Boy's Own Paper

Boy's Own Paper

"Boy's Own Paper" was a British story paper aimed at young and teenage boys, published from 1879 to 1967.

Publishing history

The idea for the publication was first raised in 1878 by the Religious Tract Society as a means to encourage younger children to read and also instill Christian morals during their formative years. The first issue went on sale on January 19 1879.

In 1939 it was taken over by Lutterworth Press, and in 1963 by Purnell and Sons Ltd. It was published at the end of its life in 1967 by BPC Publishing Ltd, who are believed to have started publishing the paper in 1965. []

The paper was published weekly following the school year (Autumn through to Summer) until November 1913, when it became a monthly. In total, 2511 issues of the paper were published. [] . From 1879 onwards each year's issues were bound together and sold as the Boy's Own Annual. In the initial few years, one could purchase the covers at the end of the publishing year and have the weekly issues bound. This produced some interesting minor variations in order and contents. The Annuals ceased publication after the 1940-41 edition due to wartime paper rationing. The Annuals included all of the text of the weekly (and later monthly) issues, with additional illustrations. There was an extra Christmas Number (edition) magazine from 1884-85 until 1912-13 and an extra Summer Number from 1884-85 until 1900-01. Later attempts at a smaller format annual, under Jack Cox's editorship, were the Boys Own Companion from 1959 through 1963, and the Boys Own Annual II from 1964-65 through 1975-76.


Often published were adventure stories; notes on how to practice nature study, sports and games; puzzles; and essay competitions. One of the stories in the opening issue was "My First Football Match", the first of many by Talbot Baines Reed set in public schools (Reed, who had not in fact attended such a school, later became the paper's first assistant editor); and the first volume's serials included "From Powder Monkey to Admiral, or The Stirring Days of the British Navy". In the same volume, Captain Matthew Webb contributed an account of how he swam the English Channel.

The paper initially attempted to appeal to boys of all classes, but by the 1890s began to concentrate on boys from wealthier backgrounds, for example by regularly featuring stories set in grammar schools.

Famous contributors

Many famous authors contributed to the paper. W.G. Grace wrote for several issues, along with Arthur Conan Doyle, Jules Verne and R.M. Ballantyne. Baden-Powell, founder of the Scout Movement, was a regular columnist and urged readers to live "to live clean, manly and Christian lives". Less well known writers included William Gordon Stables, W. E. Cule, Sid G. Hedges and Hugh Pembroke Vowles. Edward Whymper contributed engravings (including the masthead).

List of editors

* 1879 – 1897: James Macaulay (Supervising Editor)
* 1879 – 1912: George A. Hutchison (Sub-editor/Acting-editor, subsequently Editor)
* 1912 – 1913: George Andrew Hutchison (Consulting Editor)
* 1912 – 1924: Arthur Lincoln Haydon
* 1924 – 1933: Geoffrey Richard Pocklington
* 1933 – 1935: George J.H. Northcroft
* 1935 – 1942: Robert Harding
* 1942 – 1946: Leonard Halls
* 1946 – 1967: Jack Cox


Other papers of the same title

There was also an American publication named Boys' Own, published by Charles F. Richards, Boston Mass. This weekly started on October 11 1873 and ran until about December 1876.

Boys' Own Paper was also printed in Toronto by the publisher W. Warwick and Sons. The Papers are actually identical to the British editions, except for a 4 page "cover", which is dated 1 month later than the contents, and which contains ads for Toronto businesses. Examples of these "reprints" have been noted for August 1884 and August 1885. []

In contemporary popular culture

In British popular culture, improbable or daring endeavours are often described as "real Boy's Own stuff", in reference to the heroic content of the magazine's stories.

Along with the works of Rudyard Kipling, the magazine is associated by some with imperialistic jingoism, and "Boy's Own" is often synonymous with old-fashioned attitudes or boyish naivete.

For example, one left-wing sourceFact|date=February 2008 described reporting on the Iraq war as "Boys' Own " [sic] " war pornography". The Dangerous Book for Boys has a Boy's Own look at life. []

On the other hand, many associate the magazine with well-intentioned heroes who do not have hang-ups about trying to right wrongs.

In the book "Great Work of Time", dealing with an alternate history of the British Empire, writer John Crowley depicts Cecil Rhodes as avidly reading "Boy's Own Magazine" when he was no longer a boy but at the peak of his empire-building career.


cquote|A small boy in one of our large industrial towns once asked me, 'What does it feel like to play for England?' I could see that he was puzzled and very, very interested. 'Do you play soccer, son?' I asked him. He nodded. 'Then you know what it's like to play for England. Every boy in England who does his best to play a good clean, worth-while game is playing for his country.'

Stanley Matthews [ [ The Boy's Own Paper ] ]

cquote|Most boys like to think they have a girl friend, especially the 13 to 14 year olds. I would like to see an article on how to get a girl, and when you've got her, how to keep and please her. I would also like to see more articles on music in B.O.P as I am a trombonist in the Tiffin School Band.

R. Wilmot (New Malden, Surrey)

Editor's Reply : We will bear the suggestion for an article on how to keep a girl friend in mind ! In the meantime there is an article on keeping Golden Hamsters on pages 34 and 35 of this issue. [ [ The Boy's Own Paper ] ]

External links

* [ Boy's Own Paper at Collecting Books and Magazines, Australia]
* [ Waterloo Directory]



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