This society was based at Park Church, located on Grosvenor Lane, Highbury, London, which was a Scottish Presbyterian church. It had a thriving middle-class congregation, and several active clubs and societies attached to it, including this young men’s literary association. The society was founded in 1859, and their later minute books — also housed at London Metropolitan Archives — still survive.
Whilst initially made up of young Scottish men, after 1895, women were allowed to join as full members. Overall, this was a fairly good-sized group, with an average of 63 members between 1881 and 1897, and its membership appears to have risen slightly in the first decades of the twentieth century to around 77 members.
There are 15 extant issues of this association’s magazine, eight of which date from 1901 to 1911 (falling within our study’s time frame of 1800 and 1914), and were the sole focus in this project. This miscellany has a variety of fiction and non-fiction pieces on a variety of topics, and the number of original poems is a bit higher than other mutual improvement and literary society magazines. There are also several biographical pieces on canonical authors such as Hans Christian Anderson, Charles Kingsley and Charles Lamb.
A particularly notable feature of this magazine was the elaborate, handcrafted covers and bindings that were used, with most issues having an elaborate outer cover that was attached to the inner magazine with a colourful ribbon. The most elaborate of these was a needlepoint cover, the design of which was taken from a book cover housed in the British Museum that was said to be made by Queen Elizabeth. This magazine was intended to be saved and was perhaps a treasured production of this society.
Name of Club, Society or Group That Produced the Magazine
Park Church Literary Society (in association with Park Presbyterian Church, Grosvenor Place, Highbury, Islington, London)
Date of Existence
Date of Magazine
Number of Issues
The Highbury Magazine, No. 2 (1901); No. 3 (1902); No. 4 (1903); No. 6 (1905); No. 8 (1907); No. 9 (1908); No. 10 (1909); No. 12 (1911); 1 vol (1926-1927);
Park Church Literary Magazine, 1 vol. (1926-1927); 1 vol. (1930-1931)
(Within the date range of this study: 8 issues, 1901-1911.)
Contents and Contributions
Advertisements (humorous); Articles (non-fiction); Ballad (original); Circulation List; Clippings (printed material); Correspondence column; Editorial; Fiction/Narratives; List of Office Bearers; Magazine Rules; Music; Poems (original); Tables of Contents; Title pages
London Metropolitan Archives
LMA/4366/B/008-15 (for later magazines, see: LMA/4303/E/02/043; LMA/4303/E/02/044)