Monday, 7 October 2013

Country Life Magazine, October 7, 1949


At the weekend I was fortunate to be given a heap of various random issues of Country Life dating from 1948, 1949, 1954 and 1960 by fellow blogger and yarn-fiend Tickety-Boo, who knows my love of old magazines and especially adverts. Country Life, a weekly which is still going strong since its first issue in 1897, is not a publication that I'm familiar with; never having brought a copy as it doesn't appear on my periodical radar. In fact, I think I will have more enjoyment reading these old copies than a sheaf of contemporary ones. As I've got twenty-two issues, I'm going to savour them and save them for fireside reading over the coming autumn and winter months.

A selection of vintage reading matter
However, an idea did occur to me yesterday when I noted that a date on a front cover coincided with today's: I thought that I could blog about each magazine (stay with me here) on the day that it was originally issued. It would be interesting to see what was featured in the magazine - especially those fashion pages - and anything else that catches my eye. So, sixty-four years since it first hit the news-stands, here's Review No. 1: October 7, 1949.

Let's do the fashion thing first...





There's no doubt about it, the magazine's advertisers were catering for a very well-heeled (literally) clientele with brands such as Jaqcmar (probably more remembered for their WWII propaganda headscarves), Harvey Nicks and Debenham & Freebody. However, it looks like 'Londonus - Super Sportswear' coined the adverting tag: 'The London Look' prior to Rimmel!

Can you see the creepy looking guy in the background?
Whats interesting to note though, is that as Britain had come out of clothes rationing earlier in the year in March, designers had free rein to create garments that could use yards of luxurious fabrics and reinstate statement details such as large frills, deep collars and cuffs, and lots of buttons.

Someone was chanelling a very Joan Crawford-esque lip line there!

The above is certainly an image you don't see today, but was so popular in an age where all classes smoked and it was seen as being an easy way to glamour and emulating one's silver-screen heroines.


The above is a rather pensive looking 'gel' who was the week's chosen 'Girl in Pearls'; a weekly feature of a society girl's studio portrait - a sort of posh pin-up if you will!

As Country Life was all to do with rural living and pursuits, it was scattered with the obligatory ads for a variety of farming implements:


For those readers who were set on buying a country residence, the magazine was the place to search for one's ideal abode. Take a look at the below prices in comparison to today's!


Nestled amongst the articles on country houses, the qualities of heather honey and 'A Countryman's Notes' by Major C.S. Jarvis, is that magazine staple: the letters page. Here readers could wax lyrical about 'First-Aid for an Owl', 'A Clock Made out of Scrap-Metal' and 'The Secret of Snake-Charming'. One letter that stood out for me is: 'Iron Stiles'. No, I'm not a stile aficionado, but one of the stiles featured, the foot-scraper one,  was located in Shurdington which is just down the road me from me. When I'm next down that way, I shall go and hunt it out!


So, that's all from Country Life sixty-four years ago today. I hope it was an interesting virtual flick through for you and I shall be preparing my next review soon. I'm not intending this to be a definite weekly feature - I don't have enough magazines for this (phew, I hear you say!), but an occasional delve into the pages from the recent past!


14 comments :

  1. How kind of her, I love a vintage magazine, especially ones intended for the posher folk. Aren't those adverts wonderful? I still wouldn't pay £35 for a coat now! We were amazed to see a Country Life magazine (a 21st century issue) in the hospital the other day, we were snorting at how snooty it was. x

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    1. Ha! My feelings exactly! I bet it was full of polo meets and write ups about 'Lady Amelia Fannyinton's Grouse Shoot Charity Drinks Party' and the like!

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    2. If you use an inflation calculator you can see that the prices aren't actually wildly different to today's, it's pretty interesting -- e.g that £35 fur coat is almost 900 quid in today's money! http://www.moneysorter.co.uk/calculator_inflation2.html#calculator

      Was thinking the Marshall & Snellgrove lady has a touch of Audrey Hepburn about her... And hey! A *very* quick google shows that it is her. Fancy that http://inlovewithaudreyhepburn.tumblr.com/post/30049542892/thehappyhypocrite-audrey-hepburn-in-an-early

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    3. That was a lot of money then, especially if you could have probably brought a modest house for about £2K.

      Thanks for looking up the ad - I thought it looked like her, but didn't realise that it actually was!

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  2. I've got some of these too and am always imagining myself doing the ironing in the cocktail dresses, because that''s as exciting as my life gets:( Would love to see any ads for Rayne shoes or if you come across any let me know which edition they're in
    MissRayne

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    1. Hello, I've just had a quick look through and have found only one advert; this is on the rear cover of the February 4th, 1949 issue. The ad is of a watercolour picture of a garden and lilies, with the tagline: 'Rayne creates a tall-stemmed Beauty'. The shoe illustrated is a high heeled, platform, sling-back in blue mesh. Hope this helps! :-)

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    2. THANK YOU! I'll look out for that edition

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  3. Lovely magazines - how nice of Tickety Boo. That first tweed suit is something I'd cheerfully buy today.

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    1. Its a lovely one isn't it? Shame its not a colour photo though.

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  4. Lovely fashions, the New Look was sooo elegant. The properties featured aren't too far from me (wonder if they are still standing?) and Gasgoine -Pees are still in business.

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    1. That's interesting about Gasgoine-Pees and I wonder if they're still there too. There's lots of large mansions for sale in the magazines and I wondered whether they got knocked down over the next few decades - they probably did, which is a shame.

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  5. Oh how these magazines used to haunt me when I worked at the Bodleian Library, they were always being ordered up and were bound up in bloody great volumes they weighed a ton! Mind I did used to have my colleagues in stitches on evening duty by reading out all the adverts in my very best 'BBC Presenter voice'

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    1. I bet they provided a good upper body work out lifting them on and off the shelves - not something you'd want to drop on your foot though I bet!

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  6. Hey guess what? I was born just outside Shurdington and it's where I went to primary school!

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