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Bound volume of The Strand Magazine for Jan-June 1894 featuring George Charles Haité's famous cover design.

The Strand Magazine was a monthly magazine composed of fictional stories and factual articles founded by George Newnes. It was first published in the United Kingdom from January 1891 to March 1950 running to 711 issues[1], though the first issue was on sale well before Christmas 1890. Its immediate popularity is evidenced by an initial sale of nearly 300,000. Sales increased in the early months, before settling down to a circulation of almost 500,000 copies a month which lasted well into the 1930s. It was edited by Herbert Greenhough Smith from 1891 to 1930.

Contents

Fiction

The Sherlock Holmes short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle were first published in The Strand with illustrations by Sidney Paget. With the serialization of Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles, sales reached their peak. Readers lined up outside the magazine's offices, waiting to get the next installment. The A. J. Raffles, a "gentleman thief", stories of Ernest William Hornung first appeared in The Strand in the 1890s. Other contributors included Grant Allen, Margery Allingham, H.G. Wells, E.C. Bentley, Agatha Christie, C.B. Fry, Walter Goodman, E. Nesbit, W.W. Jacobs, Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Morrison, Dorothy L. Sayers, Georges Simenon, Edgar Wallace, Max Beerbohm, P. G. Wodehouse, Dornford Yates and even Winston Churchill. Once a sketch drawn by Queen Victoria of one of her children appeared with her permission.

Puzzles

In addition to the many fiction pieces and illustrations, The Strand was also known for some time as the source of ground-breaking brain teasers, under a column called Perplexities, first written by Henry Dudeney. Dudeney introduced many new concepts to the puzzle world, including the first known crossnumber puzzle, in 1926. In that same year, Dudeney produced an article, "The Psychology of Puzzle Crazes," reflecting and analyzing the demand for such works. He edited Perplexities from 1910 until he died in 1930. G.H. Savage became the column's editor, soon to be joined by William Thomas Williams (as W.T. Williams), who, in 1935 authored the best-known crossnumber puzzle of today. The puzzle goes by many names, the original being, The Little Pigley Farm. It has also been known as Dog's Mead, Little Pigley, Little Piggly Farm, Little Pigsby, Pilgrims’ Plot, and Dog Days.

Cover

The magazine's iconic cover, an illustration looking Eastwards down London's The Strand towards St Mary-le-Strand with the title suspended on telegraph wires was the work of Victorian artist and designer George Charles Haité. The initial cover featured a corner plaque showing the name of Burleigh Street, home to the magazine's original offices. The lettering on the plaque in Haité's design was later changed when Newnes moved to the adjacent address of Southampton Street. A variation of the same design was featured on the cover of a sister title, The Strand Musical Magazine.

Final days

After a format change to a smaller "digest" size in October 1941[2], the Strand Magazine eventually ceased publication in March 1950, forced out of the market by a falling circulation and rising costs, its last editor being Macdonald Hastings, distinguished war correspondent and later TV reporter and contributor to the Eagle boys' comic.

The Strand was brought back into publication in 1998 and has published fiction by several well-known writers including John Mortimer, Ray Bradbury, Alexander McCall Smith, Ruth Rendell, Colin Dexter, and Edward Hoch.

References

  1. ^ Ashley, Mike. The Age of the Storytellers (Page 196). The British Library and Oak Knoll Press. 2006. ISBN 0-71-230698-6
  2. ^ Ashley. (Page 205).

Further reading

  • Pound, Reginald, A Maypole in the Strand (Ernest Benn, 1948).
  • Pound, Reginald, The Strand Magazine: 1891 - 1950 (Heinemann 1966).
  • Beare, Geraldine, Index to The Strand Magazine, 1891-1950 (Greenwood Press, 1982).
  • Ashley, Mike, The Age of the Storytellers (British Library, 2006).
  • Pittard, Christopher, "Cheap, Healthful Literature": The Strand Magazine, Fictions of Crime, and Purified Reading Communities, Victorian Periodicals Review 40:1 (Spring 2007), pp. 1-23.

External links

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