Unlike commercial sites, BLT19 has only the resources to digitise partial runs of selected nineteenth-century periodicals. Unlike the commercial sites, this has enabled us to enrich the sites in various ways, not least through our concern to show how different on-screen formats will suggest different understandings of and conclusions about the same materials.
The British Workman (1855-1921) is an illustrated penny monthly aimed at working men and, to a certain extent, working women. Its editor, Thomas Bywater Smithies (1817-1883), thought that pictures were the best way to get people interested in Temperance, which is why the British Workman is so visually stimulating. The copies of the British Workman that we digitised are a group of stitched, gilt-edged fascicles. The publication was sold at a range of price points to appeal to different classes of readers. Single issues sold for a penny. Readers with sufficient income were encouraged to buy packets of issues to distribute to working men and women in their communities. A gilt-edged “parlour edition,” which highlighted the artistic value of the illustrations, was advertised in The Times in 1860 for 2s. 6d.
The Stationery Trade Review (1881-1913) is a trade journal launched in July 1881 by an Edinburgh stationer, James Glass, to serve the needs of the stationery, leather, and fancy goods trades. Glass believed that existing trade journals ignored the needs of businesspeople outside of London. The numbers of the 1887 run of the publication that we digitised are a bound set of production copies once used by the printer, the printer’s son, and the stand-in editor, Andrew Lang. Lang, a prolific writer based known for his work on folklore, was put in charge of the magazine while its proprietor, James Glass, was travelling in Australia. Corrections, ink smudges, editorial notes, and blank pages offer a rare glimpse into the processes, people, and interventions involved in producing a print publication.
The British Workwoman (1863-1913?) was a monthly evangelical Christian temperance magazine run by men but aimed at working-class women across Britain. It was not formally related to the British Workman, though it was similar in format (its illustrations tended to be by less well-known artists) and for some of its life was published next door. It upheld the view that a woman’s main work was to exercise beneficial influence over her husband and children. While it acknowledged that women did have to work outside the home as well, few of its striking illustrations show
women at work in any but a domestic setting, and none in factories.
The image-based Metabotnik interface allows zooming and browsing through all issues available on this website of the British Workman, the Stationery Trade Review, and the British Workwoman. The experience is in marked contrast to the single-issue pages we have made on this site and which mirror the original publication patterns. The contrast shows how the different ways the same material is presented to us can create different kinds of knowledge.