Baker and Confectioner (1897)

For the Zoom and Browse Metabotnik of the entire 1897 volume of the Baker and Confectioner, click here.

The volume on this site dates from 1897, but the Baker and Confectioner had started in 1892. What we have is volume 10. The Baker and Confectioner proudly defined itself in its illustrated masthead as an “independent newspaper and trades journal” and announced its monthly circulation figures (over 6000 a week) in a prominent position on its front page. For around 16 pages of content and up to 20 pages of adverts (the number of pages varied), it cost the purchaser a penny a week.

As always with trade periodicals, it was the advertising which would have brought in by far the greatest proportion of income (a circulation of 6000 at 1d each would only have generated £25 income a week – probably not even enough to cover the costs of printing, let alone pay the editor or the other staff on the journal). It would be great to work out how much income all the adverts would have brought in, but the journal doesn’t tell us what its advertising rates were so we can’t work it out: one of the “Business Notices” on the first page of each issue tells us that the advertising charges for products were available only on application (we are told, though, that job adverts cost a penny for every 4 words with a minimum costs of 6d, but such adverts while important for job seekers – and so helpful for the industry as a whole – would not have brought in much money). The press directories (which were used by advertisers to decide where to advertise) don’t give any more information, so, unless the business records of this journal are discovered, it is unlikely we shall ever find out exactly how much money the journal made. That said, we can conclude that the Baker and Confectioner must have been profitable as it lasted until well into the twentieth century – as late as 1970 it can be found in the press directories as the Baker, Confectioner and Caterer. Certainly, as we explain in the next paragraph, advertising must have brought in a decent revenue, even if it is impossible to reconstruct how much.

One of the reasons it is difficult to work out how a journal made money is that it is common that when a periodical is issued in volume form (as they were) or when separate issues were bound together as a single volume by someone else (perhaps an enthusiastic reader), the advertising supplements are not included. That’s not entirely the case with the copy of the Baker and Confectioner we have scanned on BLT19. Some of the supplements (perhaps most?) were bound in as a kind of appendix after the issues. On the Metabotnik version all the pages of the volume were scanned in in the order they were bound, but where possible in the copies of individual issues we have separated out below, we have reconstructed the originals by placing the supplements after each issue. That enables us to appreciate much more easily how extensive advertising was – as long as we realise that there was almost certainly a lot more that simple doesn’t survive. What does survive, for example, is the cover for the 1 January 1897 issue. The back of that lists the advertisers against roman numerals in the supplement. But that supplement, like the front covers of the later issues, was never bound in and so it is not included here (we could hunt for those missing pages and pay for them to be scanned in, but, as we explain on the BLT19 home page, we have to balance costs against benefit and, accepting incompleteness, we don’t think the slight gain worth the time or money).

Baking was (and still is) a crowded field. There were several Victorian periodicals that addressed bakers from the 1870s onwards and their associates and the field grew around 1900. According to the 1890 Newspaper Press Directory (Mitchell, p. 39) there were just 5; in 1899 there were 7 (Mitchell’s Newspaper Press Directory, 1900, p. 45) and by 1912, it lists 14 (Mitchell’s Newspaper Press Directory, 1913, p. 47). Some cost a penny a week like the Baker and Confectioner, but others targeted a more upmarket sector of the trade. The Baker and Confectioner contrasted markedly with the more glamorous 6d monthly British and Foreign Confectioner Baker and Restauranteur which had been begun in 1877. The fact that Baker and Confectioner puts bakery first and confectionary second shows it is aiming for readers who sold cheaper goods than the elaborate confections of the cosmopolitan British and Foreign Confectioner, Baker and Restauranteur. By 1897, the year of the Baker and Confectioner we have digitised here, the British and Foreign Confectioner, Baker and Restauranteur had even adopted gold covers to ensure no-one would confuse it with a more-workaday rival!

What follows comprises links to entire single issues. To browse a scan of the whole volume in the order in which it was stitched together, use the Metabotnik version.

  1. Introductory matter – cover for issue number 235 (1 January 1897), plus index for the whole volume
  2. no. 235, 1 January 1897
  3. no. 236, 8 January 1897
  4. no. 237, 15 January 1897
  5. no. 238, 22 January 1897
  6. no. 239, 29 January 1897
  7. no. 240, 5 February 1897
  8. no. 241, 12 February 1897
  9. no. 242, 19 February 1897
  10. no. 243, 26 February 1897
  11. no. 244, 5 March 1897
  12. no. 245, 12 March 1897
  13. no. 246, 19 March 1897
  14. no. 247, 26 March 1897
  15. no. 248, 2 April 1897
  16. no. 249, 9 April 1897
  17. no. 250, 16 April 1897
  18. no. 251, 23 April 1897
  19. no. 252, 30 April 1897
  20. no. 253, 7 May 1897
  21. no. 254, 14 May 1897
  22. no. 255, 21 May 1897
  23. no. 256, 28 May 1897
  24. no. 257, 4 June 1897
  25. no. 258, 11 June 1897
  26. no. 259, 18 June 1897
  27. no. 260, 25 June 1897