During the Victorian era there was a flourishing market for all manner of women's magazines. The public's imagination was caught by lavishly illustrated periodicals that offered a more or less constant supply of thrilling, serialised fiction, alongside more practical features on fashion and home-making, even the latest sheet music to be played on the parlour piano.
In 1852, the husband and wife team of Samuel and Isabella Beeton achieved great success with their own creation of Beeton's Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine.
For this, Isabella provided recipes and articles that covered household management. However, the magazine offered a great deal more than that, for apart from the usual fashion and fiction there were biographical features, instruction on gardening and medicine, and also a regular letters page.
Initially priced at 2d a copy, by 1856 the magazine boasted a circulation of 50,000 copies.
Such commercial success inspired the couple to think of other formats. In 1861, they produced the society newspaper with the title of The Queen ~ another success that continued to run until the year of 1970.
Fashion plate from 'The Queen' circa 1890
The English Woman's Journal (1858-1864) was another paper that sought to educate its readers on politics, at home and abroad. And then, from 1892-1900, Shafts was a radical magazine with features on birth control contributed by Marie Stopes, as well as other articles that ranged from the reporting of sporting achievements to news of the latest activities of the Independent Labour Party.