Victorian Periodicals

The nineteenth century was a hotbed of writing and throughout the century the number of periodicals continued to rise.

This page is dedicated to some of the lesser known periodicals which are associated with the popular Victorian novelists.

All The Year Round


Title page from Volume 14A weekly paper of 24 pages, costing 2d. and started in April 1859 by Charles Dickens as the successor to Household Words. Dickens had broken with Bradbury and Evans, over their objection to printing in Punch a notice explaining to the English public his reasons for separating from Mrs Dickens. All The Year Round, while retaining the general appearance and format of its predecessor, differed in important respectss. It was, for instance, independent of any publisher. And, unlike Household Words,All The Year Round invariably featured long continuous fiction as its lead item. (Its subtitle was The Story Of Our Lives From Year To Year.) The paper kicked off with A Tale of Two Cities, and there followed over the succeeding years Great Expectations, Wilkie Collins'The Woman in White and The Moonstone, Charles Reade's Hard Cash, Mrs Gaskell's A Dark Night's Work, Bulwer-Lytton's A Strange Story.

Under Dicken's editorship, the journal also published some distinguished reportage (notably the editor's own Uncommercial Traveller papers).

Dickens personally conducted the magazine (with the help until 1868 of W H Wills - who owned one quarter of it - his former assistant on Household Words) until his death in 1870. Wilkie Collins was also a member of the staff until January 1862. During this period, circulation was very high, starting at 120 000 a week for normal issues, rising to as much as 300 000 for the larger fourpenny Christmas numbers, which featured specially commissioned short fiction from star writers.

Charles Dickens Jr succeeded his father as editor. However, as early as the mid-1860s, the journal had begun to lose ground, tending to serialise incresingly minor fiction by writers like Percy Fitzgerald, Rosa Mulholland, G A Sala and Miss Braddon. It did, however, publish three of Anthony Trollope's best late works: Is He Popenjoy?, The Duke's Children and Mr Scarborough's Family. In its last year, the journal serialised Prisoners of Silence by its founder's novel-writing descendant Mary Angela Dickens.

[The] Argosy


Title page of the ArgosyA Magazine of Tales, Travels, Essays and Poems, it sold for 6d. and offered 100 pages of text with two illustrations.

The journal was launched with Charles Reade's Griffith Gaunt, a tale of bigamy. Strahan (a very strait-laced publisher) was mortified by the fuss the story provoked and promptly sold Argosy to Mrs Henry Wood in October 1867.

Mrs Henry Wood turned it into a rival to Elizabeth Braddon's Belgravia, using it primarily as a vehicle for her own fiction. Wood's best contributions to the magazine are generally thought to be her "Johnny Ludlow" stories. She remained editor until her death in 1887, when her son C W Wood took over.

Other novelists featured in Argosy are Sarah Doudney and Rosa Nouchette Carey.

The magazine had various imprints until 1871, when Bentley adopted it though apparently not as his sole property. In 1898, just before extinction, it was bought by Macmillan.

Atalanta - Every Girl's Magazine


Atalanta Vol III This was a monthly magazine for girls published by Marshall Brothers of London. It had three main editors during its existence; L T Meade [Mrs Lillie Toulmin Smith](1887-93), A B Symington (1893-96) and Edwin Oliver (1896-98).

It specialised in high quality fiction and included both fiction and non-fiction by authors such as H Rider Haggard, Grant Allen, R L Stevenson - including Catriona - George Macdonald, Mrs Molesworth, W E Norris, F Anstey, Richard Garnett, Jean Ingelow, Blanche Lindsay, Charlotte M Yonge and Sarah Tytler amongst others.



Subtitled A London Magazine, it was begun by the publisher John Maxwell mainly as a host for the fiction of his lover Mary Elizabeth Braddon who was also the journal's first editor, or "conductor". She called the magazine "The best bait for the shillings of Brixton and Bow". In format and name, Belgravia followed in the wake of Cornhill first published in 1860.

It was a monthly magazine and cost 1s. Circulation peaked in the 1860s at around 18,000. Moderately good artists, such as M E Edwards, supplied illustrations. G A Sala and J S Le Fanu contributed in the period that Braddon was editor. Its companion was the Belgravia Annual published at Christmas and contributed to by Walter Besant, Bret Harte, Thomas Hardy, Ouida and Wilkie Collins.

In March 1876, Chatto and Windus acquired and revamped the magazine. Illustrations became more prominent, and a more famous class of novelist contributed. They included: Charles Reade, Wilkie Collins, Mark Twain and Thomas Hardy.

Like most fiction-carrying journals, Belgravia was quickly upstaged by newer and more fashionable publications. In 1889, Chatto sold it to F V White and Co. where it began to go downhill, dropping its price and its illustrations, and featuring the work of second-rank novelists like Mrs Lovett Cameron and Annie Thomas (ie Mrs Pender Cudlip).

Bentley's Miscellany


Richard Bentley originally intended his illustrated monthly magazine to be entitled the Wit's Miscellany On its launch, the new venture had an immense success. This was largely due to its being edited by Dickens who contributed Oliver Twist to the early issues. After stormy disagreements with Bentley, Dickens was succeeded as editor and lead contributor in 1839 by W H Ainsworth.

Ainsworth's Jack Sheppard was, if anything, even more popular than Oliver Twist and drove circulation up to near the 10,000 mark. Both novels were illustrated by George Cruikshank, another of the magazine's principal attractions.

As an editor, Ainsworth, like Dickens, only lasted two years. His successor Richard Bentley represented a distinct decline in quality. The main achievement of the journal in its first five years was its popularisation of the long, serialised and handsomely illustrated novel. It borrowed something from the Dublin University Magazine and contributed much to the idea of George Smith's Cornhill Magazine in 1860.

From the mid-1840s the magazine was only a shadow of its original self. Bentley actually parted with it in 1854, when it was taken over by Ainsworth and Chapman and Hall. George Bentley recovered the Miscellany in 1868, only to submerge it in Temple Bar.

Blackwood's Magazine


Title page of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine Jan-June, 1860Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine (familiarly known to its contributors as Maga) was initially conceived as a Tory opponent for the Whig Edinburgh Review (1802-1929). However the monthly issue and miscellaneous format of the new journal made it much more a vehicle for creative literature than its ponderous quarterly rivals.

From the first, William Blackwood and his editors gathered a distinguished coterie of co-ideological contributors: De Quincey, John Lockhart, James Hogg, and fiction figured early in the magazine's menu with John Galt's Annals of the Parish, in 1821. From then until 1900 (when Conrad's Lord Jim appeared in its pages) the journal serialised major novels by Samuel Warren (Ten Thousand a Year), Bulwer-Lytton (The Caxtons, What Will He Do With It?), George Eliot (Scenes of Clerical Life), Anthony Trollope (five novels), and Margaret Oliphant, most of whose serialised novels appeared in its pages.

Especially after the appearance of Cornhill in 1860, the unillustrated Blackwood's Magazine tended to look dull, and its circulation after the 1860s dropped from a high point of 10,000 to a humble 3000 or so. However, in mere longevity it is the outstanding magazine vehicle for fiction in the nineteenth century.

In its criticism of literature it sustained a consistently indignant moral tone, whether against Keats and the "Cockney School" of poets in 1817, or against "low" novelists like Dickens in the 1840s, or Hardy and the "anti-marriage" league of modern novelists in the 1890s. The Blackwood's formula was taken over by William Maginn for Fraser's Magazine.

[The] Boy's Own Paper


The BOP was founded in 1879 as a boy's weekly. Its publisher was the Religious Tract Society and the paper was intended principally to counteract the pernicious effects of the penny dreadful class of literature with "pure and entertaining reading". Also costing a penny it courageously (for an evangelical journal) made secular fiction its main element; the opening item of the first issue, for instance, was Talbot Baines Reed's story "My First Football Match".The BOP thus fought the secular juvenile publishers on their own ground, even taking its name from other popular papers with the "Boys" prefix such as E J Brett's Boys Of England.

Under its gifted first editor George Hutchison (1841-1913) the BOP featured stories by G A Henty, R M Ballantyne, Conan Doyle, "Captain" Charles Gibson, Talbot Baines Reed, Jules Verne and W H G Kingston. Large graphic illustrations and witty vignettes were part of the layout. Among the artists who worked for the paper were Frank Brangwyn and Jack Nettleship.

BOP quickly became the market leader among boys' magazines of the late nineteenth century, with a circulation approaching a quarter of a million and annual profits of over 4000 a year. The paper specialised in tales of adventure, sport and of public school life and left an indelible mark on generations of "lads" of all classes. The BOP survived in attenuated form until the 1960s. In 1880, a Girl's Own Paper was begun as a sister publication.

Cassell's Magazine

Begun in 1867 as the successor to Cassell's Illustrated Family Paper and later retitled Cassell's Family Magazine this was a publication of Cassell and Co. Aimed at a "family readership", the heavily illustrated magazine published name novelists such as R L Stevenson, A Quiller Couch, H Rider Haggard, Sheridan Le Fanu, Charles Reade, Wilkie Collins and J M Barrie. The serialisation of Wilkie Collins's Man and Wife was so popular it raised circulation to 70 000.

After it was retitled in 1874 its featured novelists changed to the more populist authors such as Mrs G Linnaeus Banks, J Berwick Harwood and Theo Gift.

By the late 1890s, the journal had been increasingly influenced by the Tit-Bits genre of miscellaneous journalism and the new pictorial techniques pioneered in Newnes's Strand Magazine. The magazine survived into the twentieth century.

[The] Cornhill Magazine


First page of the Cornhill Magazine, Vol IV, July 1861This was the premier fiction-carrying magazine of the century and was the brainchild of George Smith, of Smith, Elder and Co. Drawing on the example of the American Harper's Magazine, Smith planned a high quality monthly magazine, well illustrated, costing only 1s.

His first intention was to have Thomas Hughes as editor, but he ended up with Thackeray. The appointment was inspired. The first issue of January 1860 carrying serials by Trollope and Thackeray and illustrations by Millais was an unprecedented success, 110,000 copies being sold.

Although circulation halved within three years, the magazine was established as market leader among British monthly periodicals. Charles Reade, Wilkie Collins, Mrs Gaskell, Thomas Hardy, George Eliot and James Payn all serialised major novels in the journal.

In April 1862 Thackeray gave up the editorship but his last, incomplete work, Denis Duval appeared in the magazine. Later editors included G H Lewes, Leslie Stephens and James Payn.

Cornhill inspired a spate of imitations with names derived from London topography: Temple Bar, St Paul's, Belgravia and St James.

The monthly magazine was eventually superseded by weekly or fortnightly publications costing half as much, with many more illustrations.

[The]English Illustrated Magazine


Monthly literary magazine pulished by Macmillan. Authors included Edmund Gosse, Richard Jefferies, Mrs Oliphant and Swinburne. Amongst other illustrators used were Walter Crane, Carlo Perugini (Kate Dickens' second husband), Alma Tadema and Louis Wain. Wilkie Collins contributed two short stories The Girl at the Gate and The Poetry Did It. An Event in the Life of Major Evergreen.

Family Friend

1849-67, 1870-1921

Family Friend 1891 This began as a monthly magazine until 1852 when it became a weekly. It went through several series; Vols 1-6 1849-52; Vols 1-21 1852-61; Enlarged series Vols 1-8 1862-5; New series Vols 1-3 1866-7; New series with illustrations Vols 1-52 1870-1921. Eventually it was incorporated into Girls Mirror. Some of the editors were R K Philip (1849-52) and W Jones (1852-5)

During the late 19th century it included music, fiction and improving non-fiction by mostly minor authors, although these did include S Baring-Gould, Jennie Chappell, Lina Orman Cooper (who was a Girl's Own contributor), Josepha Crane and Isabella Fyvie Mayo.

[The] Family Herald


Header and top half of page from an 1897 issue of FAMILY HERALDThe Family Herald: A Domestic Magazine of Useful Information & Amusement was the first English story paper and featured several story supplements such as The Monthly Magazine of Fiction, The Family Story-Teller, The Boys' Story-Teller and the Complete Story-Teller. Initially a weekly magazine, by 1855 its circulation was apparently 240,000 a week. Each weekly issue included a portion of at least two serialised novels, a short story or two, poetry, a science column, a statistics column, generally a domestic/recipe column and a number of anecdotes, odd facts and jokes listed under Varieties and Random Readings.

Aimed at more of the lower end of the market than a magazine such as Temple Bar it is a fascinating read packed with enjoyable fiction.

Fraser's Magazine


Founded as a London equivalent of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine the journal had the same monthly format, miscellaneous contents and Tory political flavouring.

The first editor was a former Blackwood's contributor, William Maginn. Articles were anonymous and often collectively written. The magazine took its title from its reticent publisher, James Fraser, but its character was entirely the creation of Maginn who remained in the editorial chair until 1836 recruiting a distinguished band of Fraserians who included: Thackeray, Carlyle, James Hogg and T C Croker.

In its early years, the magazine took a keen critical interest in contemporary fiction and led by Thackeray conducted a savage assault against the Newgate novel and its main practitioner Bulwer-Lytton. In the late 1830s, it carried the serialised versions of Thackeray's early fictions: Catherine, The Yellowplush Correspondence and A Shabby Genteel Story(1840).

In the 1840s under the editorship of G W Nickisson, it became more sober and largely steered clear of fiction. But under John W Parker (1847-60) it serialised Charles Kingsley's Yeast and Hypatia. Longman's acquired the magazine in 1865.

[The] Girl's Own Paper


Title page for The Girl's Own Annual 1889Sister publication to the immensely popular Boy's Own Paper, also published by the Religious Tract Society. Starting a year later than its companion, GOP featured the so-called "girl's story" which had been pioneered by L T Meade and Evelyn Everett-Greene. Rosa Nouchette Carey also contributed to this magazine. GOP shared the same format as BOP, making some conventional concessions to the milder and more domestic nature of the Victorian girl.

A history of and index of everything contained in the Girl's Own Paper is available on another website and has been compiled by Honor Ward.

Good Words


Title page of Good Words 1866The most popular fiction-carrying monthly magazine (after 1861) of the nineteenth century, before Newnes' Strand Magazine appeared in 1891. Good Words was devised by the Scottish publisher and magazine proprietor, Alexander Strahan whose bright idea it was to find a way of recruiting the large evangelical readership of magazines for something lighter than theology and church news. As a pilot, he had launched the weekly Christian Guest, A Family Magazine for Leisure Hours and Sundays in 1859.

The motto for Good Words was: Good Words are Worth Much and Cost Little. It was the only journal of its kind to receive an endorsement from the Society for Purity in Literature, in 1861. At around seventy pages, with illustrations, costing 6d, the magazine was good value.

Much of its success is attributable to the editor Strahan appointed, the Reverend Norman Macleod, a hero of the Established Church of Scotland. In addition to editing and writing on theological matters, Macleod contributed many of the journal's most popular pious stories, notably, The Old Lieutenant and His Son (1861), the story of an evangelical sailor who spreads lavish amounts of Christian good wherever he goes. Under Macleod, the tone of the journal was consistently instructive, with a preference for articles of travel and geographical interest.

Among other more secular novelists who contributed to the journal were Dinah Mulock (Craik), Anthony Trollope (although Rachel Ray in 1863 led to a painful breach, arising from its alleged anti-evangelical satire), "Sarah Tytler" (ie Henrietta Keddie), Edna Lyall, Charles Kingsley, George MacDonald, Thomas Hardy (The Trumpet Major), and Mrs Henry Wood. A notable feature of the paper was its use of distinguished illustrators, including W Q Orchardson, Arthur Hughes and J E Millais.

The journal started off with a circulation of 30 000 and rose to five times that figure by 1864. However, it never quite shook off the dark suspicions of strict Christians that it was the insidious enemy of Sabbatarianism. Despite its bounding circulation, Good Words was not an unqualified success, largely due to the incompetent business management of its proprietor Strahan. There were a series of financial crises in the late 1860s, culminating in near bankruptcy of the publisher's whole enterprise in 1872. Strahan was forced to retire from business, although Good Words continued to come out under his firm's name.

The journal gradually fell back from the first rank it had occupied in the 1860s, but it survived until the twentieth century when after various takeovers it became an unrecognisable tabloid. In the 1860s a stable of journals sprang up around Good Words, including: The Sunday Magazine (founded in 1864) and Good Words for The Young (founded in 1868, edited in the 1870s by George MacDonald), Good Cheer (the journal's special Christmas issues) and [The] Argosy (founded in 1865).

Household Words


A 2d weekly, founded by Charles Dickens in collaboration with Bradbury and Evans, who had a quarter share in the venture. Dickens was assisted by W H Wills as sub-editor and the paper's circulation was a healthy 40 000 a week, rising to almost three times that for special Christmas issues. Household Words paid a guinea per two-column page printed.

The contents were miscellaneous (although book reviews were excluded), featuring general interest articles, politics (Dickens agitated for such things as workers' education) and current affairs. Short fiction was also featured. Mrs Gaskell contributed the sketches that came together in volume form as Cranford. Wilkie Collins also supplied short fiction and his was one of the careers (together with G A Sala's, Percy Fitzgerald's and Harriet Parr's) that was launched in the paper. Dickens published some longer pieces such as Mrs Gaskell's North and South and his own Hard Times.Other contributors were W B Jerrold, Grenville Murray, Bulwer-Lytton, Charles Collins, John Forster, Charles Kent, Mark Lemon, Chauncy Townshend and Edmund Yates. All articles were unsigned so that some of Dickens' friends such as Douglas Jerrold declined to write for him. Dickens was obsessive about getting everything in the magazine exactly as he wanted it and it was estimated that there were 2000 printers corrections per week. Such was his influence over it that some readers imagined that the entire magazine was written by him.

Dickens fell out with Bradbury and Evans over their refusal to print in Punch his explanation for parting from Mrs Dickens. He subsequently bought the property of Household Words at auction in 1859 and promptly extinguished the paper to start in its place the ambitiously conceived and independent All The Year Round.

[The] Illustrated London News


A weekly 6d publication which pioneered new illustrative techniques and a distinctive "pictorial journalism". The paper was founded by Herbert Ingram (1811-60), formerly a compositor and Nottingham newsagent who was inspired by the attractiveness of the occasional woodcut illustration in the otherwise staid Morning Chronicle. First issues of the ILN were sixteen folio pages and triple-columned.

Among the original contributors were Mark Lemon and the Mayhew brothers, stalwarts of Punch. Artists associated with the publication in its first years of publication were John Gilbert, John Leech, J Kenny Meadows and Alfred Crowquill.

During its early career, the ILN's stress was exclusively on current affairs. But in the early 1880s, spurred by its rival the Graphic (founded in December 1889), it began to feature serial fiction by novelists such as R L Stevenson, Walter Besant, R E Francillon, H Rider Haggard and Maarten Maartens. Hall Caine's The Scapegoat ran from July to October 1891, with the sexually explicit (ie bare-breasted) illustrations that evidently added to ILN's appeal to the general reader! By 1901, the weekly novel instalment was routinely the leading item in the paper.

The ILN developed a lighter and more homogenised pictorial style than the Graphic whose leading artists were the socially realistic Arthur Boyd Houghton (1836-75), Luke Fildes and Hubert Von Herkomer (1849-1914).

London Society


Front cover of a bound annual edition of LONDON SOCIETYAn illustrated monthly magazine, which advertised itself as "An Illustrated Magazine of Light and Amusing Literature for the Hours of Relaxation". The journal was published independently and contained the usual mix of miscellaneous articles, short fiction - much of it anonymous - and serialised novels. Mrs J H (Charlotte) Riddell contributed at least two novels to it, Above Suspicion in 1874 and The Senior Partner in 1881-2. Some of the other authors featured were Arthur Conan Doyle (pre-Sherlock Holmes), Alan Muir, Eleanor Catharine Price, W W Fenn and Florence Marryat who contributed her novel, Open Sesame and also edited the periodical for a time.

Some of the illustrators featured were M E Edwards who was a common illustrator also in the Argosy, R Caldecott, Harry Furniss (later known for his work on Punch and as a pioneer of British cinematography), F A Fraser and George Cruikshank, Jr.

The magazine issued lavish Christmas numbers with stories by such luminaries as J Sheridan Le Fanu, Shirley Brooks, George A Sala and Edmund Yates.

Longman's Magazine


A successor to Fraser's Magazine this was a monthly magazine which cost 6d that was unillustrated and made fiction its main item. It published short stories, serials and poetry and started by publishing James Payn's Thicker than Water and in its first year published various of Mrs Oliphant's Stories of the Seen and Unseen and other stories by Thomas Hardy, F Anstey, Dinah Craik and R L Stevenson.

In its early years, the magazine showed the strong influence of the firm's current literary adviser, Andrew Lang (although the editor for the magazine's twenty-three years of life was C J Longman).

Rudyard Kipling, H Rider Haggard and Walter Besant were authors who published over the years in Longman's Magazine, which embodied Lang's belief that romance, not realism or modernism, represented the strength of English fiction. Longman reprinted its magazine fiction writers in one volume book form in the 1880s and 1890s.

The magazine which was drab in appearance lost ground to the new illustrated papers such as Newnes' Strand. By 1900 it was a much less impressive publication, featuring such minor novelists as Arthur W Marchmont and L B Walford and it ceased publication in 1905.

Macmillan's Magazine


The Macmillan brothers, Daniel and Alexander, had the idea to start a house magazine as early as 1855. In fact, it was not until the end of the decade, after Daniel's death and the setting up of a London branch of the publishing house that the magazine got off the ground.

Macmillan's when it first appeared in November 1859, pipped Cornhill by a couple of months as the first 1s monthly magazine. Under its first editor, David Masson, Macmillan's was a more earnest organ than George Smith's venture and unillustrated. However, it prominently featured serial fiction, kicking off with Thomas Hughes' Tom Brown at Oxford. Works by the Kingsley brothers, Henry and Charles succeeded (including The Water Babies). In general, Macmillan's tended to concentrate more on closely associated house-authors than Cornhill.

Throughout its career Macmillan's Magazine upheld its proprietors' evangelical, intellectual, Arnoldian-Liberal cast of thought, while at the same time offering a wider array of fiction than any comparable journal. Among the authors who provided major novels for the magazine were Frances Hodgson Burnett, Annie Keary, Thomas Hardy, Mrs Oliphant, William Black, R D Blackmore, Charlotte M Yonge, William Clark Russell and Henry James.

The Monthly Packet


A collection of the Monthly PacketA magazine published by the evangelical firm of Mozley as an aid to the more liberal kind of Sunday-School teacher. The journal's full title was The Monthly Packet of Evening Reading For Younger Members Of The English Church

For most of its existence it was edited by Charlotte M Yonge, assisted after 1890 by Christabel Coleridge and featured a diet of general interest articles and improving fiction including contributions from Rosa Nouchette Carey.

Once A Week


Title page from Volume 6 1861-2In 1858 Bradbury and Evans broke with Dickens and subsequently set up Once A Week in opposition to Dickens' new weekly periodical All The Year Round under the editorship of Samuel Lucas. At 6d. it was more expensive than its predecessor and was illustrated. For their illustrators Bradbury and Evans drew on the extensive stable of artists associated with their other weekly magazine, Punch: notably John Leech, John Tenniel, George Du Maurier.

Punch writers such as Mark Lemon, Shirley Brooks and Tom Taylor also featured prominently in the magazine's pages. Serial fiction was a main attraction, and the early issues of Once A Week carried Charles Reade's A Good Fight and George Meredith's Evan Harrington.

In its first year, Once A Week probably sold around a million copies. However it was expensive to produce, probably underpriced, and went into a decline after Lucas died in 1865. At some point thereafter it was acquired by James Rice who owned and edited it until 1873 when G Manville Fenn bought it. By this stage it was a shadow of its former self. Historically the magazine's main achievement was to provide an outlet for the innovative group of illustrators of the 1860s.

The Pall Mall Magazine


Title page for the Pall Mall Magazine Volume 3 1869Founded with the American wealth of William Waldorf Astor and publisehd by Routledge, the Pall Mall was a monthly magazine, incorporating the popular fictional and pictorial styles of the 1890s.The magazine's policy was to steer a respectable middle course between the morbid excesses of the 1890s' aesthetes and the crassness of the English philistine.

Its first editors were Lord Frederick Hamilton and Sir Douglas Straight. The magazine carried articles of general and political interest, together with high-quality serial novels by, among others: George Meredith, Thomas Hardy, R L Stevenson, Hall Caine, Rudyard Kipling, A Conan Doyle, Israel Zangwill. The Pall Mall could not, however, compete with Newnes' dynamic Strand Magazine, and by 1900 had become boringly middlebrow in tone. In 1914, it merged with Nash's.

[The] Quiver


Title page for November 21, 1868The Quiver was started by Cassell's as a weekly paper, "Designed for the Defence of Biblical Truth, And The Advancement Of Religion In The Homes Of The People", under the editorship of John Cassell.

Despite its religiosity, the paper from the first made serial fiction its main attraction, and it was the vehicle by which Mrs Henry Wood made her name (among other novels, her Mrs Halliburton's Troubles about a family struggling to make ends meet after the death of the man of the house was published in it in 1862).

After 1864, the religious tone of the paper was loosened and even more so with the death of the straitlaced John Cassell a year later. Few novelists of note, other than Wood, published in the magazine's pages.

The Quiver's lavish Christmas numbers carried such titles as: the Mark (1868); Golden Arrows (1869); the Silver Bow (1870); the Silver Shaft (1871).

[The] St James's Magazine


This was a magazine set up to rival Cornhill by the publisher W Kent & Co in April 1861. It was monthly, scantily illustrated and cost 1s.Its first editor was the Irish woman of letters, Mrs S C Hall who declared her editorial programme as being

to promote the Interests of Home, the Refinements of Life and the Amusement and Information of all Classes.

Despite this sweeping agenda the magazine principally addresses itself to middle-class matrons.

The magazine contained substandard fiction (especially after its first year) and its most notable contributors were Dinah Mulock Craik and Mrs Hall herself whose best novel, Can Wrong Be Right? illustrated by Phiz was serialised in 1861.

Mrs Hall kept the editorship only for a year and was succeeded by amongst others Mrs J H Riddell (1867-68) who was also evidently a part-proprietor as well.

After 1871 the magazine added United Empire Review to its masthead.

St Paul's Magazine


Set up by the publisher James Virtue as a rival to Cornhill it followed that magazine in its format, monthly issue and 1s. cover price. Virtue designed the magazine around Anthony Trollope. Trollope in 1867 had political ambitions, and the magazine was carefully devised as a vehicle for his brand of independent Liberalism. he also published within it one of his finest parliamentary novels, Phineas Finn (1869), illustrated by J E Millais. Among his other major fiction, Ralph the Heir (1871) also first appeared in St Paul's.

Other novelists whose work featured in the magazine were George MacDonald and Margaret Oliphant. But the venture never achieved the 25,000 circulation hoped for and Virtue withdrew. Alexander Strahan took over the magazine, finally dispensing with Trollope's editorial services in 1870 and the enterprise was eventually wound up in 1874.

[The] Strand Magazine


Cover of the Strand Magazine Volume 2The brainchild of Tit-Bits' founder George Newnes, the Strand became known as the "Mirror of the Century".

Newnes wanted to set up a more intellectually respectable monthly stable-mate to Tit-Bits, costing 6d. From the first, the Strand hit the mark in attracting the middle-class family reader. The magazine was strongly pro-imperialist and favoured fiction with adventure or juvenile comedy. Early contributors included A E W Mason, E Phillips Oppenheim and P G Wodehouse.

Newnes' dislike of long items mitigated against full length serial fiction, so as a compromise the first editor, H Greenhough Smith hit on the idea of the short story sequence using a recurrent hero who, when he caught on, became a household name. This system worked particularly well with detective fiction with the magazine cornering the market with Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes), Grant Allen (Miss Cayley), and Arthur Morrison (Martin Hewitt, Investigator).

At its peak, the Strand commanded a circulation of half a million copies a month.

[The] Sunday Magazine


Title page of Sunday Magazine 1883Published by Isbister and Company and owned by Alexander Strahan this magazine absorbed The Day of Rest and then later united with Good Words. In addition, it produced a children's Christmas number entitled Little Snowflakes. Volumes 1-7 ran from October 1864 to September 1871, when a new series started of Volumes 1-35 running from November 1871 to April 1906.

Its editors included T Guthrie (1864-73), W G Blaikie (1873-80) and Benjamin Waugh (1881-94). During this latter period the illustrated magazine included such poets and authors as Annie S Swan, L T Meade, Dinah Craik, Silas Hocking, George MacDonald, Isabella Fyvie Mayo, Darley Dale, Agnes Giberne, Sarah Doudney, and Clara Thwaites.

Temple Bar


Title page of Temple Bar Volume 20 1867The most successful of Cornhill's rivals. This was a London journal, issued monthly with a cover price of 1s. However, it was originally unillustrated. The journal was launched in December 1860 by John Maxwell with the gifted bohemian author George Sala as its editor.

Sala was also a main contributor of fiction and wrote his The Seven Sons of Mammon (1862) and The Strange Adventures of Captain Dangerous (1862) for the periodical. Another popular feature in the magazine's early numbers was Miss Braddon's Aurora Floyd (1863). In a preface to the first volume Sala wrote that the editor and proprietor had toyed with the idea of woodcut illustrations, but decided instead to go for an extra sixeen page of text. As a result, for his 1s. the reader had a massive 144 pages.

The contents were miscellaneous, with a strong emphasis on serialised fiction. But the initial circulation of 30,000 soon dropped and the chronically impecunious Maxwell sold the property of the magazine to Sala around 1862. Editorship later passed to Richard and then to George Bentley enjoying a long period of prosperous stability, merging with the ailing Bentley's Miscellany in 1868.

Contributors under the Bentley regime were Wilkie Collins, Maarten Maartens, Charles Reade, Henry Kingsley, George Gissing, R L Stevenson and Anthony Trollope. It also carried high quality women's fiction from Mrs Henry Wood, Rhoda Broughton and A B Edwards.

George Bentley died in 1895, and the house of Bentley went under in 1898. Macmillan kept the now unfashionable magazine going for another few years. Unlike many of the rivals to Cornhill, Temple Bar contrived to create a distinct personality for itself as a bohemian-flavoured journal.

[The] Woman at Home


Front cover of WOMAN AT HOME, Vol 5, Oct 1895-Sept 1896Advertised as "Annie S Swan's Magazine" it was in fact initially edited by Jane Stoddard. A magazine aimed at middle-class women with young children it was virtually a female eqivalent of the Strand Magazine in both its look, features and fiction - strongly royalist and genteely feminist. Contributors included S Baring-Gould, H G Wells, Eliza Lynn Linton, Isabella Fyvie Mayo, Evelyn Everett Greene and Marie Corelli.

After 1918 it changed its name to The Home Magazine and became famous for first publishing Richmal Crompton's "Just William" stories.

[The] World: A Journal for Men and Women


A weekly magazine originally edited by Edmund Yates and founded in partnership with Grenville Murray on the 8th July, 1874. In early 1875 Yates became the sole proprietor after various editorial artistic disputes.

Young England


Young England Vol XIII This was a continuation of the magazine, Kind Words for Boys and Girls. It began as a weekly, but later went monthly and finally ended up as an annual. In the 1880s it included a supplement entitled, Young Englanders Journal which was written entirely by readers of the magazine. K M Eady who later became a regular contributor started out by having a story published in this supplement.

Published by the Sunday School Union it was edited by, amongst others, Benjamin Clarke (1880-89) and Thomas Archer (1889-94). According to W O G Lofts, some of the stories and illustrations were "of quite a gruesome nature."! Contributors included G A Henty, W H G Kingston, R M Ballantyne, Gordon Stables, George Manville Fenn, C J Cutcliffe Hyne and so was really more of a boys magazine, although female contributors included Mrs G Linnaeus Banks, Rosa Mulholland, Sarah Tytler, Jessie Saxby, Grace Stebbing, Josepha Crane and "Darley Dale".


Ackroyd P. Dickens London: Minerva, 1991
Gasson A. Wilkie Collins: an illustrated guide Oxford: OUP, 1998
Horsman A. The Oxford History of English Literature. Vol XIII. The Victorian Novel Oxford: OUP, 1990
Sutherland J. The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction Singapore: Longman, 1990


Hosting by WebRing.