A summary of the history of the Barony Mutual Improvement Society is available on our sister website, Glasgow’s Literary Bonds (see ‘Additional Notes’ below).
The society was formed in 1863 by young men from the congregation of the Barony Church (Church of Scotland), which was built in 1799 and located near the Glasgow Cathedral. The group later changed its name to the Barony Young Men’s Association.
This society produced manuscript magazines by and for their members between 1863 and 1875. There are six volumes housed in the University of Strathclyde Archives (GB 249 T-MIN/18/1/1-6): July 1863; August 1863; September 1863; August 1864; March 1869; and 1873-1875. The earliest magazine that we have, the July 1863 volume, is actually the third that they issued.
The August 1863 issue of the Barony M.S. Magazine is fairly typical of mutual improvement society magazines, which are almost always miscellanies, containing a mixture of prose and poetry, fiction and non-fiction pieces on various topics, along with original artwork and even music. A unique feature of this genre is the readers’ ‘Criticisms’: readers would write their comments about the articles into the back of the magazine after they were done reading it. This society was unusual, however, in that they had a very active critical community of readers. The August 1863 issue, for example (a digitised copy of which is available, see below), contains a remarkable 25 pages of criticisms.
Name of Club, Society or Group That Produced the Magazine
Barony Mutual Improvement Society (later became the Barony Young Men’s Association) (Glasgow)
Date of Existence
Date of Magazine
Number of Issues
Contents and Contributions
Advertisements; Art/Illustrations (original); Articles (non-fiction); Club notices; Editorials; Essays; Fiction/Narratives; Poems (original); Readers’ Criticisms; Serial articles/stories; Tables of Contents; Title pages
University of Strathclyde Archives
GB 249 T-MIN/18/1
‘Scope and content
Manuscript magazines issued under the auspices of the Barony Mutual Improvement Society, later the Barony Young Men’s Association. Subjects include religion, local history, natural history, travel, natural philosophy, mechanics. The editors were Thomas Martin, Archibald Campbell, John Goldie, Edward Railton Catterns, George Smeaton Rodger, W. Ferrie Anderson and James Meek. The contributions were bound on the premises of Robert Nelson, Princes Court, Buchanan Street. All volumes carry the bookplate of the Barony Association’s Library’ [accessed 21 January 2018].