation, or supplement number, it was not numbered in the ordinary manner.  The first number followed the week after—January 2, 1871.

Amongst the authors whose names may have been missed by the writer, mention must be made of James Payn, Amelia E. Barr, Murray Gilchrist, Weatherby Chesney, and John Burton, who contributed a fine tale, “The Hispaniola,” in “Old and Young,” also “The Desert Ship.”  A number of articles were also contributed by R. S. Warren Bell.

The author of “Jewel Land,” in Vols. 8 and 9, who used the pen name of “Uncle George” was in reality George Manville Fenn, who contributed in his own name several serials, including “The Blue Dragoons” and “The Scarlet Lancers,” both exceedingly fine military tales.  It is singular that the press obituary notices at the time of his death, omitted to mention his connection with the Henderson publications; neither has the writer seen any reference to this connection in any bibliographical record.  He evidently worked somewhat in conjunction with Miss S. Holland in the “Wonderland” series of tales, and it was in this manner that the writer attributed “Uncle George” to Miss Holland’s pen name, as mentioned in the first number, July 31.  Miss Holland, however, was the author of “Goldyana,” sequel to “Fairydom,” and not “Uncle George.”

October 2, 1920.

Perhaps a brief notice of Mr. George Manville Fenn (“Uncle George”) may not be out of place.  He was born in London on January 3, 1831, and was the son of well-to-do parents.  His early years were passed in comparative luxury, but whilst he was still a boy his family suffered reverses, and he was thrown upon his own resources somewhat.  He was always fond of reading, and had a great love for books, and he taught himself a good deal before entering the training colleges on connection with the National Society.  He afterwards became a schoolmaster in Lincolnshire, and a private tutor.  One of his first literary attempts was a humorous sketch which appeared in “Chambers’ Journal.”  This attracted the attention of the Editor, Mr. James Payn (who, it will be found, contributed some serials to “Young Folks”), and afterwards several of Mr. Fenn’s stories appeared in “Chambers’ Journal.”

He also contributed to “All the Year Round,” under the Editorship of Mr. Charles Dickens, one if his best being a short graphic paper.  “In Jeopardy” was its name, and from this he was invited to contribute to other magazines, and he soon began a long series of sketches in humble life, which appeared under the heading of “Readings by Starlight” in “The Star,” of which Mr. Justice McCarthy was at that time Editor.

In 1866 he wrote for “Cassell’s Magazine.”  His best known works are “Ship Ahoy,” “A Little World,” and “Bent, not Broken,” and, as is well-known, he wrote many short stories for boys.  He also wrote some plays, including “The Barrister,” produced in 1888, and “The Balloon,” produced in 1889.

Altogether Mr. Fenn was the author of close upon one hundred novels of all kinds, many of which have become classics and famous, and are still in great demand at the Libraries.  He was a most prolific author, and his official records in the Catalogues of the British Museum reach the great number of 234, in which he beats Mr. Robert Michael Ballantyne, who has 169, and Mr. George Alfred Henty, who has 212, but not Mr. William Henry Giles Kingston, who tops the list of authors of boys’ stories with 315 records.  Mr. Fenn was a writer of fiction for over fifty years.  He died at his well-known residence, Syon Lodge, Isleworth (a fine old-fashioned house) on August 27, 1909, leaving a splendid library of over 25,000 well-chosen volumes, and an estate which was sworn for probate at £11,778.  Unlike many of the old Fleet Street Bohemian writers of fiction who passed away in obscurity and oblivion penniless and nameless, Mr. Fenn left his family a respectable fortune and revered name.  Apart from his literary achievements, Mr. Fenn was an expert gardener, as those who know Syon Lodge, a well-known landmark, can testify.

The change of title from “The Young Folks’ Weekly Budget” to “The Young Folks’ Budget” took place with No. 448, July 5, 1879, and the next change to “Young Folks” with volume 17.  This is not a very important matter, but some correspondents have written calling my attention to the inaccuracy in an earlier article.  Perhaps a reference to my first article dealing with Henderson’s Publication, in the issue for March 8, 1919, will satisfy my critics.  First title, “Our Young Folks’ Weekly Budget” was continued up to numbers 228, vol. 8, June 24, 1874.  It then became “The Young Folks’ Weekly Budget” and continued under this title to No. 447, vol. 14, June 28, 1879.  With the next numbers, its title was changed to simply “Young Folks,” and remained so till Number 733, vol. 24, December 20, 1884, when it became “The Young Folks’ Paper,” and ran under this title to the end.

Mr. James Henderson, proprietor and publisher of the “Weekly Budget,” “Young Folks’ Paper,” “Varieties,” “Nuggets,” “Garland,” etc., etc., died at Worthing, Sussex, on February 24, 1906, aged 83 years, and was buried at Honor Oak Cemetery on February 28.

Mr. C. E. Pearce, author of “The Golden Island,” and several other popular tales in “Young Folks” is still alive; also Mr. James Harwood Pantong, the last Editor of “Young Folks.”

From very close inquiries made by the writer, most, if not all, of the other editors, authors, writers and artists, who helped to make Henderson’s publications so famous, have passed away leaving very little, if any, trace of their careers.



In my article No. 12, January 11, 1919, I dealt very briefly with this old-time favourite, and now with the permission of our esteemed Editor, I will describe the publication more fully.

Mr. Samuel Orchard Beeton, who was born in 1831, commenced business as a bookseller and publisher at 148, Fleet Street, some time about 1852.  One of his first and most successful ventures was the publishing of the English edition of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” by Mrs. Beecher Stowe, the American novelist.  The success of this celebrated work was so great that Mr. Beeton went on a special journey to America in order to present the authoress with a voluntary payment of £500.

In 1854, Mr. Beeton projected the “Boys’ Own Magazine,” and the first number in monthly parts was published in January, 1855.  It consisted of 32 pages small octavo size, illustrated by several well-drawn woodcuts in the text.  It was issued in orange-coloured covers, a feature that remained throughout all the publications under this title; and the price was twopence.  At the end of the year the parts were collated and were published in volume form, the series consisting of eight yearly volumes, the last one being dated 1862.  It was the first volume of its kind, but it met with great success, and was soon imitated on all hands.

Mr. Beeton was the first man to make writing for boys a separate branch of the literary profession.  He it was who originally persuaded men of education to write for boys’ magazines.  Before this period, men of letters thought it beneath their dignity to write boys’ stories at all.

The general contents of the first series (8 vols.) of the “Boys’ Own Magazine” consisted of a serial story, some short stories, sketches of natural history by the Rev. J. G. Wood (1827-89), who was for a few months sub-editor of the magazine; historical narratives, biographical papers, short poems, etc.  The serial contributions are notable in that Edgar Allan Poe’s (1809-1849) celebrated story “The Gold Bug,” appears in vol. 2, 1857, and Pym’s narrative in vol. 3, 1857.  These stories were probably given to the British public in these pages for the first time; and also that a historical writer of much promise named J. G. Edgar, contributed “How I Won My Spurs,” a boy’s adventure in the barons’ wars, to vol. 8, 1862.  One of the gems in vol. 1 is “The Life of a Dog,” by Thomas Miller (1807-74), which is aptly and splendidly illustrated by Harrison Weir, the famous artist and naturalist.

The last three volumes were increased in the number of pages over the preceding vols., and altogether the publication became highly popular.  A complete set of the vols. is exceedingly rare and much sought after by collectors.

In 1863 the magazine was enlarged and illustrated by separate plates on toned paper.  The price was raised to sixpence a month.

The opening chapters appeared of a grand historical romance by J. G. Edgar, entitled, “Cressy and Poictiers, or The Story of the Black Prince’s Page.”  This romance was valuable as showing the manners and customs of the time in England, and is deservedly included in “Everyman’s Library.”  A second serial was entitled “Reuben Davidges; or, Seventeen Years and Four Months Among the Dyaks of Borneo,” by James Greenwood (the Amateur Casual), brother of Frederick Greenwood, the novelist, which delighted those who had a taste for adventures in strange lands.  Combined with these features were natural history papers by the Rev. J. G. Wood, under the general heading of “The Zoological Gardens,” which ran continuously until 1866.

In 1864, W. H. G. Kingston (1814-1880) first contributed to the periodical.  He was born in Harley Street, February 28, 1814, and from 1850 his chief occupation was writing books and tales for boys, or editing boys’ annuals and weekly periodicals.  His records occupy 9½ pages of the British Museum Library Catalogues.  He died at Stormont Lodge, Willesden, on August 5, 1880.  After discontinuing his own magazine for boys, he joined Mr. Beeton’s staff of authors, and wrote one of the tales of adventure by land and sea, for which he was so eminently famous.  This was “The Gentleman Adventurer,” which ran throughout the year.  J. G. Edgar followed up his previous successful stories with another of equal power, entitled, “Runnymede and Lincoln Fair,” a story of the “Great Charter,” which appeared in vols. 3-4, 1864.  High hopes were entertained by both author and editor that a sequence of their historical romances would be continued in subsequent volumes of “The Boys’ Own Magazine,” but death intervened, and the reading public was poorer in consequence.

However, in Francis Davenant, a young London barrister, Mr. Beeton found a man worthy to walk in the deceased author’s footsteps.  In the volume for 1865 there appeared the first fruits of his pen.  It was entitled “Hubert Ellis,” a story of King Richard’s Days, the Second.  It will readily be noticed that there is something wrong with the subtitle, yet, notwithstanding, this title appears throughout the volume for 1865.  It was altered, however, to “A Story of King Richard the Second’s Days,” when the romance was published in book form.  The same author contributed “Edward Clayton; a story of the Days of Agincourt,” and “Ralph de Walden,” to the subsequent volumes of the magazine.

Thereafter, the historical romances appear to have been abolished in favour of adventure tales, for other boys’ papers were now in the field, and Beeton’s publications were losing favour with the younger generation.  Mr. Beeton failed in 1866, and sold his stock and copyrights to Messrs. Ward, Lock and Co., for £1,900, and the “Boys’ Own Magazine” was continued by the latter under the same title and in the same style.


October 9, 1920.

Several changes were, however, made in the magazine to induce increased circulation; among others, the division of the yearly volumes into two half-yearly volumes was departed from.  With vol. 9, 1867, instalments of a separately paged work were given away each month with title pages and indexes for binding into different volumes at the end of the year.  In this way “The World’s Explorers,” a finely illustrated volume of 384 pages, forms part of “Beeton’s Annual” for 1868.  Other works by James Greenwood followed in due course, but notwithstanding all efforts to keep the magazine afloat, it lingered with difficulty until 1874, and its production was unprofitable.  More varied entertainment was given in the “Boys of England” class of journal, and so “Beeton’s Magazine for Boys” ceased to exist.

Mr. Beeton became a publisher again in 1877, just previous to his death, which took place at Sudbrook Park, Richmond, Surrey, on June 6 of that year, at the early age of 46 years.  He was only 21 years of age when he published “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” copies of the first issue of which command a good price—they are very scarce indeed.

To return to the “Boys’ Own Magazine.”  I wish to assist collectors and others interested, by giving a few details which I trust will be of some service.  The publication throughout was issued in monthly parts, entitled “The Boys’ Own Magazine,” and the 8 vols. comprising the first series 1855-1862, are so entitled, but the new series, 1863-1870, consisting of 11 vols., are generally known and called “The Boys’ Own Volume,” particularly the first 8 half-yearly volumes.  The remaining 3 vols. are generally known as “Beeton’s Own Annual,” and this causes some confusion in ascertaining the right volumes.  As a further guide I append the following details.

FIRST SERIES.—1855-1862, vols. 1, 2, 3, 4, contained 376 pages in each volume.  Vol. 5, 384 pages.  Vol. 6, 494 pages.  Vol. 7, 496 pages, and Vol. 8, 546 pages respectively.

NEW SERIES.—1863-1870.  “Boys’ Own Volume,” “Fact, Fiction, History and Adventure.”  Vols. 1-2, 1863, contained serials, “Cressey and Poictiers,” “Reuben Davidges,” and “The Young Norsemen,”  552 pages in each volume.  Vols. 3-4, 1864, same title, “Anthony Waymouth,” “King Lion,” “Runnymede and Lincoln Fair,” 560 and 552 pages.  Vols. 5-6, 1865, “Hubert Ellis,” “Silas the Conjurer,” and “Inconyaina, the Kaffir Chief.”  552 and 544 pages.  Vols. 7-8, 1866, “Ralph de Walden,” “Prince Jack of Fiji,” and “Phil Crawford,” 468 and 448 pages.  Vol. 9, 1867 (“Boys’ Own Annual”), “Edward Claydon,” “Jack on His Head,” 692 pages.  Vol. 10, 1868, “The Finger of Fate,” by Captain Mayne Reid (a splendid tale and one of the best written by this popular author), “One of the Beggars,” 656 pages.  Vol. 11, 1869-1870, “Alf Ringbolt, or, Recollections of an Ancient Mariner,” “John Aubrey, the Soldier of the Queen,” 660 pages.

SECOND NEW SERIES.—1870-1874.  “Boys’ Own Magazine,” also “Boys’ Own Volume,” also “Boys’ Own Annual,” Vol. 1, 1870, “Beeton’s Fact, Fiction, History and Adventure.”  Serials, “Cressy and Poictiers,” (reprinted), and “The Story of the British Navy,” “The Young Norseman,” (reprinted), 1104 pages.  Vol. 2, 1871, same title, “Runnymede and Lincoln Fair,” (reprinted), “Antony Waymouth,” (reprinted), “King Lion,” (reprinted), 1092 pages.  Vol. 3, 1871-1872, “Tales of Peril and Adventures on Sea and Land,” “Hubert Ellis,” (reprinted), “Inconyama,” (reprinted) and “Silas the Conjurer,” (reprinted), 1088 pages.  Vol. 4, 1872, “Brave Tales,” “Bold Ballads,” and “Travels and Perils on Land and Sea,” “Phil Crawford,” in three parts (reprinted), “Prince Jack of Fiji,” and “Ralph de Walden,” (both reprinted), 888 pages.  Vol. 5, 1873—“Heroes, Soldiers, Sailors, and Travellers in Kaffirland, Gymnastics, Telegraphy,” etc., “Edward Clayton,” and “Jack on his Head,” (both reprinted), 670 pages, and supplements, “The Three Scouts,” 124 pages, “Cudjo’s Cave,” 220 pages, making a total of 1014 pages.  Vol. 6, 1873, Famous Voyages, Brigands, Adventures, Tales of the Battlefields, Life and Nature, “The Finger of Fate,” and “One of the Beggars,” by John Tillotson, (both reprinted), 696 pages; and supplement, “The World’s Explorers,” 364 pages, total—1080 pages to the volume.  Vol. 7, 1874—English Victories, Sea Stories, Tales of Enterprise, and School Life, “Alf Ringbolt” (reprinted), “A Head for a Head,” “John Aubrey,” (reprinted), 660 pages, and as supplement, “The Golden Americas,” 376 pages, making a total of 1036 pages to the volume.

It will be noticed that the 1870-1874 series was practically a reissue of that of 1863-1870.  In 1889 another series was published under the title of “Beeton’s Boys’ Own Magazine,” edited by G. A. Henty (1832-1902), and published by Messrs. Ward, Lock & Co.  Vol. 1 contained the serials, “The Young Norseman” and “The Mids of the Rattlesnake” (A. Lee Knight), 512 pages.  Vol. 2, “Cressy and Poictiers,” and “Up in the Alps,” by Sir C. L. Wraxall (1828-1865), 512 pages.  Vol. 3, “Adventures of Reuben Davidges,” and “The Black Man’s Ghost,” 512 pages.

The three volumes consisted of 116 numbers, made up into 12 monthly parts issued at 6d. each, and form the 3 vols., but even with so large a publication the venture was a failure.

The writer has purposely gone into these minute details, for of all the Old Boys’ Books he knows of, there are none of so complex a nature as those bearing the title of “Beeton’s Boys’ Own Magazine,” “Boys’ Own Volume,” “Boys’ Own Annual,” “Boys’ Own Books,” etc.—they were so numerous in varied titles that a collector is put to some confusion to distinguish one from the other.  Most of the serials are of sterling worth, and the vols. containing them are much sought after by their old admirers.



As this first class Boys’ Periodical is still in circulation, the writer does not intend to deal at length with it, beyond stating that No. 1 was published on January 18, 1879, and was founded by the late Mr. George Andrew Hutchinson, as an outcome of an idea which came form the late Lord Shaftesbury (1801-1885), which originated in a conversation at a public dinner of the committee of the Religious Tract Society, between his lordship and the late Dr. Manning (the secretary of the Society).  Mr. J. Macaulay was the editor of Vol. 1, and the writer believes that Mr. Hutchison shortly afterwards became the editor.  At any rate, he conducted “The Boys’ Own Paper” until about September, 1912, when he retired, but only lived five months afterwards.  He died at his residence, Ivy Bank, Leytonstone, Essex, on February 11, 1913, at the age of 71 years.

The inception of “The Boys’ Own Paper” was as a counter-attraction for boys in opposition to the “blood-and-thunder” and the “demon-barber of Fleet Street” class of literature at that period very popular.  At first the paper was not very favourably received by the newsagents, who believed that the schoolboy of that time would not patronise a high-toned publication, but contrary to their expectation, the “B.O.P” at once caught on, and soon had a circulation of over 200,000 a week.  It is now issued as a monthly publication.  Its coloured frontispieces have always been a popular feature.  Amongst its authors and writers may be mentioned Ballantyne, Henty, Kingston, Fenn, Talbot Baines Reed, Gordon Staples, Jules Verne, Captain Mayne Reid, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who, when a doctor at Southsea, sent or contributed stories and sketches which were excellent.  Since he became famous, he has said that he must always love the “B.O.P.” because when other people refused his stories the “B.O.P.” accepted them!

Mr. Hutchinson was a great friend of the deep sea fishermen, for whose benefit he used to lecture throughout the country.  He was for 34 years editor of the “B.O.P.” and died worth £15,799.  As a memorial to him it was proposed to convert his house “Ivybank,” near Epping Forest, into a hostel for boys and young men, at a cost of £5,000, but whether the scheme matured the writer is unable to state.

The numbers of the “B.O.P.” are collected and published in yearly volumes, entitled “The Boys’ Own Annual,” and in this form it enjoys a large sale.



The writer has had occasion to mention this famous and extremely popular writer several times in connection with the various old-time periodicals and boys’ books he has reviewed in the present series of articles, as well as those he dealt with in his previous series (Oct. 1918 to May 1919).  A few words concerning this author, writer, novelist, and editor, may not be out of place.  There is still a good demand for his works, especially the first issues.

Captain Thomas Mayne Reid, the eldest son of the Rev. Thomas Mayne Reid, a Presbyterian minister, was born at Ballyroney, Co. Down, on April 4, 1818.  His mother was a descendant of the hot and hasty Rutherfords, of Marmion.  He was prepared for the ministry, but emigrated to America, and arrived at New Orleans in January, 1840.

After a varied career as “store-keeper,” “negro-overseer,” “schoolmaster,” and actor (an occupation he so vividly describes in “The Quadroon,” and “The Maroon,” both of which fine tales really form part of his own life), interspersed with occasional experiences of hunting expeditions, and Indian warfare, he settled down in1843 in Philadelphia, as a journalist, where he made the acquaintance of Edgar Allan Poe.  Leaving Philadelphia in 1846 he spent the summer at Newport, Rhode Island, as the correspondent of the “New York Herald,” and in September of the same year, he was engaged upon “Wilkes Spirit of the Times,” and in December, having obtained a commission as Second-Lieutenant in the first New York Volunteers, he sailed for Vera Cruz to take part in the Mexican War, in which he engaged in many encounters.  He behaved with conspicuous gallantry, and particularly distinguished himself at the storming of Chapultepec on Sept. 13, 1847, where he was severely wounded, and afterwards reported dead.

Previous to going to Mexico he made two excursions up the Red River, trading and hinting in company with the Red Indians, and afterwards he went up the Missouri and on the Prairies where he remained for nearly five years.  He then travelled through almost every State in the Union, and in these journeys, with his previous experience in the backwoods he acquired that knowledge of character and incident which are so vividly pourtrayed in his writings.

October 16, 1920.

Returning to the United States from Mexico, Captain Mayne Reid came to Europe to take part in the revolutionary movements in Bavaria and Hungary, but arriving too late, he turned his attention to literature, and published his first novel, “The Rifle Rangers,” in London, 1849-50.  (The first issue was in two vols.)  Between those dates and his death he produced a long series of romances, of which none else could have been the author, for in them are avowedly embodied the observations and experiences of his own extraordinary career.

He, however, made one terrible mistake, and that was to dabble in a building speculation.  He bought a small estate at Gerrard’s Cross, Buckinghamshire, and commenced to build a house, etc., in the Mexican style of architecture, and the writer believes he also made his own bricks—at any rate the whole project was a failure and involved him in disaster.  Some of his critics said, “Mayne Reid can write books, but he cannot build houses.  He is better with his pen than with a trowel.”

He afterwards published “The Little Times,” but this was a journalistic failure, so he returned to New York in 1867.  There he founded and for some time conducted “The Onward Magazine,” but after being confined in hospital, where his life was despaired of, from the effects of his old wound, he returned to England in 1870, married and settled down.  During the last years of his life he lived near Ross, Herefordshire, and died on October 22, 1863.  He was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery, where a handsome marble monument marks his last resting place.

Captain Mayne Reid apparently reversed the usual system of writing a serial, and afterwards publishing it in book form, for in the appended list will be found that several of his noted tales that appeared in serial form in several of the old periodicals and boys’ journals had previously been published in book form.  One in particular was “The Headless Horseman,” which appeared as a serial in the “Penny Miscellany,” during 1868, and which created a great deal of excitement at the time.  This was written and originally published in 1866.

The following is a list of Mayne Reid’s principal novels and the dates on which they were published.

1—The Rifle Rangers, 2 vols., 1849-50.

2—The Scalp Hunter, 1851.

3—The Desert Home, 1851.

4—The Boy Hunters, 1852.

5—The Young Voyageurs, 1853.

6—The Hunters’ Feast, 1854.

7—The Forest Exiles, 1854.

8—The Bush Boys, 1855.

9—The Quadroon, 1856.

10—The Young Jagers, 1856.

11—The War Trail, 1857.

12—The Plant Hunter, 1858.

13—Ran Away to Sea, 1858.

14—The Boy Tar, 1859.

15—Oceola:  the Half Blood, 1859.

16—The White Chief, 1859.

17—The Wild Huntress, 1860.

18—The Wood Rangers, 1861.

19—Bruin, 1861.

20—The Maroon, 1862.

21—The White Gauntlet, 1863.

22—The Ocean Waifs, 1864.

23—The Cliff Climbers, 1864.

24—Afloat in the Forest, 1865.

25—The Boy Slaves, 1865.

26—The Bandolero, 1866.

27—The Headless Horseman, 1866.

28—The Giraffe Hunter, 1867.

29—The Guerilla Chief, 1867.

30—The Finger of Fate, 1868.

31—The Child Wife, 1868.

32—The Castaways, 1870.

33—The Lone Ranch, 1871.

34—The Yellow Chief, 1870.

35—The White Squaw, 1871.

36—The Death Shot, 1874.

37—The Flag of Distress, 1875.

38—The Fatal Cord, 1872.

39—Gwen Wynn, 1877.

40—The Vee Boers, 1880.

41—Gaspar, the Gaucho, 1880.

42—The Free Lances, 1881.

43—Queen of the Lakes, 1879.

In 1881 Captain Mayne Reid became joint editor of “The Boys’ Illustrated News,” and wrote as serials in that paper, “The Lost Mountain,” (published in book form in 1884) and “The Chase of the Leviathan,” which was also published in book form in the same year.

The following were published after his death, and helped to supplement the slender fortune left to his widow:  “The Land of Fire,” 1884; “No Quarter,” 1888; “The Star of Empire,” 1888, was really a pirated new edition of “The Finger of Fate,” which was suppressed by Mrs. Mayne Reid; “The Pierced Heart,” 1885.

Needless to say, nearly all the works were reprinted from time to time.  The writer has forgotten to place “Lost Lenore,” 1865, and “The Tiger Hunter,” 1872, in their proper places.

Mayne Reid wrote for juveniles as well as for adults.  His natural histories for boys are ably written.  He also compiled a treatise on Croquet in 1883.

Many of his works were translated into the French and German languages, and had a large sale on those countries, whilst many of his plots, incidents, adventures, and descriptive sketches have been adopted by authors of cinema film pictures, particularly those relating to Mexican life and scenes, Indian encampments, warfare and their attacks upon the early emigrant convoys, trekking to the goldfields, etc., all of which Mayne Reid so splendidly pourtrayed.


The following interesting article appeared in “The Times Literary Supplement,” dated Sept. 9, and as it deals with Mr. Jay’s researches into the literary past, we reprint it, as we feel sure our readers will like to bind it up with our own series of “Peeps into the Past.”


A sentence or two in the leading article “Of Boys’ Books,” in the “Times Literary Supplement” of April 11, 1918, must have brought back to men no longer young a rush of almost forgotten memories of long ago.  Those who in early youth read such books as “Tom Wildrake’s Schooldays,” Jack Harkaway’s adventures at school and elsewhere, and who subscribed to “The Boys of England” and the “Young Men of Great Britain,” can never quite forget the anxiety and anticipation with which each new number was awaited.

During the years 1918 and 1919 Mr. Frank Jay contributed so SPARE MOMENTS an exhaustive and valuable series of articles, the fruit of many years’ study and inquiry, on these old-time publications, beginning with “THE LONDON JOURNAL,” and including boys’ periodicals and stories.  These articles will be invaluable to future inquirers; but the chief difficulty which will be experienced by those who wish to go further into the subject will be that of getting together the periodicals of which Mr. Jay has given such exhaustive bibliographical memoranda.  Very few will be found in the British Museum, and only some private collections are approximately complete.

It will surprise most of those who used to treasure these books above all others to know that old boys’ books are now collected with as much avidity and enthusiasm as Shakespeariana and modern first editions.  They are now the “sport” of the big booksellers, and quite recently one of the most prominent firms of West-end dealers advertised in the trade journal, “The Clique,” for certain of these books.  Comparison may be odious, but it would  probably be less difficult to purchase in London to-day half a dozen copies of the First Folio Shakespeare than a fine one of “Tom Wildrake’s Schooldays,” with its battered type and its woodenest of all woodcuts.  “Jack Harkaway’s Schooldays,” which first came out in “The Boys of England,” is almost as rare as first editions of Shelley and Keats, whilst the finest of all sea stories, “Captain Tom Drake,” ranks with early quarto plays in scarceness.  They were all periodicals and stories in weekly parts, published at a penny.

A fairly extensive series of these books could be got together a quarter of a century ago for £5.  At a sale at Sotheby’s in March, 1891, a set of fifteen novels by Bracebridge Hemyng, the author of “Jack Harkaway’s Schooldays,” etc., sold for £1; but to-day £100 would not purchase anything like a complete collection.  Whilst odd runs of the periodicals and separate stories occur now and then at Hodgson’s, in Chancery Lane, most of the buying and selling is done by private treaty, and by advertisements, so “Book Prices Current” is of very little or no help in the matter of values.  Mr. John Jeffery, the bookseller, of High Street, Barnes, who has dealt largely in this class of book for thirty years, has, for instance, recently purchased en bloc Mr. A. E. Waite’s unusually extensive collection, with nearly all the old boys’ journals in fine condition and bound in the publishers’ covers.

“Tom Wildrake’s Schooldays,” which first began to appear in “The Sons of Britannia,” in March, 1870, extended (with his later adventures) in book form to sixty-four weekly parts or 890 pages of small type, and for a copy in even anything like good condition as much as £3 is asked and readily given; but the Wildrake series can hardly be called complete without “Young Tom Wildrake’s Schooldays,” and “Young Tom Wildrake’s Adventures,” both of which are fairly common, or easily obtainable at about 3s. 6d. each.

The “Jack Harkaway” series completely eclipsed all the others in length.  The story began in “The Boys of England” of August 19, 1871, and, as Mr. Jay tells us, the result was “phenomenal,” and brought thousands of new subscribers—the names of two royal princes, one of England and the other the Prince Imperial of France (then an exile), were printed by the proprietor on his paper as being among his regular readers.  The “Harkaway” series ran on, in various periodicals, until about 1880.  Apparently the last one of all, “Jack Harkaway in Search of Wealth,” was never published, and exists only in proof sheets.  The series in book form extends to twenty-four or more volumes, and probably a set may be obtained for about £3; whilst a complete collection of all Brett’s stories and romances, “handsomely bound in thirteen red cloth and gilt volumes,” was recently offered by one dealer at £5 the set.

October 23, 1920.

Another favourite was “Ned Nimble,” the tale of whose career runs into seven volumes, and yet another was “Tom Floremall,” all still on sale, if not technically “in print,” for the two publishing firms of George Emmett and Edwin J. Brett, both of whom must have made large fortunes out of boys’ literature, have long since ceased to exist, and the familiar addresses of Hogarth House, St. Bride’s Avenue, with the ghost of the wooden-legged Dabber in the air, and Brett’s uninspiring shop in Fleet Street, where Jack Harkaway may be said to have been born, have been turned to other uses.

Passing over scores of other boys’ journals, and the serial stories which reappeared in book-form, concerning which much of desultory interest will be found in Ralph Rollington’s “The Old Boys’ Books,” it is impossible not to refer to Robert Louis Stevenson’s connexion with this type of literature.  James Henderson started “Young Folks” in 1871, and in it was published “Treasure Island” from October 1, 1881, to January 28, 1882; this was followed by “The Black Arrow,” June-October, 1883, and by “Kidnapped,” May-July, 1886.  The numbers containing these stories are among the most actively sought Stevensonia.

There is no very definite information as to what Brett, Emmett and James Henderson paid for their serials, probably so much a column, and that not a very high rate.  In one of Messrs. Maggs’s recent catalogues of autograph letters there is a most interesting one of one and a half pages (priced £52) from Stevenson to Henderson, dated Davos Platz, November 14, 1881, concerning the writing and publication in “Young Folks” of “Treasure Island,” and accompanied by the MS. of chapters 19-21; in it the writer says:
“I have never asked you upon what principle you pay, but if your payments are other than half yearly, I should be obliged for an early cheque as I have somewhat outran the Constable.”  Probably the same story, in one of its manifold variations, was a familiar one to the conductors of boys’ journals at the period, for the Fleet Street author of the 70’s and 80’s of the last century was notoriously impecunious.  But he was the creator of much harmless amusement, and deserves to be not altogether forgotten.



Most of the old time periodicals, journals, papers, etc., which I have already enumerated and reviewed, were read and enjoyed as eagerly by mothers, grandmothers, cousins, and aunts as by our male relatives and friends, so that I am safe in asserting that they come under the same heading as the “Old Boys’ Periodicals,” etc.

In point of fact, such old periodicals as “The London Journal,” “London Reader,” “The Family Herald,” “Bow Bells,” “Every Week,” “Young Ladies’ Journal,” “Wedding Bells,” “The Cottage Journal,” “The Halfpenny Welcome Guest,” “Halfpenny Journal,” “London Review,” and many others were “taken in” and read, more by the female than the male sections of the public, although it is chiefly the latter who are now such ardent and keen collectors of this particular class of literature.

I have received quite a number of letters from men, who ask for information about certain authors, tales, and stories, and in what papers or books they originally appeared, and who say, “My dear old mother used to read them when we were boys.”  And in order to connect some period or connection of their family history.  Fortunately I have been enabled to help them and supply the information required, thereby rendering them happy and joining up some link in their lives.  I am afraid the rising generation will not have the same sentimental feeling towards publications of to-day.  Many of the lesser known or short periodicals and papers have not found their way into the library of the British Museum, consequently it is difficult to say much about them, and it is only from odd copies I have had the fortune to “pick up” at times that I am able to give a brief description of them.


Probably what was the first of its kind was


published in 1838 (16mo.), which ran to 13 numbers.  A new series (12mo.) followed in the same year.  It was, as may be imagined by its title, a very sedate and serious affair, and did not live very long.


It was not so interesting a work as


1832-33, neither was it illustrated.  The latter had some fine old coloured woodcuts which materially added to its value.



edited by J. and M. Bennett, 2 vols., London, 1857-58 (4to) followed by a new series, which however only ran to six numbers in 1858.  Afterwards it was continued under the title “The Companion of Youth,” 2 vols., 1858-60 (12mo.), followed by a new series, vols. 1-2, 1860-61 (12mo.).  It was of a semi-religious nature, and circulated chiefly in the private and boarding schools, and amongst the middle classes.

These early publications were certainly not of a sensational character.



The Ladies’ Favourite Companion.

Such was the full title of a periodical conceived and published by Mr. Edward Harrison, Merton House, Salisbury Square, Fleet Street.  No. 1, vol. 1, dated October 10, 1863, consisted of 16 pages, quarto size, the contents were serials, short tales, stories, passing events, home pastimes. “The Jesters Portfolio,” “The Model Housewife,” “Gossip with Correspondents,” “The Toilette,” and a little “padding.”  The serials were illustrated with the usual style of “wood cuts engravings,” and “copies of fine art pictures.”  A strong feature was “A Ladies’ Special Page of Fashion,” Crochet, Needlework, etc., illustrated, and on the end page a full score of original music for the pianoforte, songs, etc., together with the words.  Altogether a very creditable publication.  And it was doubtless from this that John Dicks remodelled the new series of “Bow Bells,” there being a strong similarity between the two publications.  I cannot give the titles of the serials in the first series of “The English Girls’ Journal,” nor the names of the authors or contributors.  There is no copy or record of the publication in the British Museum, and it is only through close research that I am able to give these details.  I have, however, acquired a copy of the new series, upon which I am enabled to speak more fully and authentically.

After running the “English Girls’ Journal” for a little over a year (59 numbers to be correct) Mr. Harrison sold it to Mr. William Laurence Emmett, who adopted the trade name of William Emmett Laurence, and with the assistance of his brothers, and possibly his sister, who were all ambitious to become journalists as described in my article No. 14 of January 25, 1919.  They certainly had some literary qualifications, as was evidenced by their subsequent writings.

The New Series of “The English Girls’ Journal” was published on December 5, 1864, by Edwin Bailey, at 45, Essex Street, Strand, Messrs. Kelly & Co., Old Boswell Court, St. Clements, W.C., being the printers.

The opening serial was entitled “A Wife’s Wrong,” by the author of “Emmeline’s Bridal,” etc.  “The Water Lily,” a simple love story, also commenced, and the continuation from Chapter 17 of “Woman’s Crime and Woman’s Victory,” from the first series.  In No. 4 “The Village Blacksmith,” a story for the Winter Fireside, and “The Hermit of the Marshes; or, the Mystery of the Cipher,” by William H. Hennals.

The Correspondents’ pages are continued from the first series, showing there was no break in the different issues.  The other features are continued, including the Music page, which was edited by Edward Evans Smith, a waltz, polka, or quadrille being given each other week, the intervening ones being taken up with songs, ballads, etc.  The titles of some of these were rather sentimental, such as—“Sweet Dream for ever past,” “A Mother’s Love,” “Our English Girls,” “The Emigrant’s Farewell,” “Summer Breezes,” “Let us part Friends,” etc., etc.  These oldtime dances and songs would sound a bit funny nowadays, along with up-to-date revue music and the “Jazz” dancing, “rag-time,” and other modern ideas of harmony and (save the word) “Art”!

The Fashion Plates look ridiculous to-day, and embodied weird ideas of dress:  if they lacked anything in artistic style and cut, they did not in substance, for some of the dresses must have required as much material as a dozen of the present-day airy costumes.  The design for curtains, d’Oyleys, chair covers, cushions, fichus, corsages, etc., etc., in crochet and fancy needlework were really works of art, and would put the modern girl in the shade in their execution.

In No. 9 commenced “Maid, Wife and Widow,” by George C. Brent, the pen name of one of the Brothers Emmett, possibly the celebrated “George,” who was the author of “The Water Lily,” etc.  In No. 13 commenced “Lady Alice, the Story of a Valentine,” by Ernest Brent, author of “Lost Lady Maude,” etc. (written expressly for the “Journal”); this author was Harry Emmett, the younger brother of the editor.

In Number 15, March 20, 1865, Mr. W. Eustace Laurence announces that he has become the sole proprietor of “The English Girls’ Journal.”  (He evidently had dropped the name of Emmett.)  He had, previous to this date, acted as editor, his name appearing as such at the heading to the Correspondence pages.  He further announces new features to the Journal, better paper, the illustrations to be the admired productions of some of our first artists (including F. Gilbert), the literary contents to comprise tales calculated to improve by their moral teaching, while they entertained by their pleasing interest:  essays, instructive and humorous, and discourses whose high tone and Christian teaching will render them valuable in every home.

October 30, 1920.

The Editor of the “Young Lady’s Journal” further announces the publication of a new series of the “English Girls’ Journal,” in which Ernest Brent (his brother) the talented author of “Lost Lady Maude,” “Lady Loo’s Lover,” etc., will commence in the first number under the title of “The Lady of Derwent,” the story of a woman’s love; also one by Mr. George Brent (another brother), author of “The Water Lily,” etc., entitled “St. Leonard’s Priory.”  Another brother, under the name of Robert Brent, became the publisher, at the same office in Essex Street; possibly the sister was the Madame Manston who had charge of the Fashions, toilette, dress and fancy work department.

The “Journal,” therefore, became a family affair, and it is safe to say that this was the beginning of the Emmetts’ success, which was destined to become so famous amongst a certain class of readers.

In the meantime George Brent contributed “Little Bertha, the May Day Queen,” in the concluding numbers of the first New Series.

On Monday, May 8, 1865, the New Series mentioned (making the third series) under a slightly different heading, “Our English Girls’ Journal and Lady’s Magazine,” replaced the old one.  In addition to the serials already mentioned, there appeared “The Prairie Bride,” by the author of “Shipwrecked Willie”—who also contributed “Lady Nell’s Masquerade.”  Another serial was “Stuart Ainslie; or the Shadow of Crime,” by Louisa Shannon.

In No. 13, July 31, 1865, on page 210, appeared the seven column love story entitled “Annie Fletcher; or Who Did Win,” by Edward Harcourt Burrage (anonymously) described by him in his valuable little work “The Ruin of Fleet Street,” and mentioned in my article, No. 17, February 15, 1919, and for which he was paid the “magnificent” sum of 35/-.  This was his first literary effort to appear in print.

Amongst the remaining serials in the volume was “Twice Rejected, or the Lost Will,” by Etta W. Pierce, and “Wife or No Wife, or the Old Cathedral Chimes,” by W. Eustace Laurence, author of “Conquered by Love,” etc.

How long the “Journal” ran I cannot say; my file ends at No. 19, New Series, September 11, 1865.  Taken on the whole it was not a bad production, although not so “classy” as some of its competitors.  I believe there are very few copies in existence, so I consider myself very fortunate in possessing one from which I have been able to give these details, and, I hope, added a little more to the history of “Oldtime Periodicals.”



In a previous article I only briefly touched upon this fine old periodical simply because I did not consider it to belong to the sensational section of oldtime literature.  I will therefore now describe it more fully.

Soon after disposing of “The English Girls’ Journal,” Mr. Edward Harrison started the “Young Ladies’ Journal,” and to describe it fully I cannot do better than give the full title and description as it appears on the title page to Volume I.

“The Young Ladies’ Journal.”  An illustrated Magazine of Entertaining Literature, Original Music, Toilet and Household Receipts.  Every description of Paris Fashions and Needlework, with Magnificent Supplementary Volume containing full-size Patterns for Ladies’ and Children’s dresses, etc., and coloured plates of Fashion and Berlin Work direct from Paris.  Published by E. Harrison, Merton House, Salisbury Square, London, E.C.

Publishers believed in long titles in those days.

No. 1, Vol. 1, April 13, 1864, and the vols. I have inspected certainly bear the descriptive title page out to the letter.  The fashion plates were works of art, especially those in colour.

The serials in Vol. 1 were “True and Tried,” “Mary Gray,” “The Golden Clasp,” “Kelvin Grove,” “Married in Secret,” “Agatha; or, Pride of Birth.”

The illustrations were of a high order, and altogether it was a firstclass production.

The “Journal” is, I believe, still in circulation, having reached to No. 2,882, Vol. 94.  This is truly a record worthy to be proud of.  I wonder if anyone possesses a complete run?

“The Young Ladies’ Journal Language of Flowers poetically arranged,” was published in nine parts, 12mo, in 1869.  “The Young Ladies’ Journal Library of Works of Fiction,” in 3 vols., 8vo, was published in 1892, and “The Butterfly Series of Complete Stories” from the Journal was published, 8vo, in 1895.

The Journal has remained in the hands of the same firm of publishers from the commencement, possibly handed down from father to son, and it is marvellous that an oldtime periodical should still be in existence for so long a period as fifty-five years.  It has entertained, benefitted, and, let us hope, educated nearly three generations, and, like the celebrated play of “Charley’s Aunt,” is still running as well as ever.  It can safely be called an “Old Girls’ Periodical,” albeit there is a contrast between Volumes 1 and 94.



I include this well-known and exceedingly well-conducted periodical in my “Peeps into the Past,” because of its long and honourable period of publication.  No. 1 was issued on Thursday, January 1, 1852, and it ran as a weekly till 1905, making 54 volumes in all.  It had a very large sale, and was very popular in thousands of homes, more particularly amongst the middle classes.  Issued at the popular price of one penny, its contributors were of first rank.  It was also published in monthly parts, with each of which was presented a coloured or toned plate very well printed.  In a volume before me (dated 1878) there is a serial entitled “Lombardy Court:  a story of the City and the Sea,” which ran for six months, and was followed by shorter ones, “A Chapter of Accidents,” “Miss Pilkington,” and “Stephen Mitchell” (a Florida story by Mrs. S. S. Robins).  Biographical sketches of well-known people and an illustrated series on the great public schools of England were other leading features.  The miscellaneous articles included:  Practical Social Science, English Folklore, Natural History Notes, Utopias or Schemes of Social Improvement, and a mass of shorter contributions on instructive lines, making altogether one of the most interesting periodicals of the day.



This little-known periodical (only to a certain class of reader) was published in March 1869.  It was a rather smart, racy, sporty and satirical publication, issued monthly, price 6d.  The chief value lay in its illustrations, which were very fine, and of a similar character to those in “Punch,” and other classy papers.  No names of artists (nor of authors) were given, so I have not been able to find out who they were, but they were clever, beyond a doubt:  neither did the cover, nor pages, bear the name of the publisher or printers, so its production remains a mystery.  It was published at 343, Strand, for the first few numbers, and afterwards at 183, Strand.

It contained no serials, but articles and short tales, among the latter being “The Plain Gold Ring,” “Two and Two,” “The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Men,” “The Wooing and the Waning:  or, The Best and the Worst of Him.”  The articles included “American Girls of the Period,” “The Flirt of the Period,” “German Girls of the Period,” “Tourist Girls of the Period,” and (separately) “Irish,” “Welsh,” “French,” “Factory,” “The Chaperon,” “English,” “Scotch,” “London,” and “The Evangelical Girls of the Period,” etc., etc.

The set in the British Museum finished at No. 9, November, 1869; whether more were issued after that date I am not able to say.



This well-conducted and popular Periodical was first published on January 3, 1880, by “The Leisure Hour” Proprietor, 56, Paternoster Row; the opening serial being “Zara; or, My Grandmother’s Money.”  Presentation plates were included in the monthly parts, one of these being the portrait of the Princess Victoria, copied from the original in the possession of H. M. the King of the Belgians.  The present year makes the fortieth volume.  I need not enlarge upon the work, as it is still widely known.  Suffice it to say that its literature in the early volumes was of an exceedingly high order, and the present-day volumes keep up to its initial standard.



This was another first-class production, but produced at a later date; very smart, sensible and interesting.  Vol. 1 was published by Messrs. Hutchinson & Co., 34, Paternoster Row, in 1899, and amongst its features were articles and plates relating to the home life of the Prince and Princess of Wales and family at Marlborough House and Sandringham, etc. with fine portraits of T. R. H. Princess Margaret and Patricia of Connaught.  The last vol. (No. 204, Vol. 17), 1915, in the British Museum was published by Cassell & Co.


Going back to the Journals which appealed to the working classes I will mention


which was a periodical that had nothing whatever to do with “The Young Men of Great Britain.”  The copy in the British Museum commences at No. 129, Vol. 4, August 15, 1871, and was published by Messrs. Wyman and Sons, Lincoln’s Inn Steam Printing Works, and also by George Vickers.  It was of the ordinary type of publication, and “Dress and Fashion,” which constituted its second title, figured largely in its pages.

Amongst its numerous serials may be mentioned “Dolly and Flora; or School Friends,” by the author of “Dead Love Letters,” “Will He:  or will He not,” etc., “The Saffords of Safford Hall,” by the author of “Lord Harcourt’s Revenge,” etc., “A Mystery of Iniquity,” “The Life of an Actress,” an autobiography, “Henrietta of Effingham; or The Heiress of Oaklands,” by the author of “Drydale Manor,” etc., “Family Frauds,” and “The Strange Betrothal; or, A Cousin’s Love.”  The last number in the British Museum is 154, Vol. 6, January 27, 1872, possibly it was discontinued soon afterwards.  The illustrations were passably good, but some of them had evidently done service elsewhere.  I recognised a few of them that had previously appeared as illustrations to “The Star Chamber,” by Harrison Ainsworth in “The Home Companion,” Vol. 1, 1853.


November 6, 1920.


Was another equally well-known and highly respected periodical, which first saw the light on March 3, 1854, and enjoyed a long and successful career.



This short-lived periodical was produced by George Emmett, No. 1 being dated September 19, 1871.  The opening serial was “George Englefield’s Wife,” no author mentioned.  The illustrations and general “get-up” were pretty fair, but the journal failed to attract and ceased publication after a few numbers had been issued.  It was doubtless published in opposition to one of Edwin J. Brett’s publications, also entitled “The Belles of England,” for at this period there was a very strong rivalry between the two publishers.  Anyway, it had but a short existence, whilst Brett’s journals generally “took root,” and became very popular.



This was not a periodical or journal, but a really first-class production, for Edwin J. Brett.  Published in 1872, it consisted of 400 pages, 6¼ x 9, was well printed, and exceedingly well illustrated, with countless plain and coloured plates.  The contents were divided into sections dealing with Cookery, Legal Advice, Home Medicine, Our Letter Writer, Diet, Carving, and numerous others, all appertaining to the management of the home, and the wife’s department in the same.  One or two short serials ran in it as well.  Altogether it was not only an attractive but a most useful and valuable publication.



This was published in 1878, and edited by Joseph W. Darton and published by W. Wells Gardner, Paternoster Buildings.  It was finely illustrated by G. L. Seymour, W. A. Cranston, H. T. Rhodes, W. H. Cummings and H. T. A. Miles.  One of its serials was entitled “Miss Dorothy’s Mistake.”  The general “get-up” was very good.  Mr. Darton afterwards joined the firm which became Wells, Gardner, Darton and Co., and some time about 1900 he became the sole surviving partner.  He died a few years ago, and the business is now controlled by his son.



A Journal for Single and Married everywhere.

This was one of Edwin J. Brett’s best productions and greatest successes.  No. 1 was published on March 15, 1881, and it ran to over 33 volumes.  (Some of the later volumes were printed at the London and County Works, Drury Lane).  Like all the other journals produced by Mr. Brett, it was well conducted and well illustrated.  It was neither sensational not sentimental, but of a nature that could be enjoyed by father, mother, son, or daughter.  The serials in Vol. 1 comprised “She dare not Confess to it” (the opening one), “My Little Lady Love,” “Bertie Larchington’s Mission,” “The Strange Woman,” “Which was the Sinner,” “Spitfire,” “Can Wrong be Right?”  The other features were a series of articles dealing with “The History of Beautiful Women,” “What the World is doing,” “Our Critic at the Play,” Fashions, correspondence, etc., etc.  Coloured and plain presentation plates were frequently given away, and an astounding feature, to which its success was certainly due, was the gift of a 12 page (with one illustration) novelette with each number, making a total of 28 quarto pages each week for a penny.  It was truly a wonderful value and a striking instance of Mr. Brett’s enterprise.  Small wonder that it became immensely popular.

It would be too great a task to attempt to give a tithe of the titles of the very many serials that appeared throughout its long and well remembered career.  Many of its old readers will, I hope, be satisfied with my brief description of it.  Should any of them, however, wish to know more about any special tales, story or romance, which ran in it, and the date of the same, I should be pleased to assist them and give them more details.

A new series, 8vo size, was published by E. J. Brett, Ltd., 67, Long Acre, W.C., on July 4, 1908, but only ran till December 25, 1909.



This was another of Mr. Brett’s popular publications.  No. 1 was published March 9, 1886, and ran to 100 Nos. in 4 vols., Jan 31, 1888.  Each number was separate in itself and contained a complete tale or story, well illustrated.  Coloured and plain presentation plates were frequently given away.  This, too, was republished in 8vo. size by E. J. Brett & Co., Ltd., Harkaway House, West Harding Street, Fetter Lane, in 1905 and 1906, but only ran to 104 numbers.



This was another venture by Edwin J. Brett in 1891, but it was a rather short-lived publication.  The title was probably against its success.



A Magazine of Fiction, Fashion, Music, etc.

Printed by Cox and Wyman, 74-75, Great Queen Street, and published at 248, Strand, W.C.  No. 1 was dated December 16, 1864.  This was not by any means a sensational publication, although its title is akin to Emmett’s “Young Englishman.”  It was a high-toned, well conducted periodical, consisting of 24 4to pages closely printed, with no illustrations, except a few of fashions, patterns of needlework, etc.  The contents consisted of serials, short tales, poems, reviews, household management, “Our Drawing-room,” and sheets of music, correspondence, etc.  The opening serial was “David Garrick,” a love story, “The Inquest,” by a member of the O’Hara family, and the music in No. 1 was “The Kindly Greeting Waltz” by S. Holland, and “The Last Rose of Summer,” by T. Moore.  Other serials were, “Conscience at Fault,” “Eugenie Grandet,” “Leo’s Marriage,” “Madame Durelle,” “The Marrynett Girls,” “Miss Crosby’s Matchmaking,” “Pere Bagnerie,” “The True History of a Little Ragamuffin,” “Are they his Daughters?” “Miss Addy’s Match,” and several others.  Coloured and plain plates were given away occasionally.  The music scores comprised some fine old songs, waltzes, polkas, mazurkas, etc.  The journal only ran to 57 numbers, Jan. 27, 1866.  A new series was published in 1867 in 8vo size which ran to 3 vols., 1869.  A second new series, consisting of 8 vols., lasted from 1870 to 1877, when it was continued under the new title of



Quarto size, 14 vols., 1878 to 1891.  New series of same, 1 vol. 1892, and again another new series, which only ran to 24 numbers, 1893-94, when it was discontinued.  Throughout its lengthy career it maintained a high standard of excellency and high tone.  The journal is well known to many old readers.  The first series was known as “Sylvia’s Home Journal.”



A Journal for the Single and Married of the United Kingdom.

I mentioned this extremely popular journal in article 11, January 4, of this year.  I wish to add that it ran to 465 numbers in 19 vols., the last being dated Oct 24, 1879.  The last serials, “Little Miss Innocent,” “Cruelly Tempted,” and “A Leap for Love; or, Won by Witchcraft,” were not completed.  The last number contains the continuation of “The Ladies’ Sunday Reader,” and “The Home Herald,” two of Mr. Brett’s “misfires,” which only enjoyed a brief existence, but will doubtless be remembered by some old readers.  In connection with this publication, Mr. Brett started “Wedding Bells Novelette,” which had a fair success.



Amongst these may be mentioned “THE GIRLS’ QUARTERLY,” a paper for workers, with which is incorporated “FRIENDLY WORK,” 8vo size, 1894 to 1901.

“THE GIRLS’ OWN MESSENGER,” edited by Ymal Oswin, 1895:  a rather sedate and short-lived affair.

“THE YOUNG WOMAN:  a monthly Journal and Review,” conducted by F. A. Atkins, 8vo, 1892.

“THE GIRLS’ EMPIRE.”  An annual volume for English speaking girls all over the World.  8vo.  A very fine work, which ran to 3 vols., 1902 to 1904.

This concludes my review of Old Girls’ Papers.  I may have missed some that appeal to some individuals more than others, for there was a goodly number published during the seventies and eighties of the nineteenth century.  But copies of all of them have not reached the Library of the British Museum, or I should have been able to locate them.  On this account I must apologise to those whom I disappoint.  I have, however, been able to review most of the well-known old favourites whose titles, if not the contents, are familiar to thousands of middle aged persons.

The present-day publications of a similar nature or object, fail to attract the old readers equally as do the old periodicals and journals the new and rising generations, who simply regard them as curiosities.  Periodicals, journal, papers, and magazines, as well as newspapers, must change with the times.  They are like the fashion plates in some of the old journals mentioned, they are “out-of-date,” “old-fashioned,” and “queer-looking.”  Some call them “guys,” “ugly sights,” “monstrosities,” etc., but in spite of all these adverse modern criticisms, there is a charm, pleasure, delight and, shall I call it, joy? in handling, examining, and reading these old “Milestones of the Past.”

There is one thing to be said:  they are worth looking at, if only to see what wealth of literature the earlier readers obtained for their money; a most striking comparison of the present-day periodicals, journals, and papers, whose contents are half reading matter and half advertisements, the latter being almost offensively brought before your notice on each other leaf or page.  There is too much commercialatism about them; they have not the same charm that characterises the older ones.  The “advts.” rob them of whatever redeeming features they have, and I very greatly doubt whether many of them will be bound up in volumes and handed down to future posterity in the same manner as many of the older ones have been.  Advertisements are very well in their way, and doubtless do their estimated work, but in my humble opinion they bring the literary value of the paper down to zero.  It is, however, the modern fashion, and of course we must submit to it.


November 13, 1920.


In my last article I referred to a Journal issued by Wyman’s, called “The Young Ladies of Great Britain,” but from particulars I have since obtained that paper was evidently the one I now propose to deal with, but under changed proprietorship.  It is possible that Wyman’s secured the copyright as security for debts, as it was customary in those days, when proprietors owed money for them to assign the copyright for security.  Paper-makers of the seventies and eighties often took over journals in this way until such time as debts were cleared.  The enterprise of Mr. William Laurence Emmett in publishing “The English Girls’ Journal, and Magazine,” having fizzled out during the latter part of 1865, that gentleman did not make any further attempt to publish another ladies’ periodical until he conceived the idea of “The Young Ladies of Great Britain,” no doubt as a kind of “set off” against Edwin J. Brett’s celebrated “Young Men of Great Britain,” which was first published, as mentioned in Article No. 13, on January 28, 1868.  Mr. Emmett, who traded under the name of William Emmett Laurence, had already published “The Young Gentlemen of Great Britain,” Oct. 24, 1868, but apparently this periodical had not achieved the favour of the readers from whom he had hoped to obtain the necessary support.  So he conceived the idea of producing and publishing another girls’ periodical, and with the assistance of his brother Robert Emmett (who assumed and wrote under the name Ernest Brent, doubtless to lessen any confusion arising from the name Emmett) launched “The Young Ladies of Great Britain,” No. 1, on Feb. 20, 1869, the printers being the National Steam Printing Co., 11, Crane Court, Fleet Street, both of whom had previously assisted the proprietor in his various publications.

The title heading was rather attractive, the full title being “Illustrated Treasury for Young Ladies of Great Britain,” conducted by Ernest Brent, the periodical consisting of 16 pages usual quarto size, on toned paper.  The opening serial was “The Fair Bride of Netherby,” by Ernest Brent, author of “Milly Lee,” (which appeared in Harrison’s “Young Ladies’ Journal”), “The Curate of Arlingford,” “Waiting for the Tide,” etc.  The other serial was “Strayed Away,” by the same author.  They were very well illustrated; the remainder of the contents were “Fancy Ornamental Articles and how to make them,” “A Packet of Valentines,” some short tales, “The Household,” “The Paris Fashions,” “Poetry,” “Our Letter Basket,” “Correspondence,” a little padding and several illustrations, music scores, sketches for fashions, needlework, etc.:  a tolerably good pennyworth, far in advance and value to many of the present-day periodicals, which are half advertisements placed amongst the reading matter.

In the correspondence column of No. 3, in answer to “Minerva,” appears the following:  “You are misinformed.  The first penny periodical really devoted to the ladies was the ‘English Girls’ Journal,’ edited by Mr. W. Emmett Laurence, who wrote ‘Woman’s Devotion,’ ‘The Three Maidens,’ etc.”

This statement is rather singular, as it has always been understood that W. Emmett Laurence purchased the “English Girls’ Journal” from Mr. Edward Harrison, who afterwards founded “The Young Ladies’ Journal” in its place.

In No. 4 “Cynthia’s Rival” appeared (no author given), and in No. 5, March 20, the very fine serial “The Pet of the School,” an amusing tale with humorous illustrations.  In No. 9 “Lady Kildare” and “Girls of the Day” from photographic albums; No. 12, “Lilias Forrester, of Love’s Victory”; No. 17, June 12, “David Long’s Courtship,” by Ernest Brent, finely illustrated, as indeed all the leading serials were, presumably by Maguire although his name does not appear.

At this period the publisher’s name is given as “George Brent,” most probably George Emmett, the brother of the proprietor, and the editor, and it is the only instance that the writer has found where George Emmett appears as a publisher.

Vol. 1 ran to 26 Nos., 418 pp., and in No. 27, Vol. 2, Aug. 21, appeared “Married; or, The Circlet of Gold,” a fine tale divided into two parts, part one being “The Lady Adela.”  In No. 30 “The History of Female Costumes and Ornament,” profusely illustrated; No. 31, Sept. 18, “Doctor Andrew Lorimer,” by William Stephen Hayward, one of the last, if not the vary last, tales this talented and popular author wrote.  No. 34, “Minnie Maythorne,” be Ernest Brent, and the story of “Willow Pattern Plate,” both well illustrated.  In No. 41, Nov. 27, “Funny Falkland,” by Ernest Brent, and the second part (nineteen years after) of “Married; or, The Circlet of Gold.”  In No. 46 (a double Christmas number) “The Little Lady,” by the author of “The Pet of the School,” the extra number containing “The Stories of Five Poor Minstrels,” whom fate and bad weather imprisoned in Holly Dale Manor House, illustrated by “Phiz.”  The title page to the number was finely illustrated by H. Maguire (signed).

Another double number was issued with the New Year, 1870, with a similar title page, and containing short tales by Ernest Brent, Sydney French, and others.  In No. 51 appeared “Seymour Haywood’s Secret,” and with No. 52, Feb. 12, 1870, Vol. 2 ends at page 448.  This is made a double Valentine number, and contains a short tale by E. Harcourt Burrage, entitled “A Little Error.”

In No. 53, Vol. 3, commenced “Sweetbriar,” by Ernest Brent; No. 59, “Amy’s Love Story,” by Annie Clare.  In No. 62, April 22, appeared the announcement of the publishing of “The Sons of Britannia,” and the readers are asked to call the attention of their younger brothers, gentlemen friends and relatives generally to become subscribers.  In 64, May 7, appeared “Winnie Clive’s Fortunes,” by the authoress of “Amy’s Love Story,” splendidly illustrated by “Phiz.”  In the following No., “The Country Cousin”; in 66, “Wild Coral,” a novel in three parts, by “an author of great power,” part 1—“Out of the Shadow,” the illustrations being some of Maguire’s best work, and “Hester’s Breach of Faith,” no author, but illustrated by Phiz.  In No. 71, “Love’s Rebellion,” also illustrated by Phiz, and these tales give one the impression that, having acquired some illustrations from “Phiz” the tales were written around them.  No. 73, July 9, “Little Pickle,” by the author of “The Little Lady,” “Pet of the School,” etc.  With No. 75 the publisher’s name is changed from George Brent to W. G. S. Urquhart.

With No. 78 a peculiarity appeared, for, although Vol. 3 reached to 416 pages, the next No. commenced at page 1, and was still Vol. 3.  (Probably the printer omitted to alter the figure).  In this appeared “Goldenhair:  the Story of a Poor Girl’s Love,” no author given and on page 16, under date Aug. 20, 1870, appeared the announcement of the death of W. Stephens Hayward, the author of “Doctor Andrew Lorimer,” etc., etc., after a long and painful illness, borne with unflinching fortitude.  The tale, “Dead Love Letters,” a romance, appeared in the same number.  In 89, Vol. 3, Oct. 29, “Valeria, or the Christian Martyr,” a tale of love and faith, by Charles Stevens, which, however, only ran to eleven chapters, finishing in No. 92.

At this period some changes were evidently taking place in the proprietorship of the paper, for a notice appears stating that it will be published at 10 and 11 Crane Court, Fleet St., instead of 145 Fleet St.  The printers are given as Lake & Clench.

In No. 93 appeared the announcement of “the new and high-class Journal,” “The Sons of Old England,” containing splendid tales by Ernest Brent and other popular authors, 16 pages, on toned paper, price 1d.

The serial, “True to the Last, the romance of a Woman’s Heart,” by Harry Le Mayne, who had apparently become the editor, and “Will He, or Will He Not?” by author of “Dead Love Letters,” commenced in this No., and in No. 100, “Driven from Home:  or Was She to Blame?” by Bracebridge Hemyng (Jack Harkaway), author of “Better Late than Never,” “A Daughter to Marry,” etc.  The volume ends at No. 104, Feb. 11, 1871, and was really a double volume in point of numbers.  Vol. 4 commenced with No. 105, and opens with the serial “Kitty” by Ernest Brent, and “For Ever,” by the author of “The Pet of the School,” etc.  In 114, April 22, appeared “Deadly Dearle,” and with this number another change took place, the back page being taken up with “an apology to the thousands of subscribers in respect to the eccentricity of the present number.”  It goes on to state that within a brief period the management of the journal had changed, and the ropes that had formerly been ready to hand have got misplaced and somewhat in disorder.  The ship, however, is by no means cast away and with a fresh addition to the crew we mean to brace up staunch and taut, and send her along as before, etc.

Messrs. Wyman and Sons, Lincoln’s Inn, were the printers, and the publishing office was given as 145, Fleet Street.

The general get-up of the journal now became commonplace, and a lot of padding appeared, the usual indication of expense cutting.  The only serials worthy of note were “Dolly and Flora:  or School Friends,” “Born to a Coronet,” and “Lost and Found.”  Illustrations in the middle pages had disappeared, their places being taken by portraits, copies of works of art, etc., many of which had done service elsewhere.  Towards the end, George Vickers, Angel Court, Strand, became the distributor to the trade, and the editorial office was removed to 74-75, Great Queen Street.  In No. 132, “The Saffords of Safford Hall,” by the author of “Lord Harcourt’s Revenge,” appeared, and “The Life of an Actress, an autobiography,” was announced, but whether it ever appeared the writer does not know.  He is of opinion that the publication ceased to exist after Aug. 19, 1871, after a most chequered and ever-changing career.

The journal is a very scarce item, there being few copies in existence, not one of which has found its way to the British Museum.

The writer has been able to give this description of the periodical from copies in his possession.  A redeeming feature is the entire absence of the matrimonial advertisements, that were encouraged in its contemporary journals, and if it was a little sentimental in its character, it merely represented the spirit of the period in which it appeared.


November 20, 1920.


This short-lived periodical was produced and published by Ralph Rollington (John A. Allingham), proprietor of “The Boys’ World,” and “Our Boys’ Paper,” at 29, Farringdon Street and 16, Bear Alley, E.C.  No. 1 appeared on Wednesday, November 5, 1879, and consisted of the usual 16 quarto pages, fully illustrated.  It was exceedingly well got-up, and most interestingly edited, but for some reason it did not “catch on.”  The heading was a very attractive one.  The opening story was “Virtue’s Victory,” a complete tale that occupied half the entire space of the journal.  The remainder of the contents comprised “A True British Girl,” by Mrs. Lewis, “The Editor’s Address,” “The Young Queen of Spain,” “Parisian Dress and Fashion,” “The Young Lady’s Column,” “Our Grand Prize Distribution,” “Family and Domestic Column,” Subjects for Smiles, the Lessons of Mamma-in-Law, poetry, games, correspondence, etc.  The second complete story was “Mabel’s Triumph,” the third, “A Living Portrait.”  With No. 5 the title was changed to “The Girls’ World and Young Ladies’ Companion,” and a few numbers later it became “The Ladies’ World.”  Although gifts were made of a large 32 page book of Fashion, containing over 1000 patterns, also a magnificent plate of H.R.H. the Princess of Wales and the five royal children and other attractions, it apparently failed to secure readers, and only ran for about 26 numbers.  It was then merged into “The Lady’s Novelette,” which was described as a beautiful 16-paged journal for the ladies of England, splendidly illustrated, and bound in a handsome pink wrapper—one of the best novelettes ever published.  Each number contained a complete story of intense interest, and the subscribers to “The Boys’ World” were asked to introduce the journal to their mothers, sisters and friends.  No. 1, with which was incorporated “The Ladies’ World,” was issued on Saturday, May 15, 1880 the first story being “Through Stormy Weather”; the second from the pen of Mr. John Holloway, entitled “Golden Coils:  or, Twice Wed, Twice Dead;”  the third, “Her only Secret;”  the fourth, “Loved Once, Loved Ever;” the fifth “The Love Test;” soon after which the publication appears to have run dry, as the writer cannot trace any numbers after 26.  The girls of that period preferred to read their brothers’ papers rather than support one of their own.  No doubt this was partly due to their pocket money being limited to pennies, as the parents did not allow their fair progeny to run wild, as the majority of the fair sex do to-day.



Conducted by George Emmett.

The great rivalry existing between the various publishers of girls’ periodicals in the early seventies most probably induced George Emmett to enter into the field of competition with his “Belles of England,” which was first published on September 10, 1871, and to which I have already referred.  It was practically a resuscitation of the “English Girls’ Journal,” and followed on the same lines.  The title heading was very elegantly engraved with miniature portraits of three ladies, bearing a strong resemblance to some of the royal blood.  With No. 14 however, the design was altered, and in place of the portraits appeared a young lady surrounded with three Cupids.  This continued till No. 33, when another design, consisting of the title, “Belles of England,” with the subtitle, “A Young Ladies’ Illustrated Magazine,” took the place of the lady and the Cupids.  A sub-title, reading “Belles of England—a Journal of Literature, Music, and Fashion for the Ladies of Great Britain,” continued on the back page.

The periodical throughout was printed by Messrs. Woodfall and Kinder, Milford Lane, Strand, W.C., and published by Charles Fox at Hogarth House, Fetter Lane, E.C.  It consisted of 16 pages usual quarto size, and its principal illustration was by Maguire.  Other artists, with the initials W. R., M. P., and R. B. also contributed.  Perhaps some of the old readers will be able to give their full names.  The first was probably W. Reynolds.  The illustrations upon the whole were excellent, but after No. 36, some of them became very commonplace, several having previously appeared in other periodicals, including Emmett publications such as “The Young Englishman,” “Young Briton,” etc.

The opening serial in No. 1, Sept. 10, 1871, were “George Englefield’s Wife,” “The Cluster of Brilliants,” and “A Rustic Beauty,” none of which bears any author’s name.  The other contents consisted of some poetry, including four verses of ten lines each by Charles Stevens, entitled “Belles of England,” “Our Album,” being a series of imaginary portraits, the male character being resplendant with glorious Dundreary whiskers and curly hair parted down the middle, which I believe was the prevailing fashion of the period, but which appears somewhat ancient to the modern style of hair cutting.  The same applies to the huge chignons worn by the ladies.  I wonder what the present day flapper would think of them if fashion decreed they were to be worn again?

The remaining contents were “Household Matters,” “Our Belles Letter Box,” “Our Belles at Home,” “Our Belles Own Sphinx,” “The Bachelor’s A.B.C.,” “Croquet Belles,” and “Croquet Beaux,” “Our Bazaar, a Medium for Barter, Sale, and Exchange,” “Belles Fashion Page,” illustrated, “Belles of England Music,” some short tales and a little padding, and a correspondence page completed the number.  The correspondence was conducted upon sound rational lines, with no sensational or sentimental gushing features, such as matrimonial offers and the like.

With each monthly part, price 9d., were presented “Cut out Patterns,” coloured fashion plates, sheets of music, and “The Belles of England Treasury.”

George Emmett’s name disappeared with Number 27, and an Editress took command, and introduced “A Chat upon Fashion.”  In the following number she made the following announcement:—

“The Editress will be most happy to answer all questions which may be asked by correspondents relating to fashion.  The different styles of dress, combination of colours, needle work of all kinds, the arrangement of the hair, etiquette, in short, everything of especial interest to ‘England’s Belles.’”

In No. 28, “A Guide to Etiquette,” written by “a Lady of the Court of Queen Victoria,” commences.  Also a series of easy lessons in French by a professor, and the chats upon fashion are better illustrated.  And every purchaser of this particular number received a ticket entitling the holder to participate in “Our Grand Prize Distribution” of £500 in money, pianofortes, sewing-machines, ladies’ gold watches, chains, gem rings and other valuable articles.

The prizes were to be seen at Messrs. C. Hampton & Co., Charlotte Street, Fitzroy Square, and Mr. S. Davis’s Manufactory, Period House, Boro’, and 8, Hackney Road.

Apparently some new blood had been infused in the management, but in spite of all these inducements the paper did not catch on, but, like others of Emmett’s publications, it died comparatively young, for it only ran to 52 numbers, Vol. 2, September 7, 1872.  On the back page of the last number appeared the following announcement:—

“With number 53 a new series of ‘The Belles of England’ will begin a new volume, on superior toned paper, of a size expressly suited to the tastes of out fair supporters, and to inaugurate the new series a superfine engraving representing the parting between Amy Robsart and her lover, Dudley, Earl of Leicester, will be presented gratis to every purchaser of the number ready on September 11, 1872.”

Whether this new series ever saw the light the writer does not know, but he is rather inclined to think it failed to mature.  At any rate he cannot trace it.

Vol. 1 of the first series ran to 32 numbers, 512 pages, and Vol. 2 to 20 numbers, ending at page 320.

The journal contains some capital serials, apart from those already mentioned, the principal ones being as follows.  In No. 9, “Twice at the Altar,” by Ernest Brent, author of “Strayed Away,” “Milly Lee,” “Curate of Arlingford,” “Waiting for the Tide,” etc.  No. 14, “Nelly’s Faith,” by author of “Rustic Beauty,” No. 18, “The Rival Belles,” by Mrs. Emma Kirk, No. 20, “Under Suspicion:  or, The Death Mystery,” by Henry Stoddard, No. 21, “A Shattered Idol,” no author given, No. 24, “Jenny Vere,” by Ernest Brent, announced as “the ladies’ favourite writer.”  No. 28, “Broken Vows,” by Mrs. Gordon Smythies (American) author of “Our Mary,” “The Woman in Black” (both of which appeared in the LONDON JOURNAL), “A Runaway Match,” etc.  No. 31, “Nelly, the Money Lender’s Daughter”(no author), No. 35, “Sybil the Actress,” No. 38, “All the World Against Her,” by the author of “Ella St. Maur,” “Better Days in Store,” etc.  No. 40, “The Girls of Lovelark School,” being a series of sketches of schoolgirl life, full of fun and frolic, no author’s name mentioned, but the sketches follow after the style of “Tom Wildrake’s Schooldays,” and are similarly illustrated.  No. 45, “The Diamond Cross:  or, Lost and Found.”  No. 46, “The Little Countess,”  and “True Heart,” a story of love and faith.  No. 42 [sic], part 3, “Nelly, the Moneylender’s Daughter.”  No. 50 “Forbidden Love.”  The authors’ names are not given to the last mentioned.  Other tales by Ernest Brent were announced, but apparently did not appear.  The same applies to one entitled “Blue Eyed Jessie,” by the author of “A Shattered Idol,” which, although announced, did not see the light.  Perhaps, they were held in reserve for the new Series.

It will be seen that although the “Belles of England” is held in great veneration by some of its old readers, doubtless upon sentimental grounds, its literary value was no greater than several of its contemporaries; in fact, the writer’s opinion is that it did not by any means give the same value as “Wedding Bells,” or “The Young Ladies’ Journal,” but was probably published for the purpose of splitting up the sales and interest of the other girls’ periodicals.

The writer is greatly indebted to Mr. T. Keane, of New Cross, for the loan of his two volumes, by which he has been enabled to give these particulars, and from his (the writer’s) knowledge and experience of the old journals, he is of opinion that Mr. Keane’s copies are the only ones of this scarce work in existence, or at any rate, in such perfect condition of preservation.


November 27, 1920.

VII.           APPENDIX II.




Tales for British Boys.

Several correspondents have written asking me to give a review of this once very popular periodical, and having copies of the entire issue, I am enabled to comply with this request.

No. 1, Vol. 1, edited by W. H. G. Kingston, was published on January 1, 1880, and consisted of 16 pages of the usual quarto sheets, the price being one penny.

The opening serial was “Paddy Finn, or the Exploits and Adventures of an Irish Midshipman, Afloat and Ashore,” by the Editor, illustrated by P. Atkinson, the other serials being “With Fire and Sword:  a tale of the Russo-Turkish War,” by one who went through it; “Times of Peril:  a tale of India,” by G. A. Henty, special war correspondent of “The Standard,” author of “The Young Burglars,” “The Young Franc-Tireurs,” “Out on the Pampas,” etc.; the remainder of the contents being “The Magician’s Apprentice:  an old tale retold,” by Ascott R. Hope, author of “Stories of Westminster,” “Young Heads on Old Shoulders,” “The Men of the Backwoods,” etc., Editor’s Box, and no padding.  The tales and illustrations occupied the whole sixteen pages.  Published by Griffith and Farran (successors to Newbery & Harris), West Corner, St. Paul’s Churchyard.  From the first issue the paper jumped into popularity amongst the juvenile section of the public, and it must have had a very big initial send-off.

With No. 19, Mr. G. A. Henty became the editor owing to the severe illness of Mr. Kingston, and a new title-heading was engraved for No. 23.  The serials named ran through the forty numbers forming Vol. 1, the other serials calling for special notice being “Facing Death:  a tale of the Coal Mines,” by G. A. Henty, in No. 16; “Farnborough Grange and the Boys there,” by Bernard Heldmann, in No. 32; and “A Search for the Mountain of Gold,” by J. M. Murphy, an Irish novelist, in No. 27.  The remainder were short tales by Vernon Fielding, Harry Collingwood, J. T. W. Bacon, D. Christie Murray, and R. M. Ballantyne—all of whom have since become famous.  The numbers were collected and bound in one volume, the full title being “The Union Jack:  a Magazine of Healthy Stirring tales of Adventure by Land and Sea, for boys.”  With the volume were presented portraits of W. H. G. Kingston, R. M. Ballantyne, and several plates.  Mr. Kingston, the first editor, died on August 5, 1880.  Vol. 1 ended at page 640, September 30, 1880.

Vol. 2 commenced October 7, 1880, the opening serial being “The Ensign and the Middy:  or the Jungle Station,” by George Manville Fenn,  “The Steam House,” by Jules Verne, and “Rawdon School,” by Bernard Heldmann.  In the next number (42), “The Cornet of Horse:  a tale of Marlborough’s Wars,”  by the editor; “Peyton Phelps:  or Adventures among the Italian Carbonari,” by G. Stebbing; in No. 54, “The Young Franc-Tireurs,” by the editor; in No. 67, “Dorringcourt,” by B. Heldmann, the remainder being short stories of no importance.  The volume ends at No. 92, September 29, 1881.  A few plates were presented with the bound volume.

Vol. 3, No. 93, October 6, 1881, opened with “Victor’s False Friend,” by M. de la Landelle, translated by W. H. G. Kingston; “Off to the Wilds:  being the adventures of two Brothers,” by Geo. Manville Fenn, finely illustrated; “The Son of the Constable of France,” by Louis Rosselet; “Yakoob, the Joasim Pirate,” by Lieut. C. R. Low.  In No. 105, “Picked up at Sea:  or the Gold Miners of Minturne Creek,” by John C. Hutcheson.  In No. 113, “Social Spirits:  a tale of Belton School,” by B. Heldmann.  In No. 116 “David and Jonathan:  or Lost at Sea,” by “An Old Salt”; in the same number “The Pirate of the Danube” by J. Percy Groves; No. 119, “Red Cloud:  the Solitary Scout,” by Lt. Col. Butler, and “The Mutiny on Board the Ship Leander,” by B. Heldmann; also “Winning His Spurs,” by the editor.  In 138, “Charmouth Grange:  a tale of the 17th Century,” by J. Percy Groves.  All the illustrations in this volume were of a highclass character, and altogether Vol. 3 was the best one of the four.  The volume ends at No. 144, September 2, 1882.

Vol. 4 was really Vol. 1 of a new series.  It commences at No. 1, October 3, 1882, edited by G. A. Henty and Bernard Heldmann, and the title heading was altered slightly.  The opening serial was “A Couple of Scamps,” by B. Heldmann, the others being “Spiggot’s Schooldays,” by Cuthbert Bede (Rev. Edward Bradley), author of “Verdant Green,” 1860, illustrated by the author in the same humorous character as “Verdant Green”; “Majora:  or, Bigger Exploits of the Major,” by F. Blake Crofton; “The Way North,” by W. H. Devonport Adams.  In No. 10 “The White Tiger,” by Louis Boussenard, illustrated by F. Ferat, “Sweet Flower:  or Redskins and Palefaces,” by Percy B. St. John; No. 14, “The Vee-Boers:  a tale of Adventure in Southern Africa,” by Captain Mayne Reid, splendidly illustrated by H. P., also “Murmurs from the Pen of a Buny,” by Cuthbert Bradley, illustrated by the author; No. 23, “The Stowaway:  or Ben Margery’s Round Turn,” by T. B. Whitefoot; No. 27 “The Madman and the Pirate,” by R. M. Ballantyne; also “Jack Archer:  a story of the Crimea,” by G. A. Henty.  In 32 “Under the Meteor Flag,” by H. Collingwood.  Most of these tales were apparently “lengthened out” as much as possible.  G. A. Henty became the sole editor towards the end of the volume.  Several plates, plain and coloured, were presented during the volume, but the periodical came to an end with No. 52, September 25, 1883, with an explanatory letter by the editor.  Taken on the whole, “The Union Jack” was a really good production, and ought to have had a longer life.

Its authors, writers and contributors were all of a high order.  The volumes contained many little gems of literary worth, but want of space prevent the writer dealing with them.  One of the publication’s best features was “The Union Jack Field Club,” conducted by Archibald McNeill, formed for the study of Natural History, and to promote good fellowship and the love of Nature.  Other periodicals and journals, including “The Boys’ Own Paper,” January 18, 1879, had taken the field of competition, and “The Union Jack” was crowded out, and so came to an end.

Mr. George Alfred Henty wrote over eighty books for boys, which had great popularity.  He was born in 1832 and died in 1892.



(An illustrated Monthly Miscellany.)

William Henry Giles Kingston was born in London in 1814, but spent most of his time in Oporto, where his father was a merchant.  His first book, “The Circassian Chief,” appeared in 1844.  His first book for boys, “Peter the Whaler,” was published in 1851, and had such success that he retired from business and devoted himself entirely to the production of this kind of literature, and during thirty years he wrote upwards of 130 tales, including “The Three Midshipmen,” 1860, “The Three Lieutenants,” 1874, “The Three Commanders,” 1875, “The Three Admirals,” 1877.  He contributed largely to “The Colonist,” “Colonial Magazine” and the “East India Review,” and many other papers.  He received a Portuguese knighthood for service rendered, in relation to a commercial treaty with Portugal, and for his literary labours a government pension.  He died in1880, a relatively poor man.

In January, 1860, he published the first number of his “Magazine for Boys.”  The size of the pages was the unusual 5½ in. x 7½ in.  The opening serial was “The Three Midshipmen,” and Barrington Beaver contributed another serial entitled “Dick Onslow and the Redskins.”  These two serials ran through the yearly volume.  The remainder was of an educational character, and consisted of historical enigmas and answers to the same, articles on fancy pigeons, wild flowers, dogs and their reasoning powers, fish and the way to catch them, pet rabbits, poultry, conjuring tricks, rats, illustrated by Andrew Wain, short tales, sketches, and a variety of other matter of interest and instructive to the average boy or girl.  The illustrations in the text were exceedingly well done, and altogether the magazine was of a superior order.  A full page portrait of H.R.H. Prince Alfred (afterwards the Duke of Edinburgh), on board the “Euryalus,” adorned the first page of Vol. 1, and one of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales (King Edward) at Oxford that of Vol. 2, 1861.

The opening serial of Vol. 2 was entitled “The Old Schoolfellows,” by the editor; the remaining serials were “A Naval Officer’s Adventures in the Pacific,” “Philip’s First Friend,” and “The Rambles of a Naturalist,” articles on our larger domestic animals, short stories and essays; and there was no padding in either of the volumes.

Vol. 3, 1862, contains a serial, “The Three Midshipmen in China,” by the editor, also “How He Rose:  or Glimpses of the Career of a Member of the Fly School,” by the editor; a continuation of the serial, “Dick Onslow’s Adventures in the Far West,” a series of articles on the rise and progress of the British Navy, stories of birds, notes on cats, holiday rambles by the sea, summer wanderings of a naturalist, and many other useful and entertaining subjects.  The volume ran to 400 pages and at the end was a supplement of 304 pages entitled, “My Travels in many Lands,” narrated for my young friends, by the editor.  (A similar supplement of 144 pages appeared at the end of Vol. 2), clearly showing how hard the editor worked in order to make his magazine a success.  He, however, eclipsed this in Vol. 4, 1862-63, for besides editing, he wrote a supplement of 254 pages entitled “Marmaduke Merry,” and tales for old and young of all classes, 208 pages, which, together with the 400 pages of the magazine, made a total of 862 pages for the entire volume, and represented a whole year’s work.


December 4, 1920.

On the last page the editor spoke dispairingly of the poor results of his labours, and said that he was obliged to discontinue the “Magazine” through want of adequate support.  It seems a pity that so excellent a publication came to so untimely an end, for in the writer’s opinion it was far and above other publications of its kind.  The paper used was of the best; the illustrations first class; and the whole “get-up” was of the highest order.  Perhaps its tone was too high and serious.  Its chief supporters were members of the public and grammar schools; the ordinary boy who, later on, became the chief supporter of “The Boys of England,” “Sons of Britannia,” etc., and later still of “The Boys’ Own Paper,” had not received the proper education to understand the aims and purport of the editor.  There was not enough colour of excitement in the serials to survive interest:  the average boy requires ever-changing excitement, which he obtained in the later publications.  There is also another drawback to long success of boys’ papers.  Not until ten or eleven years of age, did the youngster show any interest, and as at 14 most of them went to work, it was but a three years’ circulation, unless fresh features attracted the growing youth.  All the same, the volumes are of sterling literary value, and those who possess them are fortunate, for they are exceedingly scarce.

I may, in passing, mention that Kingston’s and Henty’s contemporary, Robert Michael Ballantyne, writer of tales for boys, was born in Edinburgh in 1825, and was a connection of the well-known printers.  As a youth he spent some years in the service of the Hudson  Bay Company, and then became a member of Constable’s printing firm.  In 1856 he took to literature as a profession, and published about 80 tales.  He died at Rome in 1894.



Being a selection, side-splitting, sentimental, and serious, for the benefit of Old Boys, Young Boys, Odd Boys and even Girls.

I include this once popular paper in my series because it had a very wide sale.  It was first published on Saturday, May 3, 1884, by W. J. Simkins, 99, Shoe Lane, E.C., and consisted of 8 pages, 10¾ x 15 in.

The first humorous front page, cartoon, or picture, appeared in No. 8, depicting W. E. Gladstone, signed by A. B.  The second was in No. 9, depicting W. Vernon Harcourt.  The third, in No. 10, depicted Lord Randolph Churchill at Henley, and was signed W. G. Baxter, and was the commencement of a series of well-known cartoons signed by him.

The first cartoon depicting “Ally Sloper” appeared in No. 13, Saturday, July 26, and represents “Ally Sloper” as a speaker at the Hyde Park demonstration, Monday, July 21, 1884, with a board displayed:  “Sloper, the Friend of Man,” and Ally’s words, “Franchise, or no Franchise:  Buy my ‘Half-Holiday.’”  (Signed W. G. Baxter).

With No. 14, the paper was printed by Dalziel Bros., at their Camden Town Press.  With the Christmas number for 1884 a gratis two-page plate, entitled “Ally Sloper’s Christmas Party” (W. G. Baxter) was presented.  Vol. 1 ends at No. 35, Dec. 27, 1884.

What may be termed ridiculous—even idiotic—features were gradually introduced around the “chief,” the readers being invited to send curiosities to the “Sloper Museum.”  Those whose business brought them to London even made a pilgrimage to Shoe Lane.

With No. 73, Vol. 2, Sept. 19, 1885, the title of “The Sloperies” was added to the address.

Vol. 2 ends at No. 87, Dec. 26, 1885.  The paper had now become one of 16 pages.  With the Christmas number was another two-page plate entitled “Ally Sloper’s Christmas Carol,” but this did not bear the signature of W. G. Baxter, neither did many of the cartoons during 1885, and the last one signed by him appeared in No. 136, Dec. 4, 1886 and the Christmas number plate, “Ally Sloper’s Dinner Party.”

The first cartoon signed W. F. Thomas appeared with No. 137, Dec. 11, 1886, entitled—“Poor Papa at the Cow-cries,” and this artist contributed the front page cartoon for several years; the last one seen by the writer being in No. 376, Vol. 8, July 11, 1891, but the cartoons were continued long after that date.  The publication changed hands in the early part of the present century, and was issued for some time from Bolt Court, Fleet Street, but its old time popularity had long since left it.

The record at the British Museum reads up to June 3, 1914 (continued as “Ally Sloper,”) and there is no further record of the publication beyond one of “Ally Sloper’s Ha’porth,” No. 1, Jan. 23, 1899.  I have mentioned this humorous paper, because many persons collected issues for the sake of the clever cartoons by W. F. Thomas, and they have become, like all other old-time periodicals, very scarce and difficult to find.



This publication was one of the late John Dicks most successful ventures.  The idea was to afford the reading public the opportunity to acquire a library of the best known works of fiction, at a very cheap cost to themselves, and in this respect Mr. Dicks succeeded, and the public owed him a large debt of gratitude.

Many of the tales, stories, romances, etc., he produced in this cheap form would have remained entirely out of reach of the reading public if Mr. Dicks had not thought of the idea of publishing them in the form of a weekly periodical which he entitled “Dicks’ English Library of Standard Works,” for hitherto they had not been published at a price within the range of the pockets of the reading public, and the period in which the publication was produced and published was one of a rather depressed state of trade, and low wages of those who were the principal supporters of these old time periodicals and papers.

A review of the publication will not be out of place, as it may bring to mind many happy times and memories of the past, and also assist collectors who are desirous of knowing what the volumes forming the series contain.  Twenty to thirty years ago the vols. in the deep orange-coloured paper covers were a very familiar sight in the cheap bookshops, and secondhand booksellers had generally a large stock of them, which were sold at prices varying from threepence to one shilling a copy, but the vols. have now become very scarce indeed; and prices for good clean copies have consequently soared rather high.  The original price for the paper covered vols. was 1/6 per vol., but present prices run about three times as much according to the condition of the vols.  A full set of the 39 volumes forming the entire series is worth about £9 if in publisher’s cloth, and are well worth the money, for the tales are illustrated with reproductions of their original cuts.  They give the tales the proper tone and finish, which is not obtained from editions of the same tales illustrated by other artists.

Percy B. St. John was the editor of the first five vols., to be exact from No. 1, vol. 1 to No. 3, vol. 6.

The first 3 vols. were published weekly at one halfpenny per number.  It consisted of 16 pages demy quarto of reading matter, and four or five illustrations, and each number was dated.  With vol. 6 the number of pages was increased to 32, each number being supplemented with a second number of the same numeral, such as No. 1 IV., and No. 1, A. IV., and the price was raised to one penny, and continued in this form to the end of the series.

No. 1, vol. 1, June 27, 1883, contained the following announcement:—

“In introducing to the notice of the general reader and the public, a most novel and important publication, we desire, according to a good and time-honoured custom to offer a few words of explanation as to its scope and object.  Classical and high-class literature generally has not until recently been within reach of the masses.  Only a few of the latter, by great economy, and much self-denial, were able to collect small libraries; but, with the spread of education and of knowledge, a sudden and general demand arose for the works of our great masters of English, and, though laudable efforts were made to meet it, the supply has, until lately, been extremely limited.  We have already presented to the reading world, wherever the English language is spoken, an edition of Sir Walter Scott at an unprecedentedly low price, to say nothing of that world’s wonder—Dicks’ Complete Shilling Shakespeare.  We now in order to meet an urgent demand, present to the reading public the very latest production of the human brain, productions which, within a few months, or at all events years, were obtainable by the people through circulating libraries only; we mean, of course, the works of Dickens, Thackeray, Jerrold, Bulwer, Lever, Charlotte Bronte, Hook, Ingoldsby, Ainsworth, Lever, Carleton, G. P. R. James, Jane Austen, Mrs. Trollope, the O’Hara Family, and others to numerous to mention.  These masterpieces of English literature, chiefly with the original illustrations, we offer, in a neat and attractive form, at a price within the reach of all.  In all cases the works will be printed from the original edition, and wholly unabridged.”

The vol. ran to 36 numbers, 416 pages.  The opening tale was “Ernest Maltravers,” by the Right Hon. Lord Lytton, illustrated by Gilbert.  The second, “Public Life of Mr. Tich-Rumble, the Mayor of Mudfog,” by Charles Dickens, illustrated by George Cruikshank.  The third, “Jack Bragg,” by Theodore Hook, illustrated by Leech.  The other tales in the vol. being “Alice; or, The Mysteries,” by Lord Lytton, illustrated by Leech; “Charles O’Malley,” by C. J. Lever, illustrated by Phiz; “A Shabby Genteel Story,” by W. M. Thackeray, illustrated by Proctor, and “The History of Samuel Titmarsh,” and “Great Hoggarty Diamond,” by Thackeray and Proctor.  Other short stories completed the volume.  The date of No. 26 was December 19, 1883.

Vol. 2, December 26, 1883, to June 18, 1884, contained “Night and Morning,” by Lord Lytton, “Jacob Faithful,” by Captain Marryatt, “The Life and Adventures of Michael Armstrong,” by Mrs. F. Trollope, “The Paris Sketch Book,” by Thackeray, “The Vampire,” by Lord Byron, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” by Victor Hugo, “Catherine,” by Thackeray under pen name of Ikey Solomons, Esq., Junior; “Leila; or the Siege of Granada,” by Lord Lytton, all with the original illustrations.

December 11, 1920.

Vol. 3, June 25, to December 17, 1884, “Zanoni,” by Lord Lytton, “Robinson Crusoe,” by D. Defoe, illustrated by Stothart, R.A., “Queen Margot, or Marguerite De Valois,” by Alexander Dumas, “Nights at Sea,” by H. H. Barker (The Old Sailor), “Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus,” by Mrs. Mary W. Shelley, “Barry O’Reirdon, the Navigator,” by Samuel Lover, “St. Irvyne; or, The Rosicrucian,” by Percy Bysshe Shelley, illus. by F. Gilbert, “The Florentine Lover,” by Leigh Hunt and F. Gilbert, and short stories by Albert Smith, Bryan O’Halloran, Thomas Ingoldsby, etc.

Vol. 4, December 24, 1884, to June 17, 1885, “The Lady of the Camelias,” by Alexander Dumas, Fils, “Tales from Shakespeare,” by Charles Lamb, “Godolphin,” by Lord Lytton and F. Gilbert, “Susan Hopley; or The Adventures of a Maid Servant,” by Mrs. Crowe, “Mansfield Park,” by Jane Austen, illustrated by F. Gilbert, “Tales from Shakespeare,” by C. Lamb and F. Gilbert, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” by Harriet Beecher Stowe, “The Yellow Plush Correspondence,” by Thackeray, “Diane De Lys,” by A. Dumas, Fils, “The Lesson of Life,” by Douglas Jerrold, Short Stories, etc., by T. Ingoldsby, etc.

Vol. 5, June 24 to Dec. 16, 1885, “The Last of the Barons,” by Lord Lytton and F. Gilbert, “Jack Hintin, the Guardsman,” by C. J. Lever, “Belinda,” by Maria Edgeworth, “The King’s Highway,” by G. P. R. James, “Bajazet Gag:  the Manager in Search of a Star,” by Douglas Jerrold, “Devereux,” by Lord Lytton and F. Gilbert.

Vol. 6, Dec. 23, 1885, to March 17, 1886 (penny numbers), “The Disowned,” by Lytton and Gilbert, “The Colleen Bawn,” by Gerald Griffin, “The Scarlet Letter,” by Nat. C. Hawthorne, “Handy Andy,” by Samuel Lover, “Sense and Sensibility,” by Jane Austen, “The Phantom Ship,” by Marryatt, “Popular Tales,” by Maria Edgeworth.

Vol. 7, March 24 to June 16, 1886, “The Wandering Jew,” by Eugene Sue, “The History of Tom Jones,” by Henry Fielding, “The Water Witch,” by J. Fennimore Cooper, “Pope Joan, the Female Pontiff,” by G. W. M. Reynolds.

Vol. 8, June 23 to Sept. 15, 1886, “The Wandering Jew,” continuation, “The Adventures of Mr. Lidbury,” by Albert Smith, illus. by Leech, “Whitefriars,” by Emma Robinson and F. Gilbert, “Popular Tales,” by M. Edgeworth, “Arthur O’Leary,” by C. J. Lever, illus. by Cruikshank.

Vol. 9, Sept. 22 to Dec. 15, 1886, “Tom Burke of Ours,” by C. J. Lever, illus. by Phiz, “The Spy,” by J. F. Cooper and F. Gilbert, “Manfrone,” by Mary Anne Radcliffe and W. A. Cranston, “The Wandering Jew,” continuation, illus. by H. Valentine, “Popular Tales,” by M. Edgeworth.

Vol. 10, Dec. 22, 1886, to March 16, 1887, “The Luck of Barry Lyndon,” by W. M. Thackeray and F. Gilbert, “Gulliver’s Travels,” by Samuel Gulliver, Mariner (Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick’s, Dublin), “Don Quixote,” translated by Charles Jarvis, “Dodd’s Beauties of Shakespeare,” “Castle Rackrent,” by M. Edgeworth, “The Adventures of Roderick Random,” by Tobias Smollett, “Mr. Midshipman Easy,” by Marryatt.

Vol. 11, March 23 to June 15, 1887, “Richelieu,” G. P. R. James and F. Gilbert, “The Count of Monte Cristo; or The Island of Jewels,” by A. Dumas, illus. by Ja. Brance, “Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry,” by W. Carleton, “Don Quixote,” continuation.

Vol. 12, June 22 to Sept. 14, 1887, “The Fortunes of the Scattergood Family,” by Albert Smith, illus. by J. Leech, “Count of Monte Cristo,” continuation, “Ratlin the Reefer,” Marryatt, “Mr. Peppercorn at Home,” by Douglas Jerrold, “The Pilot,” by J. F. Cooper, “Short Tales,” by D. Jerrold, etc.  All the tales have their original illustrations in this and all preceding volumes.

It will not be necessary to give the dates of the volumes from now onwards, suffice to say there were 4 vols. published each year, and the date of the last number in vol. 39 (end of the series) was June 1, 1894.  In order to save time and space I will give the titles of the principal tales in each volume.

Vol. 13, “Diary of a Late Physician,” by Samuel Warren, “The O’Donoghue,” by Charles Lever and Phiz, “The Marchioness of Brinvilliers,” by Albert Smith and Leech, “The Devil on Two Sticks,” by Le Sage, “Richard Savage,” by Charles Whitehead.

Vol. 14, “Baron Munchausen’s Travels,” etc., “The Last Days of a Condemned Man,” by Victor Hugo, “Tales from Fraser,” by George Sand, “The Last of the Mohicans,” by Cooper, “The Goal Chaplain.”

Vol. 15, “Tales of Terror and Fantasy,” by Edgar Allan Poe, “Joseph Andrews,” by Henry Fielding, “Gil Blas,” by T. Smollett, “Master Timothy’s Book-case,” by Reynolds, “The Girl with Three Shirts,” by Paul de Kock, “Coningsby,” by Benjamin Disraeli and F. Gilbert.

Vol. 16, “Contarini Fleming,” by Disraeli and Gilbert, “The Barber of Paris,” by Paul de Kock, “The Pasha of Many Tales,” by Marryatt, “Henrietta Temple,” by Disraeli and Gilbert.

Vol. 17, “Japhet in Search of a Father,” by Marryatt, “Caleb Williams,” by W. Godwin, “Moustache—a Dog,” by Paul de Kock, “Tales of the Genii,” by Rev. James Ridley, “The Monk,” by M. G. Lewis, “The Parricide,” by Reynolds.

Vol. 18, “The Mysteries of Udolpho,” by Mrs. Radcliffe, illus. by Friston, “Dombey and Son,” by Dickens and Phiz, “Neighbour Raymond,” by Paul de Kock, “Jack Sheppard,” by Ainsworth and G. Cruikshank, “The Knight of Gwynne,” by Lever and Phiz.

Vol. 19, “The Pathfinder,” by Cooper and D. H. Friston, “Windsor Castle,” by Ainsworth and G. Cruikshank, and Tony Johannot, “Vanity Fair,” by Thackeray, “Tom Cringle’s Log,” by M. Scott and Friston.

Vol. 20, “Peter Wilkins,” by R. Paltock and Friston, “The Mysteries of Paris,” by Eugene Sue, “Rookwood,” by Ainsworth and Cruikshank, “The Worries of Mr. Chickpick,” by Reynolds, “Peter Schlemihl,” by De Boncourt, “The Adventures of Haji Baba in Persia,” by James Morier.

Vol. 21, “The Miser’s Daughter,” by Ainsworth and Cruikshank, “Gilbert Gurney,” by T.  Hook and Friston, “A Handful of Crowquills,” by A. Crowquill, “Hans of Iceland,” by Victor Hugo.

Vol. 22, “Guy Fawkes,” by Ainsworth and Cruikshank, “Gilbert Gurney,” by Hook and Friston, “Tom and Jerry,” by P. Egan and Cruikshank, “Haji Baba in England,” by Morris and Friston, “The Saucy Arethusa,” by Captain Chamin and Friston.

Vol. 23, “Clarissa,” by Samuel Richardson and Gilbert, “Christopher Tadpole,” by Albert Smith, “Stanley Thorn,” by Henry Cockton and Cruikshank, “Tristram Shandy,” by L. Sterne.

Vol. 24, “Sylvester Sound,” by Cockton and Friston, “The Steam Packet,” by Reynolds, and T. H. Jones, “Old St. Paul’s,” by Ainsworth and Phiz and Franklin, “Maxims and Specimens of William Muggins,” by C. Selby and Onwhyn, “The Bastard of Manlion,” by Dumas and Gilbert.

Vol. 25, “Grace Darling,” by Reynolds and Friston, “The Three Nuns—Return,” by Dumas, “Jonathan Wild the Great,” by Fielding and Phiz, “Indiana,” by G. Sand, “Alfred,” by Reynolds and Phillips, “Paul Jones the Corsican,” by Dumas, “Finish of Tom and Jerry,” by Egan and Cruikshank, “Grimm’s Goblins,” by the Brothers Grimm.

Vol. 26, “Pickwick Abroad,” by Reynolds, “The Sisters,” by Cockton and Crowquill, “Rita,” by Eugene Sue, “Pamela,” by S. Richardson, “The Life of an Actor,” by P. Egan and Theodore Lane.

Vol. 27, “The Poetical Works of P. B. Shelley,” illus. by D. T. White, “The Gogo Family,” by Paul de Kock, “Rochester,” by J. F. Smith and Gilbert, “Peregrine Pickle,” by T. Smollett and Cruikshank, “Tales from France,” by Reynolds and Phillips, “Consuelo,” by George Sand.

Vol. 28, “Humphrey Clinker,” by T. Smollett and Cruikshank, “Crichton,” by Harrison Ainsworth and Phiz, “Cerisette,” by P. de Kock, “Albert,” by G. Sand, “Ben Brace,” by Chamin and Friston.

Vol. 29, “Joseph Balsano,” by Dumas and Carbonneau, “The Flower Girl of the Chateau D’Eau,” by P. de Kock, “Ferdinand Count Fathom,” by Smollett and Friston, “St. James,” by Harrison Ainsworth and Cruikshank, “The Two Marguerites,” by Madame C. Reyband, “Revelations of London,” by Ainsworth and Phiz.

[There is no mention of Vol. 30.]

Vol. 31, “Hood’s Poems, Grave and Gay,” “Sutton Stock,” by Thackeray, “Old London,” by Mark Lemon, “Frank Fairleigh,” by F. C. Smedley and Cruikshank, “Zizine,” by P. de Kock, “The Book of Snobs,” by Thackeray, “John Manesty,” by Doctor Maginn and Cruikshank.

Vol. 32, “The Fortunes of Hector O’Halloran,” by W. H. Maxwell, “Tales by Eugene Sue,” “Cousin Nicholas,” by T. Ingoldsby and Friston, “Hood’s Poets.”

Vol. 33, “David Copperfield,” by Dickens and Phiz, “Modern Chivalry,” by Ainsworth and Cruikshank, “The Comic History of England,” by Gilbert Abbott A’Beckett and John Leech, “Hood’s Poems,” illus. by Friston, “Mary Queen of Scots,” by A. Dumas, “Launcelot Widge,” by C. Hiotin, “Comic Sketches,” by T. Hood, “Celebrated Crimes of all Nations.”

Vol. 34, “Pendennis,” by Thackeray, “The Seven Cardinal Sins,” by Eugene Sue, “The Sorrows of Werther,” by Baron Goethe, “The Final Finish of Real Life in London in the 20’s,” “The Marquis of Lartoriere,” by E. Sue, “Nell Gwynne,” by A. De Last.

Vol. 35, “The Comic History of England,” continued from Vol. 34, “The Lancashire Witches,” by Ainsworth and Friston, “A Simple Story,” by Mrs. Inchbald.

Vol. 36, “History of Sir Charles Grandison,” by S. Richardson, “Tour of Dr. Syntax,” illus. with original design by Rowlandson, “Comic Sketches,” by T. Hood, “The Inundation of Pardon and Peace,” by Mrs. Gore and G. Cruikshank, “Twenty Years,” by A. Dumas.

Vol. 37, “The Court Conspirator,” by Eugene Sue, “Tom Racquet,” by Charles Manby and Robert Cruikshank, “The History of Amelia,” by H. Fielding, illus. by Dumont, “The Nun,” by Denis Diderot, “Masaniello,” by De Mirecourt.

Vol. 38, “The Spanish Match,” by Ainsworth, “St. Giles and St. James’s,” by D. Jerrold and Leech, “Pauline,” by A. Dumas, “The Guillotined Woman,” by Jules Janin, “Old Court,” by Ainsworth, “The Comic Blackstone,” by Gilbert Abbott A’Beckett, and G. Cruikshank.

December 18, 1920.

Vol. 39, “The Comic History of Rome,” by G. A. A’Beckett and J. Leech, “Diane,” “The Lady of Monsoreau,” sequel to “Queen Margot,” by A. Dumas, “Godfrey Malvern,” by Thomas Miller, and Phiz, “Father and Son,” by T. Hook, “The Mummy,” by Mrs. London.  End of series, June 1, 1894.

The new series, octavo size, each number consisting of 256 pages, was commenced on July 24, 1894, and ran to 30 numbers (issued monthly), the last one being dated Dec. 24, 1896.  The price was sixpence per number.  Many of the best and most popular tales that had appeared in the quarto edition were reprinted in the octavo edition, and were afterwards published in separate vols., under the title of “Dicks’ English Novels.”  A set of the quarto edition therefore contains the bulk of these novels, and anyone possessing an entire run can be congratulated on having a most unique, if cheap, collection of good literature.  The writer ventures to assert that such a cheap publication will never again be published, as the cost of paper and printing will ever remain prohibitive.




Walter Villiers, one of the writers of the tales that appeared in “Young Folks,” was in reality Walter Percy Viles.  He used the name of Walter Villiers as a pen name in “The Weekly Budget,” “Young Folks,” “Boys of England,” “The Young Briton,” “Sons of Britannia,” “The Young Englishman,” and other Old Boys’ Periodicals.  He also used “Frank Mercer” as his pseudonym, in some of Emmett’s and Fox’s publications.  He was born in 1850, and died in the early part of January, 1884.  The following short biographical notice of him appeared in “The South London Press,” Jan. 12, 1884, and another in “Young Folks,” Jan 26, same year:

“The death took place on the 3rd inst. at the early age of 33, of Mr. Walter Percy Viles, a well-known contributor to periodical literature for the past 14 years.  His most successful serial stories:  ‘Silverspeare; or the Magician of Arabia,’ ‘Silverland,’ ‘Golden Helen,’ and ‘Roland of Roncessvalles,’ appeared some years ago in the columns of a Red Lion House publication (‘Young Folks’ Weekly Budget’) under the pseudonym of Walter Villiers.  Of a highly imaginative nature, and possessing the pen of a ready writer, he produced a surprising number of serial romances during his comparatively short career, besides many stories, written at frequent intervals—the mere enumeration of the titles of which would occupy no small portion of our space.  He leaves a widow and two children to mourn his early end.  He was interred in the Cemetary at Forest Hill on January 5.”



Since writing the articles dealing with this popular periodical the writer has continued to make enquiries respecting the various editors, writers, authors, artists, etc., who helped to make the “Budget” such a success, and a letter to the Editor of “Questions and Answers,” in “John O’London’s Weekly,” resulted in a reply from Mr. Charles E. Pearce, which I reproduce.  It will be of great interest to admirers of this old and favourite author.



Mr. Frank Jay’s inquiry as to the subsequent careers of some of the leading writers and artists connected with the “Young Folks’ Paper” has brought me (says the Editor) a valuable, though saddening, reply from Mr. Charles E. Pearce, one of the writers named by Mr. Jay in his inquiry.  Mr. Pearce writes:

“Mr. Jay’s query is of great personal interest to me, as I am one of the very few survivors (maybe the sole survivor) of the band of authors mentioned by him, who were associated with the ‘Young Folks’ Budget’ (afterwards called the ‘Young Folks’ Paper’).  Walter Villiers, Alfred R. Phillips, J. A. Maitland, and Captain Whittaker have long since died.  Of Sylvanus Cobb and J. Swain I know nothing.  Mrs. C. A. Read I heard of some fifteen years ago.  She was then alive and well.  Henry Clinton, whose management of the ‘Answers to Correspondents’—a feature of the paper—was marked by great industry, research, and courtesy, has also passed away.  Eric Robertson, who with William Sharp, was responsible for the ‘Olympic,’ a literary symposium, took holy orders, and is now in Scotland.  William Sharp (‘Fiona McLeod’) has been dead some years.  Of the artists named John Proctor and W. Boucher are no longer with us.  The late Richard Quittenton (‘Roland Quiz’), whose ‘Giant Land’ and ‘Tim Pippin’ established the success of the paper, should not be forgotten.  Miss S. Holland, the first editor, is also dead.  Other writers were William Westall, Charles A. Read (who contributed classic stories), W. D. L’Estrange (‘Vedette’), and last, but not least, R. L. Stevenson, are gone.  J. Harwood Panting, who edited the paper when it became ‘Old and Young,’ is, so far as I know, in the flesh.  For myself I refer Mr. Jay to ‘Who’s Who.’”

According to “Who’s Who” for 1920, Mr. Charles E. Pearce was editor of “The South London Press,” 1878-1882, “Funny Folks,” 1882-1886, and author of serial stories in “Answers,” in 1896-1897.  He wrote upwards of 70 novelettes 1876-1890, as well as many novels (Indian Mutiny Trilogy), “Love Besieged,” “Red Revenge,” “A Star of the East,” “The Bungalow under the Lake,” 1910; “The Eyes of Alicia,” 1913; “The Crimson Mascot,” 1914; Criminology series, 1908-1913, including “Unsolved Mysteries,” “Remarkable Clues,” “Romance of Crime,” “The Deadly Hand,” “Dark Dramas of Life.”  To boys’ books he contributed “The Ball of Fortune,” 1896; “Frank, the Fisher Boy,” “The Golden Island,” “Billy Bos’n,” “The Boojum Club,” and others, also “The Beloved Princess,” 1911; “Polly Peachum” and “The Beggars’ Opera,” 1913; “The Jolly Duchess” (Harriett Mellon) 1915; “Marching Songs,” 1914; “War up to Date,” 1915.  He is also the author of the following “Mascot” series:  “Vengeance is Mine,” “Dragged from the Dark,” “A Foe in the Shadow,” 1918; “Stirring Deeds of the Great War,” and “Our Boys’ History of British Heroism,” 1919.  He has contributed upwards of 70 serials and over 500 short stories to various periodicals.


The following appreciation by Mr. A. G. Cheverton, of Mr. Jay’s articles, appeared in “The Publishers’ Circular” for Nov. 20.—Ed. “S.M.”


The above term means little to the average reader, but it is fast becoming quite an important section of literature to increasing numbers of readers, dealers and librarians.  Subscribers to “The Publishers’ Circular” may possibly remember a short article on the subject by the present writer in the issue of May 2, 1914.  At that time Mr. Frank Jay, of Tooting, was busily collecting data and information at the British Museum and elsewhere, which later on he expanded into a very interesting and useful series of articles entitled “Peeps into the Past.”  These appeared in SPARE MOMENTS, from Oct. 19, 1918 to May 17, 1919.

So much interest was taken in these articles on the old papers and journals, that the editor of SPARE MOMENTS induced Mr. Jay to contribute a further series.  These commenced in that paper on July 31 last year, and are still running.

As a proof of the growing interest in the subject I may mention that articles have recently appeared in the “Times Literary Supplement,” “John O’London’s Weekly, “The Bookman’s Journal,” and “The Book Post.”

There are indications that one or more of the big reviews will shortly print articles from competent writers thereon.  Those readers of “The Publishers’ Circular” who go regularly through the “Books Wanted” pages, will realise the growing market for these old publications, and also what that means from the practical or financial point of view.  Prices are being forced up by the presence of American buyers in this country:  they want “the stuff,” and they will pay for it.

Mr. Jay is making it increasingly plain that many a well-known author made his début in the old journals, and more than one eminent artist commenced his career as illustrator of the serials.  Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island” first appeared as “The Sea Cook” in one of the old papers, under the pen name of Captain George North, as did also his “Black Arrow.”  This paper was James Henderson’s “Young Folks.”

Many of Captain Mayne Reid’s stirring tales and Henty’s fine yarns first appeared in these old journals.  Amongst the artists were John Proctor, W. Boucher and John Gilbert, afterwards Sir John Gilbert, R. A.

The recent acquisition of James Henderson’s business by the Amalgamated Press will place a mass of copyright material in the hands of the latter firm; the future will show what they intend doing with it.  The head of A. P., Lord Northcliffe, himself contributed articles to Henderson’s papers in the old days under his own name, Alfred C. Harmsworth.

Reference has already been made in “The Publishers’ Circular,” to Mr. Harold Simpson of Leicester, and the interesting booklet on the topic which he issued.  Readers of the Old Boys’ Journals are very strong and numerous “up North,” and I understand Mr. Simpson has practically sold out.  Some of the antiquarian booksellers are well informed as to sets and runs of these old books:  but for real knowledge and accuracy as to detail Mr. Jay stands first.  By the way, he is not in the trade, but has made an exhaustive study and fascinating hobby of the subject.

Those magazines of ours in boyhood’s days, how we treasured them; with what enthusiasm did we welcome them on publishing day, and how whole-heartedly identify ourselves with the characteristics and aims of our own particular journals!  Whatever the name of our own particular favourite, we have, in common with many old friends, vivid memories embracing a whole-souled enjoyment of healthy boyhood’s literature.

A glamour surrounds those days, a magical spell which was so strong and potent that today we have but to pick up and old volume, and before five minutes have passed we are dead to the world.  Adventuring we go with our old-time heroes, o’er land and sea—yes, and in the air, too.  Our authors had already in imagination conquered the air, and the depths of the sea were explored by us in wonderful diving craft which have to-day materialised into the practical submarine.

We owe much to those early editors, authors and artists. Beeton’s “Boys’ Own Magazine,” Vickers’ “Boy’s Journal,” Routledge’s “Every Boy’s Magazine,” these are a few which come to mind.  The writers—think of them:  Jules Verne, Mayne Reid, Ballantyne, Kingston and good old Henty.  What hosts of memories of fine yarns, stirring deeds and halcyon days!


December 25, 1920.

“The Publishers’ Weekly” quotes an article by Irvin S. Cobb in an American paper on boys and their books.  In typical American style Cobb defends the literary tastes of his youth:—

“We might have told our parents, had we had the words in which to state the case and they the patience only to listen, that in a ‘nickul’ library there was logic and the thrill of swift action and the sharp spice of adventure.  There, invariably virtue was rewarded and villainy confounded; there, inevitably was the final triumph for law and justice and for the right; there, embalmed on one thin paper volume, was all that Sandford and Merton lacked; all that the Rollo books never had.  We might have told them that though the Leather-stocking Tales and Robinson Crusoe, and ‘Two Years before the Mast,’ and ‘Ivanhoe’ were all well enough in their way, the trouble with them was that they were too long winded.  It took so much time to get where the first punch was, whereas Ned Buntline or Col. Prentiss Ingraham would hand you an exciting jolt on the very first page, and sometimes in the very first paragraph.”

From this spicy extract I judge that friend Cobb was a very human boy, and very much akin to some of old boys, who, though we liked the juvenile classics well enough, must admit the pangs we felt when a fond parent or solicitous tutor surprised us deep in a thrilling “Blood,” and consigned it to the flames—unfinished!

And—we are quite willing to admit that some of our old papers did go to the limit at times, but we loved them, and there you are.


And now I must bring to an end the second series of “Peeps into the Past,” as time and other circumstances will not permit me to continue them at present.  There are not many more journals, etc., to review, as I think I have dealt with the best known favourites.  Perhaps this work could be enlarged upon and made more attractive; I can only say in passing that it has been a real labour of love upon my part, and I sincerely trust that all subscribers and readers are satisfied with the result.

My earnest desire is to see the whole series of fifty articles produced in book form, and I should have pleasure in re-writing and correcting the same for that purpose.  Since writing the early articles I have found several notes and data that would materially add to their interest and value, while I have received additional information from correspondents of which I was not conversant.  It is truly remarkable how many readers and admirers of the “Old Stuff” are still alive, apart from those of a younger generation who take a great interest in the subject.  I am confident these would be increased a thousandfold if they saw for sale on the railway and other bookstalls, an attractive but reasonably cheap book, entitled, “Peeps into the Past; being a History of Oldtime Periodicals, Journals and Books.”  May it come to pass, is my heartfelt wish.


21, Fircroft Road, London, S.W.17.


I am sure I am voicing the opinions of thousands of SPARE MOMENTS readers when I express my regret that Mr. Jay’s articles have come to an end.  Only those who, like myself, have come into personal contact with the author during the run of the series, know how hard he has worked in gathering the information he has presented in such an attractive form to these pages.  Whole days spent at the British Museum in ferreting out data of some special journal, and the patient research in other directions, are only a fractional part of the labour he has devoted to the subject—and, although he bids us “Good-Bye,” I am hoping that he will give us yet another series of papers when he can collect additional matter for the purpose.  Were it not for the heavy cost of paper and printing I would be glad to fall in with Mr. Jay’s suggestion and reproduce the articles in book form.  Although there already are signs that paper is likely to come down in price, any advantage in that direction is at present counterbalanced by the continued advance in wages.  Such a book would be considerably enhanced in value by facsimile reproductions of the titles of the old books, together with some of the illustrations which kept us interested in the stories until they were brought to (what we thought at the time) a too early conclusion.  This is proved by the continuing narratives of the “Harkaway” and similar series.  First we read of him at school, and then the author journeyed with him all over the world until he had to finally bid him good-bye because he had no other places to take him to!  But later on, he was re-christened, as it were, under some other title, such as “Ned Nimble,” and once again we hungered for the day in each week when the penny instalment reached the newsagents’ shops.  As a publisher, I have often wondered if such serial instalments in separate form would “catch on” nowadays.  Of course, it must not be forgotten that Brett, Fox, Emmett and other publishers had a splendid media to advertise them in, for all their publications appealed to the very readers it was desired to reach, and the boys bought “No. 2, gratis with No. 1,” as a matter of course.  However, provided the cost of production comes down, I may give the speculation a trial in the near future.  Meantime, I tender to Mr. Jay on our joint behalf our most hearty thanks for his most ably compiled and always interesting “Peeps into the Past.”




January 29, 1921.

Third Series.


Fifty years ago, when most of us “oldsters” were “youngsters,” our amusements in the evening were generally confined to the home.  Unlike the boys and girls of to-day, who are allowed by unwise—some democrats will say “up-to-date”—parents to roam the streets at all hours often to their disadvantage and worse, we were seldom permitted out of doors after dark, and if it was not “home lessons,” then our recreation was found in studying or reading books.  I have already dealt with the Brett publications at length, and those of my readers who took them in will call to mind the advertisements that appeared in most of them announcing the publication of “plays”—penny plain—twopence coloured.  Having cut out the characters we were induced to buy a “stage” on which to portray the incidents contained in the book.  I propose in a few short notes to deal with this part of the boys’ literature of those days—in fact, most people will be surprised to hear that these wooden theatres are still obtainable.

There is a certain small, queer old-fashioned shop in Hoxton, not far from the celebrated Britannia Theatre, the home of melodrama, where the writer saw not so very long ago, a sight which he ventures to assert cannot be seen elsewhere in the British Isles; nay, nowhere else in the wide world where English is spoken, namely, a manufactory and establishment for the making, colouring and “fitting-up” of those priceless gems of our happy boyhood days, the small wooden stages, sheets of scenes and characters, footlights, slides and other necessary details for the juvenile theatre.

In the window were displayed stages, resplendent in colours of every hue, ready for use, with the orchestra playing in front!  The scenes were all set, and the little cardboard figures in their correct places.  In the interior of the shop, ranged around the walls, were a number of boxes containing the sheets of scenes, characters, books of words, etc. of some 40 to 50 plays, each denoted by a scene-piece pasted on the front of the boxes.  Around the upper part hung exceedingly choice and rare specimens of the art of “tinselling” favourite portraits and characters, some of which took months of patient labour on the part of the owner to produce, and which nowadays command big prices ranging from 5/- to £2 each (and which, short of the original picture, cost only “a penny plain or twopence coloured”), from keen collectors.

Hanging from the ceiling were stages in skeleton form, bundled of footlights, slides and other accessories.  In a small room adjoining was the workshop, where the printing and colouring was being done.  The courteous and genial proprietor took a great pleasure in showing the writer his productions which included, amongst many others, “Aladdin,” “Cinderella,” “The Corsican Brothers,” “The Miller and His Men,” (of affectionate memory!), “Paul Clifford,” “The Forty Thieves,” “Oliver Twist,” “The Waterman,” “Timour the Tartar,” “The Blind Boy,” etc., sufficient in fact to please the heart of any “Old Boy,” or even the present generation.  The proprietor also recounted the several visits he received from Robert Louis Stevenson, the famous novelist, who was a great lover and collector of the juvenile drama, and who wrote a masterful essay on the subject which appeared in “The Magazine of Art” (and with which the writer will deal more fully later on); also of visits from other celebrities.

This establishment and its proprietor are the successors to the industry carried on formerly by Mr. Reddington, an industry that flourished for over a hundred years and which embraces the works of Green, Parker, Webb, Skelt and West.  Skelt is perhaps the best known, probably because there are more of his products in existence than the others, but more than probably because he adopted a cheaper method of printing the sheets and pushed their sale.

None of these publications had any connection with the plays produced and sold by Edwin J. Brett, of “Boys of England” fame, although the writer ventures to say that Brett’s publications of this kind are more widely and popularly known and revered by those “Old Boys” who have followed the series of “Peeps into the Past,” and it is in reality for their benefit, as much as to place it on record, that the writer is attempting a brief history of this favourite old pastime.

The first play produced by Mr. Brett was given away with the first number of “Boys of England,” Tuesday, November 27, 1866, as per the following announcement on page 16:—

“GIVEN AWAY.—To the Boys of England, a complete new Play entitled, ‘Alone in the Pirates’ Lair,’ consisting of eight scenes, seven sheet of characters, six wings, and foot-pieces, and a large stage front

N.B.—The above entertaining gift is specially designed for our younger readers.”

(This was the title of the first serial in the “Boys of England”).

The play was given away in sections in Nos. 1, 3, 5, 8 and 9 as some encouragement to the sale of the “Boys of England.”  Subsequently it was produced in colours and sold in complete sets of 16 sheets of characters and scenes at 6d. the set, and this was the commencement of Brett’s plays.  Mr. Brett also sold as a side line the wooden stages for the plays, as thus announced in No. 12:—

“The Stage!  The Stage!  We have great pleasure in informing our readers that we are now making arrangements to supply them with large stages suitable for the new play of ‘Alone in the Pirates’ Lair,’ also with large stage fronts, designed and engraved expressly for our boys.  We believe the usual price would be about 2/- each, but we have determined to supply our readers with the stage and stage fronts for only 15 stamps (1/3).  In the course of a week from date we shall open agencies throughout the United Kingdom.  Our boys are requested not to send their stamps until our arrangements are quite complete.”

In the next number it was announced:—

“Our theatres will be strongly constructed of wood by the largest stage manufacturer in London.  Each theatre will consist of two modern sliding traps, place for lamp, roller for green curtain, grooves for back and side screen, etc.  Sawing and planing machines are employed to prepare the wood, but as a short time must elapse before our immense order for 50,000 of the stages is completed, our readers will be wise if they send their orders at once to their bookseller, as they will be supplied as each order is received.”

In No. 17 appeared the notice:—

“Our stages are not yet completed.  They will be ready in a few days.  We must therefore request our boys not to send any more stamps to our office for them, but to order them of their newsagents, and they will receive the stages when ready with their books.  The price of the stages will be post free 1/3.”

Whether the stages were made at this time or not the writer has not been able to discover, but one can imagine the great disappointment to the boys when they could not obtain them.  Their very description used to “fire us up” with anticipated pleasure.  I speak personally and strongly on this point, for the pleasure these miniature stages gave to us boys was immense and too great for words to express.

The writer is of opinion that the stages were not forthcoming, as the announcements went to show that there was a hitch somewhere, and he is strengthened in this opinion by reading a special article in No. 21, April 13, 1867, under the heading of “The Young Mechanic,” entitled “How to make a Stage,” illustrated with diagrams and description of wood and tools required; anyway, the announcements respecting the stages were dropped at this time, and they did not appear again for a great length of time.

The next play produced was “Jack Cade; or, The Rebel of London,” consisting of seven large sheets of scenes, eight large sheets of well drawn characters, a splendid new act drop, orchestra, a sheet of mechanical effects, and two stages of side wings especially prepared for “The Boys of England” theatre.  These were published in five gigantic sheets (per announcement) and sold at one halfpenny per sheet.  Non-subscribers were charged twopence per sheet, and the first sheet was sold with No. 48, Vol. 2, October 19, 1867 of “The Boys of England.”  The machinery for producing the stages was probably inadequate in those days and could not keep pace with the enormous demand that must have resulted from the announcements in the widely-circulated Brett publications.

According to further announcements in the later numbers of Vol. 4 of “The Boys of England,” the immense success which attended the first issue of “Alone in the Pirates’ Lair” and “Jack Cade,” induced Brett to reprint them “at great expense” and these did duty for the winter months of 1869.  With No. 3 of “The Boys of the World,” October 5, 1869, was given away the first sheet of characters of “the grand play” entitled “Tom Daring; or, Far from Home,” and the gifts were continued in this periodical to induce new subscribers.  This play was followed by “the grand historical one” of “King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table,” which was likewise given gratis to the subscribers, the first two sheets out of the complete set of 16 sheets being included with No. 36, Vol. 2, May 21, 1870, in which appeared the opening chapter of a serial of the same title, by the author of “Chevy Chase,” “King of the School,” etc.

It will be seen that Brett made use of these plays to inaugurate his new periodicals.

The writer has, so far, not been able to trace the date when the play of “The Miller and His Men” was first published by Brett, but for the winter season of 1872  six plays, including “Jack Cade,” “Tom Daring,” “Alone in the Pirates’ Lair,” “King Arthur,” “The Skeleton Horseman; or, The Shadow of Death,” and “The Giant of the Black Mountains; or, Harlequin Jack and his Seven Brothers,” were on sale, each play consisting of sixteen sheets of characters and scenes, with stage fronts 1d. plain, 2d. coloured, lamps and slides 1/7, wood stages 1/3; and for the season of 1874 “The Miller and his Men,” and “Roland the Pirate,” an extra large play, 8d. plain, 1/6 coloured, stage fronts, plain 3d., coloured 9d. and large stages 2/6 were added to the list.  Afterwards appeared “Robinson Crusoe,” “The Forty Thieves,” “Blue Beard,” “Mazeppa; or the Wild Horse of Tartary,” “Harkaway among the Brigands,” and “The Roadside Inn.”  The prices of these later complete plays were 6d. plain, 1/- coloured, or mounted and cut ready for use 3/6, post free 3/9.  Books of the play 1d. each, lamps 3d., post free 5d., slides 4d. per dozen, post free 7d., and new folding wood stage 1/6.  This list and prices continued, I believe, whilst the firm existed or, at any rate, whilst the stock lasted.

February 5, 1921.

A recital of these old plays by Brett will doubtless bring many happy memories to the mind of a host of readers of this paper, and the writer shares his pleasure with them.  The mere writing about them recalls many, many pleasant (and unpleasant) incidents, when busy colouring and cutting out the various characters, mounting the scenes, trying to induce the lamps to burn with colza oil, which was not always a success, and gave more unpleasant smoke than flame, and then after going through the performance, finishing off the last scene with blue or red fire.  What glorious fun we all had and how we enjoyed it! often inviting our friends, mates and neighbours to “come and see the performance,” and then, when we got tired of the Plays, we used to swap or exchange them for a cricket bat, balls and stumps, books, or anything useful, in the Exchange and Mart column of the Boys’ periodicals of the time, as a glance at them will testify.

By the way, this was a feature that Brett would never permit in his boys’ periodicals, although there were more offers of his publication for sale or exchange in the advertisements in boys’ papers than of any other publisher’s.  He had his reasons for his objection, I suppose; possibly because he had the new stuff for sale, and did not wish to assist his readers to obtain them more easily or cheaper than he sold them for!

These “Advts.” only cost a few pence each insertion, but some good business was done.  The writer has a copy of one of his own advertisements for “A Stage and Four plays all complete and ready for use, 6/6, or exchange for books of equal value,” which appeared in an old boys’ periodical over 43 years ago.  I wonder how many of these stages and plays all complete and ready for use are in existence at the present time; not many, I venture to say; they would be priceless if only as a monument to the Past.

It all brings our happy, irresponsible boyhood’s days back again most vividly to our minds, and makes us forget for a brief minute or two what we have gone through since then in the great race of life, and what we are undergoing, good or bad, at the present moment.  Anyway, these reminders and memories make our “Peeps into the Past” more enjoyable.

The writer has dealt largely with Brett’s plays because, as before mentioned, they are the most remembered and more widely known.  They were exceedingly popular at the time.  I will now deal with the more superior class of Toy Theatres, which are not so generally known.

According to “Varia,” by John Ashton, 1894, William West, who was in business at 13, Exeter Street, Strand from 1811 to 1819, and afterwards at 57 Wych Street, Strand till 1832, when the business was taken over by S. Stokes, was the first to introduce, print and publish these old juvenile plays.  They were literally works of art, engraved and printed from copper plates, and all his plates bear the date they were published and printed on the bottom edges.  The writer possesses a few, given to him by one of the best living authorities who has one of the finest collections in England, the value of which amounts to several hundred pounds, which he keeps preserved in specially made drawers, all tabulated and in perfect order.  The sheets vary in size, running from 6¾ in. x 8¼ in. for a small stage to nearly double these sizes.  Those in the writer’s possession are dated from 1824 to 1826.  West apparently was the only one to date his sheets.  The address in given as:— “London:  Published May 29, 1826 by W. West, at his Theatrical Print Warehouse, 57 Wych Street opposite the Olympic Theater, Strand,” and if any reader obtains any so printed he will know they are the genuine article.  The characters and scenes of some are coloured (possibly by hand); others are simply plain, but for clearness and execution of detail they are really wonderful works of art.  West produced and published 107 plays, and needless to say these are very eagerly sought for by collectors, and command very high prices.  One collector some time ago paid £5 for the book of words of “Guy Fawkes,” which originally sold for 4d.  The original price of West’s sheets was 1d., 2d. and 3d., but Skelt sold his for ½d. and in this way he cut the trade up, especially as he produced plates carelessly drawn on wood.  Skelt was originally a shoemaker and commenced business in the Minories about 1840; he took three relatives of the same name into partnership.  Some of the sheets bear the name of M. Skelt, the original; others M. & B. Skelt; and the latest B. only; the final one being E. Skelt, without any address. The latter died about 1890.  These are most essential points for collectors of Skelt’s prints.  Altogether the Skelts produced 53 plays, most of which bear the address of 11 Swan-street, Minories, London.  A few were printed from copper plates, but the majority from wood and although they are more crude and not so clearly defined in their execution as those by West, they are infinitely superior to Brett’s productions, which are the commonest of all.

Another printer and publisher was of the name of H. G. Jamieson, 13 Duke-street, Bow-street, London, who published 34 plays between 1811 and 1820.  These were from copper plates, and there are not many now in existence.  Hodgson & Co., 10 Newgate-street and 43 Holywell-street, Strand, also published some 25 plays from 1822 to 1824.  The other publishers with no record as far as the writer can ascertain were:—

Mrs. M. Hibberd, 2 Upper Carlton-st., Marylebone, 1811-14.

H. Burtenshaw, 130 St. Martin’s-lane, 1812.

J. K. Green, 1812.

G. Greed, Exeter-street, Strand, 1819.

Thos. Cristoe, 34 Drury-lane, 1819.

C. Hook, 33 Windmill-street, Tottenham Court-road, 1820.

W. J. Layton, 10 Petty’s Court, Hanway-street, Oxford-street, 1820.

J. L. Marks, 17 Artillery-street, Bishopsgate, 1814-1822.  He engraved his own plates if “Marks-fecit” on his sheets means anything.

W. Clarke, 265 High Holborn, 1821.

H. Masters, Leigh-street, Red Lion-sq., 1822.

J. Smart, 35 Rathbone-place, Oxford-st., 1822.

W. Cole, successor to Hodgson & Co. at 10 Newgate-street, City, 1819.

C. Lloyd, 1825.

J. Dyer, Dorset-crescent, Hoxton New Town, 1828.

J. Bailey, 2 Slade’s-place, Sutton-st. and 65 Grays Inn Lane, 1830.

W. Stokes, 57 Wych-street, Strand, 1832.

A. Park, 47 Leonard-street, City-road.

J. Fairburn, 160 Minories, 1837.

F. Edwards, 49 Leman-st., Goodman’s Fields.

J. Godwin, Pentonville.

B. Perkins, 40 Marshall-st., Carnaby Market.

J. Quick, 4 Duke’s Court, Paviour’s Alley, Union-street, Blackfriar’s-road.

Of all the latter it is impossible to fix any date of their engraving; possibly some of them merely acted as agents and distributors for other printers and publishers.

In “Notes and Queries,” Oct. 18, 1873, appeared a query concerning one of West’s special pantomime tricks, to which Mr. Ralph Thomas replied as follows:  “I can testify to the correctness of part of Mr. Husk’s note in reference to Bedford House and the columns in Covent Garden.  I have the Christmas pantomime trick to which he refers.  I recollected from his description that I had amongst my collection of West’s scenes and characters something similar, and upon searching I find what Mr. Husk describes including the inscription, except that it is a greengrocer’s shop that is transformed into a representation of the Column.  The plate is entitled West’s New Pantomime Trick No. 42.  London:  published June 13, 1825, by Mr. W. West at the Theatrical Print Warehouse, 57, Wych-st., Strand.  On the same sheet is a large plum pudding which changed into a hobgoblin.

“For years I have collected West’s Prints published for the toy theatre.  They were once largely popular, and among other men, now celebrated, who would not be ashamed to own they amused many evenings of their boyhood, may be mentioned Mr. (afterwards Sir) John Everitt, Millais, the great painter, whose father also took great interest in painting or helping his son to paint the scenes and characters.

“Another name long familiar in higher walks of histrionic art than West’s Prints aspired to, is that of Mr. John Oxenford, who was a fond devotee and expressed thorough appreciation of ‘Poor Willy West.’  From some of the original drawings I have it is evident that the artists went to the theatre and there made the sketches of the scenes and costumes, so that West’s are copied from the plays as they were got up at that time, and I suppose West published scenes and characters of every play and pantomime of the time that obtained any degree of popularity.

“The scenes in ‘Ali Baba,’ ‘Blue Beard,’ ‘The Elephant of Siam,’ are extraordinarily pretty and effective.  ‘The Miller and His Men’—I have almost every size.  In ‘Cusco Bay,’ the characters and scenes are very good.  On one or two scenes there was such a run that these are, or were, very scarce; now I suppose they are not to be had at all.  All the nautical dramas are well got up, such as ‘Black-Eyed Susan,’ ‘The Red Rovers,’ ‘The Pilot,’ and others.  West’s Prints, for execution and accuracy of drawing and general get-up carried the palm over all the others, such as Layton, Marks, Spencer, Quick, Hebbert, Green, Jamison and Hodgson, though some of the latter’s largest scenes sold at 2d. each were well done.  Some of them signed ‘G.C.’ which I believe stands for George Childs (about whom I know nothing) and not George Cruikshank, though some of West’s are executed by him (see Mr. Geo. W. Reid’s catalogue of that extraordinary artist’s works).

“However, with popularity came the imitators and plagiarists, and that destructive pest CHEAPNESS.  Sheets as large as those sold for a penny and twopence could be had for ½d. or even less; at least, to boys they appeared the same.  Amongst those who destroyed the business and did a good trade was Skelt of the Minories.  I should say he was the foremost, though there were others too numerous to mention, whose plates, instead of being well executed on copper, were roughly drawn on wood.

“My collection includes specimens from the beginning of the 19th century to the present time.  But the great time for Toy Theatricals was when West flourished; I should say from about 1815 to 1835, though he kept his shop in Wych-street, where he moved from 13 Exeter-street, open for upwards of twenty years, until, in fact, he died.

“Mr. John Oxenford, in an article in the ‘Era Almanack’ for 1870, page 67, gives an interesting description of the Toy Theatre, mentioning West’s Prints.  He remarks ‘Poor Willy West’ has long been gathered to his fathers, and his plates have long been broken up—a complete collection would be invaluable.”

February 12, 1921.

Mr. Ralph Thomas continues:  “Now I have collected with great trouble, if not a complete, a nearly complete set of West’s Theatrical Prints, small, large and medium characters, scenes and pantomimes and tricks, and they are indeed of the greatest interest.

“I have always been puzzled to know whether West drew and engraved himself.  From his putting ‘West fecit’ on some, I imagine he did.  Grimaldi figures constantly in all the pantomimes, so do all the celebrated actors of the time, such as Edmund Keane, Yates, O’Smith, ‘The Keelys,’ Blanchard, T. P. Cooke, Young, Kemble, Miss Ellen Tree, Wallack, Miss Kelly and Liston.  One of the tricks is a box with Mr. Quiz, Haymarket, written upon it, which changes into Liston as Paul Pry.  Oxberry, Emery, Widdicombe, Astley and numerous others whose names I am quoting from memory I do not remember.  I should like to know who West was?  I have heard that he married a well-known actress, and that by his will he directed that his plates be broken up.  When and where did he die?  Who were the artists who worked for him?  I have heard that he presented a toy theatre most perfectly finished, with a stock of accessories complete, to the Royal children, which event was duly chronicled in the newspapers.  Where is this at the present time?  It would be most valuable.”

Further on, in “Notes and Queries,” Nov. 1, 1890, Mr. Walter Hamilton writes, under “Skelt’s and Webb’s Penny Plain and Twopence Coloured,” “It is only elderly or middle-aged men who remember these names, and the phrase to which these works gave rise.  Skelt has long been dead and I have just heard that Mr. W. Webb died on January 13 of this year (1890).  Many years ago Skelt started the idea of a mimic theatre, with small scenes, side scenes and characters, sold as penny or halfpenny sheets, of which twenty or thirty went to a play.  These were coloured by the juvenile purchasers, mounted on cardboard, and cut out and placed on the stage; a book of words being provided for each distinct play.  Skelt’s place was in Swan Street, Minories, and another person in the same business was Mr. Park, of Finsbury.  Skelt and Park were succeeded by W. Webb, who gradually got the whole business in his own hands, and his plays were sold in nearly all parts of London.  He was a clever though not a well-educated man.  He designed all the scenes and characters, and drew them on the stone, and having in view a ‘clientele’ he had to satisfy, the costumes and architecture were singularly accurate and tasty.  Of course the attitudes were stagey, but seldom ungraceful.  He also wrote the book of words, but these were not only devoid of all vulgarity, but remarkable for the condensation and dialogue.  I particularly remember ‘Robin Hood,’ ‘Aladdin,’ ‘The Miller and His Men,’ and ‘The Battle of Waterloo.’  As a measure of affording innocent amusement to youngsters these plays were admirable.  They gave occupation for many a quiet hour in colouring the pictures, and I remember that I used up many of the excellent shilling boxes of the Society of Arts colours in so doing.  Then comes the grand ‘Field Day’ or night, when, surrounded by our youthful friends, the play was produced and performed in the Theater Royal Back Parlour.

“When the climax was reached it was usual to burn red and blue fire, which generally stifled everyone in the room.  Many mothers of to-day would be glad to find such quiet, harmless and really instructive pastimes for their boys.  When I last saw Mr. Webb in his shop in Old Street, St. Luke’s, about a year ago, he lamented the decay of this branch of his business.  He attributed it partly to the increase of cheap (and often nasty) literature for boys, but chiefly to the home lessons children now have to study, which leave them little time, or inclination, for quiet indoor pastimes.

“The Penny Plain or Twopence Coloured Plates were rather different from what I have been describing.  Each sheet had but one large figure on it, such as ‘Wallace,’ ‘Richard Cœur de Lion,’ ‘Saladin,’ or ‘Ivanhoe.’  These were gorgeously attired and the purchaser, having selected one—either plain or coloured—had to set to work to cover it with tinsel bosses and armour, and to inlay the costumes with silk and gold laces.  These having been done they were of no further use, and except as show pieces, were consequently never so popular as the plays.  (The writer wonders how many of these are in existence to-day.)  I fear the whole art will now die out, and although the topic seems trivial, there must be many like myself who will look back with pleasure to a favourite recreation of their boyish days, and will regret to hear of the death of Mr. Webb, who was withal a most respectable, worthy and amiable man.”

Mr. Ralph Thomas follows in “Notes and Queries,” August 27, 1898, under “The Skelts,” “I wish to point out that Mr. Walter Hamilton is in error in stating that Skelt started the idea of the Juvenile Theatre.  As there is no collection of his prints accessible to the public this is a mistake that anyone is likely to make.  In my notes on ‘West’s Prints’ I say, among those who destroyed the business and did a good trade, Skelt of the Minories, I should say, was foremost.  Instead of being satisfied with simply correcting Mr. Hamilton’s statement, I wanted to write an article dealing with all the Skelts, but years have gone by and now that it is too late I do what I ought to have done before.  I say too late, because I find the statement that Skelt started the idea has got into a biographical dictionary.  There were four Skelts—M., I believe, started the business.  He took another into partnership and their prints are published by M. & M. Skelt.  Then one of those ‘M’s’ left and the prints again appear as published by M. Skelt.  This ‘M.’ took a ‘B.’ (Benjamin, I believe) into partnership.  Their prints are published by M. & B. Skelt.  Then ‘M.’ goes out and the prints are published by ‘B.’ alone, who, I presume, ‘burst up’ like the explosion in ‘The Miller and His Men,’ but then we have salvage from the general wreck published by E. Skelt, without any address.  As neither books nor prints are dated it took me several years before I was able to evolve these facts.  E. Skelt is said to have died about 1890 in a good situation.  It is clear that he never had sufficient capital to carry on the print business as very few prints bear his name.

“When the Skelts were sold up I do not know, but W. Webb had Skelt’s ‘Aladdin,’ and sold them with Skelt’s name taken out and his own inserted but whereas Skelt printed from copper plates, Webb had them published on and printed from the stone—a very inferior thing.  These remarks refer to Skelt’s halfpenny series, the penny plates that bore the Skelts’ name were either Lloyd’s or Straker’s, or other publishers.  Bad as Skelt’s were, Webb’s own were far worse.  The Skelts were reputed to be of the Jewish faith.  One was originally a shoemaker and died in Stepney workhouse.

“It is needless to say that to get all these details requires a pretty extensive collection, which I have in fact.  I have collected since a boy, and have probably over 5,000 distinct prints from copper plates printed between 1811 and 1850, and as many duplicates.  Of the Skelts alone I have 1,000 different prints.  The collection is almost complete; much of it was originally collected by Captain Frederick Hodges.  The earliest I have is by W. West, dated February 26, 1811.  I don’t think Skelt came on the scene until about 1840.  There are many collectors of Skelts and other publishers but I am told that nobody collects W. West’s prints, simply because there are none to be bought.  A. Park, printer and publisher of theatrical prints, lived at 47 Leonard Street, Tabernacle Walk, Finsbury.  W. Webb, already mentioned, succeeded J. Webb, whose place of business was qt 75 Brick Lane, St. Luke’s.  J. Beddington, formerly of 208 Hoxton Old Town, afterwards known as 73 Hoxton Street, was the successor to W. Webb and A. Park, and he in turn was succeeded by his son-in-law, the present printer and publisher of their old plays.  The writer has thus shown the History of the Toy Theatres and prints for more than the last 100 years, and which, as you and he knows, is still flourishing and going strong.  The proprietor remembers Robert Louis Stevenson very well—a tall man with dark hair, whose hat brushed against a toy stage, pendant from the ceiling to often, that the proprietor suggested taking the stage down.

“ ‘Never mind,’ said R. L. S., ‘it won’t happen again.’  But it did happen again, many times, and much to the damage of the famous author’s headgear.

“Many other famous authors have mentioned the juvenile drama in their writings.  Charles Dickens in his sketch entitled ‘A Christmas Tree,’ says:  ‘The Toy Theatre—there it is with its familiar proscenium, and ladies in feathers, in the boxes—and all its attendant occupation with paste and gum and glue, and water colours, in the getting up of ‘The Miller and His Men,’ and ‘Elizabeth; or the Exile of Siberia.’”

February 19, 1921.

Robert Louis Stevenson’s matchless essay, or article, “A Penny Plain and Twopence Coloured,” on page 227 of “The Magazine of Art,” for April, 1884, commences:  “These words will be familiar to all students of the Juvenile Drama.  That national monument, after changing its name to Skelt’s, to Park’s, to Webb’s, to Reddington and last of all to Pollock’s, has now for the most part become a memory.  Some of its pillars, like Stonehenge, are still afoot, the rest clean vanished.  It may be that the Museum numbers a full set, and Mr. Ionides perhaps, or else his gracious Majesty may boast their great collection; but to the plain private person they are become, like Raphaels, unattainable.  I have at different times possessed ‘Aladdin,’ ‘The Red Rover,’ ‘The Blind Boy,’ ‘The Old Oak Chest,’ ‘The Wood Demon,’ ‘Jack Sheppard,’ ‘The Miller and His Men,’ ‘Der Freischuetz,’ ‘The Smuggler,’ ‘The Forest of Bendy,’ ‘Robin Hood,’ ‘The Waterman,’ ‘Richard the First,’ ‘My Poll and My Partner Joe,’ ‘The Inchcape Bell,’ (imperfect) and ‘Three Fingered Jack, the Terror of Jamaica,’ and I have assisted others in the illumination of ‘The Maid of the Inn,’ and ‘The Battle of Waterloo.’

“In this roll-call of stirring names you read the evidences of a happy childhood; and though not half of them are still to be procured of any living stationer, in the mind of their once happy owner they survive—kaleidoscopes of changing pictures—echoes of the Past.”

He speaks of a certain shop in Edinburgh, in which he saw a Toy Theatre in working order, with a “Forest Set,” “A Combat,” and a few robbers carousing in the slides; and below and about, “dearer tenfold to me! the Plays themselves, those budgets of romance, lay tumbled one upon another.  Long and often,” he continued, “have I lingered with empty pockets.  That shop, which was dark and smelt of Bibles, was a loadstone rock for all that bore the name of boy.  They could not pass, nor, having entered, leave it—it was a place besieged.

“I cannot deny that joy attended the illumination; nor can I forgive that child who, willfully foregoing pleasure, stoops to ‘Twopence Coloured.’  With crimson lake (hark to the sound of it—crimson lake—the horns of elfland are not richer on the ear)—with crimson lake and Prussian blue a certain purple is to be compounded, which for cloaks especially, Titian could not equal.  The latter colour with gamboge, a hated name, although an exquisite pigment, supplied a green of such a savoury greenness that to-day my heart regrets it.  Nor can I recall without a certain tender weakness the very aspect of the water where I dipped my brush.  Yes, there was pleasure in the painting.  But when all was painted, it is needless to deny it, all was spoiled.  You might indeed, set up a scene or two to look at; but to cut the figures out was simply sacrilege; nor could any child twice court the tedium, the worry, and the long-drawn disenchantment of an actual performance.  Two days after the purchase the honey had been sucked.  Parents used to complain; they thought I wearied of my play.  It was not so, no more than a person can be said to have wearied of his dinner, when he leaves the bones and dishes.  I had got the marrow of it and said grace.

“Then was the time to turn to the back of the Play-book and to study that enticing double file of names, where poetry for the true child of Skelt reigned ‘happy and glorious,’ like her Majesty Queen Victoria.  Much as I have travelled in these realms of gold I have yet seen, upon that map or abstract, names of El Dorados that still haunt the ear of memory and are still but names.  ‘The Floating Beacon,’—why was that denied me? of ‘The Wreck Ashore’?  ‘Sixteen-String Jack,’ whom I did not even guess to be a highwayman, troubled me awake, and in a mask still visited my slumbers; and there is one sequence of three from that enchanted calendar that I still at times recall like a loved verse of poetry:  ‘Lodoisak,’ ‘Silver Palace,’ ‘Echo of Westminster Bridge,’ names—bare names, are surely more to children than we poor, grown-up obliterated fools remember.”

He continues further on, “The scenery of Skeltdom—or shall we say the Kingdom of Transportonus?—had a prevailing character, whether it set forth Poland as in ‘The Blind Boy,’ or Bohemia with ‘The Miller and His Men,’ or Italy with ‘The Old Oak Chest,’ still it was transpontus.  A botanist could tell it by the plants; the hollylock was all pervasive, running wild in deserts; the dock was common, and the bending reed; and overshadowing these were poplar, palm, potato tree and ‘Quercus Skeltica’—brave growths.  The caves were all embowelled in the Surreyside formation; the soil was all betrodden by the light pump of T. P. Cooke.  Skelt, to be sure, had yet another, an oriental string; he held the gorgeous East in fee; and in the new quarter of Hyeres, say in the garden of the Hotel de Isles d’Or, you may behold these blessed visions realised.”

In conclusion, R. L. S. says:  “In Pollock’s list of publications I perceive a pair of my ancient aspirations—‘Wreck Ashore’ and ‘Sixteen-String Jack,’ and I cherish the belief that when these shall see once more the light of day, B. Pollock will remember this apologist.  But, indeed, I have a dream at times that is not at all a dream.  I seem to wander in a ghostly street—E.W., I think the postal district—close below the fools-cap of St. Paul’s, and yet within easy hearing of the echo of the Abbey bridge.  There is a dim shop, low in the roof and smelling strong of glue and footlights.  I find myself in quaking treaty with great Skelt himself, the aboriginal; all dusty from the tomb.  I buy, with what a choking heart—I buy them all—all but the pantomimes—I pay my mental money and go forth; and lo! the packets are but dust.


The writer possesses a copy of this extremely interesting and valuable article from the pen of so celebrated a novelist and poet.  Is it not possible that Stevenson was inspired not a little, by his early association with the Toy Theatre when he wrote his masterpiece, “The Treasure Island”?  It is so full of romantic colour and incidents that his boyhood fancies and dreams may have been brought into play.  Stevenson evidently did not know much if anything about West’s Plays.  Possibly because, as Mr. Ralph Thomas remarks, they are so exceedingly scarce, or it may be that he made use of Skelt’s Plays when he wrote his article because he purchased some of them from Skelt himself, and so this fact would be uppermost in his mind.  The article, which is illustrated with reproductions of scenes and characters of the Toy Theatre, ranks amongst the most cherished treasures of the writer.

Another well written article (similarly illustrated and by Brander Matthews) appeared in No. 4, vol. 58, of “Scribner’s Magazine,” October, 1915, under the title of “A Moral from a Toy Theatre.”  Another appeared in the “Evening News” of December 16, 1908, which formed part No. 6 of the series of articles then being published under the heading of “The Dying Trades of London.”  It was entitled “Toy Theatre Makers.”  Another entitled “The Tinsel Tragedians,” by S. R. Littlewood, appeared in “The Daily Chronicle” for Jan. 7, 1914.  A previous one (fully illustrated) by the same author appeared in the same newspaper of September 12, 1912.  This was entitled “Twopence Coloured:  the Juvenile Drama;” whilst the “Ladies’ Pictorial” for November 21, 1914, published a special illustrated article upon the same subject, all of which were evidently written with a view to encourage the industry, and to let it be known that Toy Theatres, Juvenile Drama, Penny Plain and Twopence Coloured could still be obtained.  The great war would no doubt interfere with the sales somewhat, and possibly put an end to it, and this cannot be ascertained without making a voyage of discovery to 73 Hoxton Street, not far from Old Street Police Court.

A great change has however, come over the aspirations and pleasures of the modern boy.  Boy Scouts, Boys’ Brigades and other excellent man-framing associations and institutions, as well as the alluring Cinema Theatres, none of which existed in our old boyhood days, have instilled a new form of life into the rising generation.  What was real pleasure and fun to us (“Old Boys”) does not appeal to them, only as curiosities, and relics of “Peeps into the Past.”


21, Fircroft Road,

London, S.W.7.


Mr. J. C. Ringham writes from 20 Drury Lane, Lincoln:—

“ ‘Peeps into the Past’ brings back ‘Days of auld syne.’  I well remember the ‘Boys of England’ Theatre, with the sheets of characters and scenes presented with the various Brett publications.  The ‘Boys’ Sunday Reader’ was one I remember, but I think Mr. Jay did not speak of this.  The Henderson series also interested me, for I wrote for ‘Scraps,’ ‘Snap Shots,’ ‘Weekly Budget,’ and other papers of Mr. James Henderson, some forty years since.  Mr. Jay’s articles are very interesting to us old stagers, bringing back as it does, our boyhood days.  Time certainly passes quickly.  I can hardly believe that it will be twenty-seven years in the last week of March since I first got a prize on ‘Moments with the Past’ page of SPARE MOMENTS.”



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