The Strand Magazine

The Strand Magazine was a monthly magazine founded by George Newnes, composed of short fiction and general interest articles. It was published in the United Kingdom from January 1891[1] to March 1950, running to 711 issues,[2] though the first issue was on sale well before Christmas 1890. Its immediate popularity is evidenced by an initial sale of nearly 300,000. Sales increased in the early months, before settling down to a circulation of almost 500,000 copies a month, which lasted well into the 1930s. It was edited by Herbert Greenhough Smith from 1891 to 1930. The magazine's original offices were in Burleigh Street off The Strand, London. It was revived in 1998 as a quarterly magazine.

The Strand Magazine
Bound volume of The Strand Magazine for January–June 1894, featuring George Charles Haité's cover design
First issueJanuary 1891
Final issue
March 1950
CompanyGeorge Newnes Ltd

It was normally bound as six-monthly volumes, from January to June and July to December, but from the mid-1930s this varied, and the final volumes in the late 1940s ran from October to March and April to September, the final volume CXVIII (118) running from October 1949 to March 1950.


The Sherlock Holmes short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle were first published in The Strand with illustrations by Sidney Paget. With the serialisation of Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles, sales reached their peak. Readers lined up outside the magazine's offices, waiting to get the next instalment. E. W. Hornung's stories about A. J. Raffles, the "gentleman thief", first appeared in The Strand in the 1890s. Other contributors included Grant Allen, Margery Allingham, J. E. Preston Muddock, H. G. Wells, E. C. Bentley, Agatha Christie, Mary Angela Dickens, C. B. Fry, Walter Goodman, E. Nesbit, W. W. Jacobs, Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Morrison, Dorothy L. Sayers, Georges Simenon, Edgar Wallace, Max Beerbohm, P. G. Wodehouse, Dornford Yates and Winston Churchill. Once a sketch drawn by Queen Victoria of one of her children appeared with her permission.[3]


In addition to the many fiction pieces and illustrations, The Strand has been also known for some time as the source of ground-breaking brain teasers, under a column called "Perplexities", first written by Henry Dudeney. Dudeney introduced many new concepts to the puzzle world, including the first known crossnumber puzzle, in 1926. In that same year, Dudeney produced an article, "The Psychology of Puzzle Crazes", reflecting and analysing the demand for such works. He edited Perplexities from 1910 until he died in 1930. G. H. Savage became the column's editor, soon to be joined by William Thomas Williams (as W. T. Williams), who in 1935 authored the best-known cross-figure puzzle of today. The puzzle goes by many names, the original being "The Little Pigley Farm". It has also been known as "Dog's Mead", "Little Pigley", "Little Piggly Farm", "Little Pigsby", "Pilgrims’ Plot", and "Dog Days".


The magazine's iconic cover, an illustration looking eastwards down London's Strand towards St Mary-le-Strand, with the title suspended on telegraph wires, was the work of Victorian artist and designer George Charles Haité. The initial cover featured a corner plaque showing the name of Burleigh Street, home to the magazine's original offices. The lettering on the plaque in Haité's design was later changed when Newnes moved to the adjacent address of Southampton Street. A variation of the same design was featured on the cover of a sister title, The Strand Musical Magazine.

Final days

The magazine format changed to the smaller digest size in October 1941.[4] The Strand Magazine ceased publication in March 1950, forced out of the market by declining circulation and rising costs. Its last editor was Macdonald Hastings, distinguished war correspondent and later TV reporter and contributor to the Eagle boys' comic. In 1961 the magazine was briefly revived as The New Strand under the editorship of Noni Jabavu.[5][6]

United States edition

The magazine also published a United States edition from February 1891 through February 1916. In its early years, the contents of the U.S. edition were identical with those of the U.K. edition, though usually with a one-month time lag. As the years went on there were some differences in the contents of the two editions, reflecting fiction for which The Strand did not hold the U.S. rights (such as The Return of Sherlock Holmes, which was commissioned by Collier's magazine) and non-fiction that would not interest most U.S. readers (such as articles about personalities in the House of Commons). The circulation of the U.S. edition was minimal in the early 1890s but was reported at 150,000 by 1898. The U.S. edition was discontinued in 1916 due to logistical difficulties arising from World War I.[7]

1998 revival

The Strand Magazine
First issueDecember 1998
CountryUnited States
Based inBirmingham, Michigan

The Strand was brought back into publication in 1998 as a quarterly magazine, now based in Birmingham, Michigan.[8] It has published fiction by many well-known writers including John Mortimer, Ray Bradbury, Alexander McCall Smith, Ruth Rendell, Colin Dexter, Edward Hoch, James Grippando, and Tennessee Williams.[9][10][11]


  1. Howard Cox; Simon Mowatt (2003). "Technology, Organisation and Innovation: The Historical Development of the UK Magazine Industry" (Research paper). Auckland University of Technology. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  2. Ashley, Mike. The Age of the Storytellers, The British Library and Oak Knoll Press, p. 196. 2006. ISBN 0-7123-0698-6
  3. "The Strand Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 3 (March 1891), pp. 226ff". Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  4. Ashley, p. 205.
  5. Gcina Ntsaluba, "Call to restore Noni Jabavu legacy", Daily Dispatch, 31 January 2013; via PressReader.
  6. "New Strand Editor: Pick South African woman to revive Britain's 'most popular' magazine", Ebony, April 1962, pp. 81, 85.
  7. See Philip G. Bergem, A Sherlockian and Doylean Checklist of The Strand Magazine, pp. 1, 5, 8–10; Frederick Faxon, "Magazine Perplexities I. Strand Magazine, 1 Bulletin of Bibliography 8, at 122 (January 1899); Bliss Austin, "Wanderings on a Foreign Strand", Baker Street Miscellanea, No. 17, p. 1 (March 1979); "American Strand Magazine Quits," The Fourth Estate 17 (January 22, 1916).
  8. Julia Keller. "Tough guys, unite". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  9. Willis, Chris. "The Story of The Strand". Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  10. "Lost Agatha Christie story to be published in U.S." Reuters. 10 November 2009. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  11. Jennifer Schuessler (25 March 2016). "Unpublished Tennessee Williams Story to Appear". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 March 2012.

Further reading

  • Pound, Reginald, A Maypole in the Strand (Ernest Benn, 1948).
  • Pound, Reginald, The Strand Magazine: 1891–1950 (Heinemann 1966).
  • Beare, Geraldine, Index to The Strand Magazine, 1891–1950 (Greenwood Press, 1982).
  • Ashley, Mike, The Age of the Storytellers (British Library, 2006).
  • Pittard, Christopher, "Cheap, Healthful Literature": The Strand Magazine, Fictions of Crime, and Purified Reading Communities, Victorian Periodicals Review 40:1 (Spring 2007), pp. 1–23.
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