The magazine was established by George Stiff, published by George Vickers and initially written and edited by George W. M. Reynolds. After Reynolds left to found his own Reynolds’s Miscellany in 1846, John Wilson Ross became editor.
In the mid-1850s the circulation was over 500,000.
In 1857 Herbert Ingram, in secret partnership with Punch ‘s owners Bradbury and Evans, bought the newspaper, and Punch ‘s editor Mark Lemon was placed in editorial charge. Lemon’s attempt to rebrand the newspaper, serializing novels by Walter Scott, was a commercial failure.In 1859 Stiff bought the paper back (combining it with a title The Guide which he had started in the interim). Stiff installed Percy B. St. John and then Pierce Egan as editor. After Stiff’s bankruptcy in 1862 W. S. Johnson became proprietor.
By 1883 it had transformed itself from being a “penny family weekly” into what was recognizably a “woman’s magazine”. In 1889 Herbert Allingham became editor, publishing his own story “A Devil of a Woman” in 1893.
Contributors to the magazine included leading authors of the day, such as Mary Elizabeth Braddon (Lady Audley’s Secret and The Outcast), E. D. E. N. Southworth (The Gypsy’s Prophecy), and Pierce Egan (The Poor Girl). But it was “Minnigrey” by the less well-known John Frederick Smith that made this weekly achieve hitherto unprecedented sales of 500,000 a week.
George Frederick Sargent, artist on wood, and even more significantly the artist John Gilbert, contributed to engravings in the London Journal.
NotesAnderson, Patricia, The Printed Image and the Transformation of Popular Culture, 1790-1860. New York: Clarendon Press. 1992. ISBN 978-0-19-811236-5
Andrew King, ‘A Paradigm of Reading the Victorian Penny Weekly: Education of the Gaze and The London Journal’. In Brake et al., eds, Nineteenth-Century Media and the Construction of Identities, 2000, pp. 77-92.
Works of George Frederick Sargent (although not those that appeared in the London Journal) can be found at http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk.
Categories: Defunct magazines of the United KingdomPublications established in 1845,British weekly magazinesPublications disestablished in 1906,1845 establishments in the United Kingdom1906, disestablishments in the United Kingdom
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