The Boys Own Annual 1893

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I acquired this gem at "Antiquing the Arc".

This annual collection of the weekly paper, which was printed every Saturday and sold for the princely sum of one cent, includes all the papers from October 1892 to September 1893. This time period covered the year from the perspective of English Public Schools.

This volume is in superb condition for being nearly 120 years old! It was given to a Percy Withers of Vancouver B.C. in January 1913 according to the flyleaf.

In these papers, in very small print, are tales of adventure from distant reaches of the Empire, distant times, and exotic locales. All Illustrated with wonderful engravings and several special colour plates. There are also articles on do it yourself projects (many that would make any modern parent or teacher's hair stand on end!) as well as sets of rules for games, etiquette, and the myriad other details good and bad of growing up in the Public School system of the late 19th century.

There is even the description of a very early version of a fuel cell, a gas battery, from 1893!

I have several later collections of the Boys Own Papers from the early 20th century but this is the oldest and in the best condition of all. A real treasure indeed.

More on the BOP as it was known:

The Boy’s Own Paper (BOP) was a weekly children’s comic published by the Lutterworth Press (during the time this badge was in use). BOP readership was very much aimed at boys and there was also a sister publication titled the Girl’s Own Paper. The first issue of BOP came out on January 18th 1879 and remained in publication until 1967. BOP was issued weekly from its inception until 1913 and monthly thereafter, except during the latter years of WW2 due to paper rationing

Editorial content of the BOP had strong moralistic and Christian overtones with emphasis on sports, Empire, literature, hobbies and to promote a more wholesome lifestyle for young boys. As well as adventure stories BOP included a mix of educational and non-fiction such as science, natural history, puzzles and competitive essays were also regular features.

When the BOP was first proposed it was intended to provide alternative reading for young boy’s reading as opposed to the Penny Dreadfuls of the day. However, despite this the BOP proved a great success and remained so until circulation declined after the 1950’s, in line with that of other children’s comics. BOP was also exported to over 50 countries worldwide at the peak of its circulation during the 1950’s.

The Boys Own Annual

Numerous and varied

Quicquid agunt pueri nostri farrago libelli
Roughly ‘whatever boys do makes up the mix for our little book’

Lutterworth Press (?)
56 Paternoster Row


Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.


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