On March 13th… Tidbits is Born (Sort of)

Portrait of George Newnes
Portrait of George Newnes

Sir George Newnes was born March 13, 1851, in Matlock Bath, Derbyshire. In 1881, he founded a new magazine that would include small articles (“tit-bits”) reprinted from other publications. He called it, of course, Tit-Bits. (Or, to give it its proper full title: Tit-Bits from all the Most Interesting Books, Periodicals and Newspapers in the World.)

Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”) write in A Curious Collection of Dates:

cover of issue 1 of Tit-Bits
Tit-Bits from all the Most Interesting Books, Periodicals and Newspapers in the World, Issue 1

The new magazine entered the marketplace at the perfect time: literacy rates had grown in England thanks to the Compulsory Education Act of 1870, and an increasingly urban, commuting public welcomed interesting train reading that did not require the commitment of a lengthy serial. It didn’t hurt that Newness was an expert promoter: Tit-Bits offered train insurance, contests for everything from cash to a house – even, in 1903, buried treasure.

He went on to found The Strand Magazine in 1891, which stated in its first issue, “It will contain stories and articles by the best British writers, and special translations from the first foreign authors. These will be illustrated by eminent artists.” The July 1891 issue contained the first appearance of “A Scandal in Bohemia”.

“Chips” notes: I think this is where the name of our column came from back when I
first joined this world of 1895 at about the age of 11.

Sources:

Information provided by the volume A Curious Collection of Dates by by Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”). Digitized copy of the first volume of The Strand: An Illustrated Monthly held by the University of California available via Google Books.

Posted by The Dynamic Duo: Ron (JHWS “Chips”) and Beth (JHWS “Selena Buttons”)

2 Replies to “On March 13th… Tidbits is Born (Sort of)”

  1. Again I like your pictures better then the ones I had found, Thanks for improving the article,Let me know what your secret is,Thanks

    1. I think my secret is that I spend a *lot* of time on Google. 🙂 Glad you like the pictures! I have to say, if one image searches “Tit-Bits”, one gets a lot of things that are, let’s say, definitely not from the Victorian era!

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