Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

The People’s Friend hits the 150 year mark

Making it more successful and durable than many others, it seems The People’s Friend magazine has made to its 150th year of publication.

Publication began on 13 on January 1869, but it took until 11 May 1946, before the familiar illustrated cover first appeared.

Since then, it seems each cover has been hand-drawn and signed J Campbell Kerr, however, that is an alias for many artists who have worked on the cover illustrations over the years.

By the numbers, the magazine now sells more than 170,000 copies a week, and has readership of around 400,000.

Beginning as a publication with something for the whole family, it has evolved over the years, becoming a magazine for women (younger housewives) around the time of World War I.

By the 1970s and 1980s, its readers had become older, younger women had started to work full-time, and the average age of readers is now late 60s.

First Illustrated People's Friend Cover 1946

First Illustrated People’s Friend Cover 1946

I haven’t seen inside one for years, but I was once a regular reader for a week or two every year.

We used to holiday in Ayr, staying in a room let by two elderly (to me at least) sisters, and had the run of their house while they were at work during the day.

Most mornings I could be found reading all the magazines they had lying around the house, which feature a LOT of People’s Friend magazines.

Seems it is now a major publisher of magazine fiction, with some  600 short stories appearing every year.

The weekly magazine also spawns a three weekly special and an annual.

It is the longest-running weekly magazine in the world and was first published ten years before Thomas Edison patented the electric lightbulb.

Now the People’s Friend is to mark its impressive 150th anniversary with a year-long series of events and celebrations.

First published in Dundee on 13 January, 1869, a copy of the magazine is still sold every 3.44 seconds – almost nine million copies a year.

Pitched as a magazine to “entertain and instruct” its readers, the People’s Friend was originally designed to be enjoyed by the whole family, read out around the fireplace. It subsequently morphed into a female-focused publication as men went off to fight in the First World War and now includes around 600 short stories every year.

Now with a total readership of 400,000, it is also exported each week to 20,000 readers as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada.

Angela Gilchrist, editor-in-chief of The People’s Friend since 2007, said the magazine still stands by its founding principles to ensure it contains nothing that could “corrupt the morals either of old or young”.

She said: “We’re proud to have maintained the founding values of the magazine. They are embedded into the ethos of the magazine – this is what The Friend is about and what it stands for.

“The famous founding statement which was in the first issue talks about ‘Nothing in the columns intended to corrupt the morals of young or old’ and that is very much the principle of the magazine. There will be nothing to upset or offend. The Friend is all about entertainment so people feel better for reading it, not saddened, upset or frightened in any way.”

Scottish women’s magazine The People’s Friend marks 150 years

From what I remember, I don’t think I’d argue with that.

Peoples Friend 150th Anniversary 2019

Peoples Friend 150th Anniversary 2019

There’s just one question raised by the above…

If it “was first published ten years before Thomas Edison patented the electric lightbulb“, how did they read it at night?

Just kidding 🙂


11/01/2019 - Posted by | Civilian | , ,

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