Woman's Weekly is celebrating its centenary this week with a special edition which includes a pull out copy of its launch issue.
Back in 1911, it cost 1d (that's one old penny for those too young to remember pre-decimal coinage!) The first edition featured articles on fashion, sewing and knitting, cookery, careers and that ubiquitous topic, weight loss. With women's wasitlines almost exclusively under 28" in those days, some of us might do well to follow some of these early tips ourselves!
The original editor of the magazine undoubtedly possessed a clear vision of her target readership demograpic, asserting that the new title would not be catering for the upper echelons of society; rather it would serve the needs of "the woman who rules the destines of the home ... in her life, her work and her recreation".
The article mix has remained consistent for a century, which probably accounts for the magazine's enduring appeal. We remember when Woman's Weekly sewing patterns were available by mail order for 6d; in fact we have a goodly number of them in our stock room, many still in their original envelopes.
Now, with more and more modern women re-engaging with the traditional creative pursuits of home baking, crafting, knitting and dressmaking, Woman's Weekly can surely look forward to a renewed lease of life as it enters its second century.
As the magazine's current publishing director Sandy Gale says, "the past one hundred years of Woman’s Weekly provides a unique record of the lives of women and social issues of the last century and it remains as resolutely and proudly relevant to its hundreds of thousands of readers today.”
Amen to that! We're off out to buy our copy now.