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Cassell

Billy Bunter

In 1946 Charles Skilton read an article about Frank Richards in the 'Picture Post' entitled 'Do you remember Billy Bunter' in his hotel while on Honeymoon in Oban and contacted him with a view to producing the Bunter stories in book format. You can read the article here. Richards readily agreed and the Amalgamated Press relented allowing Greyfriars and Bunter to reappear in book format only. Richards suggested his usual payment of 30 shillings per thousand words but Skilton, being a fair man (and allegedly being a bit short in capital), suggested royalties instead so Richards made 1000 on the first book rather than the 90 he would have received otherwise. Despite the paper shortages of the time the books were a hit.

Skilton produced nine books before selling the rights to Cassell who went on to publish another 29, having the sense and taste to retain the yellow dustjackets. It would appear however that Skilton retained an interest in the publication as he continued to send out letters advising when new books were due to be published. You can read a selection of them here. The first letter is of particular interest, it suggests that at the time of Hamilton's death Skilton was only aware of two more books in the pipeline. The fact that Cassell went on to publish another seven gives some support to the people who believe the final few books were written by someone else. You can read a review of the Skilton and Cassell publications from the Book and Magazine collector of Sept 1986 here.

The illustrator R. J. MacDonald died in 1954, his last drawings appearing in 'Billy Bunter's Double' in 1955. At this point C. H. Chapman took over and illustrated the remainder of the books.

Between 1965 and 1972 Armada produced 14 books, some being based on the Cassell books, others on SOL's and Magnets. They weren't great but they did introduce a number of new readers to Hamilton.

In 1963 the publisher Four Square reprinted 'Beanfeast' and 'Butts in' but the failure of any other stories to appear would suggest the venture was not a successful one.

In 1982/83 Quiller Press reprinted six stories and asked Kay King to edit them to make them more suitable for the market of that time. She removed much of the slang and 'political incorrectness' which resulted in a version which appealed to neither old or new readers. New illustrations were provided by Victor Ambrus. The enterprise was not a success. A couple of the stories have been scanned, judge for yourself!

In 1991 Hawk books started to produce facsimiles of the Skilton and Cassell books and by 1995 had reprinted 23 of them. It was rumoured that copyright issues stopped production but it is also known that a large number of them were remaindered and appeared in cut price bookshops. You can see some of the very colourful Hawk book catalogues here. 

The following section offers a brief description of each book and a link to a review of the contents. If you would like to review any of the books then please send your review to me and I will include it here.

Before looking at the post war Billy Bunter stories in detail let's mention his sister Bessie.  Originally a Hamilton creation Bessie first appeared in the Magnet in 1919 before moving to Cliff House School in the School Friend. Hamilton only wrote a few stories before other writers took over and as a result the character of Bessie Bunter changed significantly over the years. In 1949 Charles Skilton asked Hamilton to write a Bessie Bunter story so Bessie Bunter reappeared in print with Bessie returning as her original 1919 character. In his article for the February 1950 issue of the Collectors Digest Eric Fayne considers this the best of the post war publications. You can read his article on page 54 here.

You can read the book by clicking on the following link.

   
01- Billy Bunter of Greyfriars School was first published September 1947 by Charles Skilton (Reprinted 1947, 1948 and 1950) and was illustrated by R.J. MacDonald. It was an instant success selling 25,000 copies within weeks - all that was allowed as post war paper shortages were still a reality. It was reprinted September 1982 by Quiller press after being 'updated' by Kay King. It was also reprinted by Armada August 1968 and Hawk January 1991.

You can download the Armada reprint of this story in a variety of formats from the links below-

                       

You can read a review of the original story by Brian Graeme here.

02- Billy Bunter's Banknote was first published October 1948 by Charles Skilton (Reprinted 1949, 1953 and 1959) and was illustrated by R.J. MacDonald. It was reprinted by Hawk January 1991.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

You can read a review by Brian Graeme here.

03- Billy Bunter's Barring Out was first published October 1948 by Charles Skilton (Reprinted 1950) and was illustrated by R.J. MacDonald. It was reprinted by Hawk April 1994.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

                

04- Billy Bunter in Brazil was first published March 1949 by Charles Skilton (Reprinted 1952 and 1959) and was illustrated by R.J. MacDonald. It was reprinted by Armada June 1970 and by Hawk in January 1991.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

                

You can read a review by Brian Graeme here.

05- Billy Bunter's Christmas Party  was first published October 1949 by Charles Skilton ( Reprinted 1952 and 1957) and was illustrated by R.J. MacDonald. It was reprinted by Hawk in 1993.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

               

You can read a review by Michael Bailey  here

06- Billy Bunter's Benefit was first published in March 1950 (Reprinted 1953 and 1960) and was illustrated by R.J. MacDonald. It was reprinted by Armada in March 1969 and by Hawk in April 1994. It was also reprinted in September 1983 by Quiller press after being 'updated' by Kay King with new illustrations by Victor Ambrus

You can download an MS Word version of the Armada reprint of this story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

07- Billy Bunter Amongst the Cannibals was first published September 1950 by Charles Skilton (Reprinted 1953, 1959, 1963) and was illustrated by R.J. MacDonald. It was reprinted by Hawk in 1995.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

You can read a review by Brian Graeme here.

08- Billy Bunter's Postal Order was first published May 1951 by Charles Skilton and was illustrated by R.J. MacDonald. It was reprinted by Armada in August 1968, Quiller in Sept 1983 and Hawk in November 1994.

You can download an MS Word version of the Armada reprint of this story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

You can read a review by Brian Graeme here.

09- Billy Bunter Butts In was first published December 1951 by Charles Skilton and was illustrated by R.J. MacDonald. It was reprinted by Hawk in October 1993.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

10- Billy Bunter and the Blue Mauritius was first published March 1952 by Charles Skilton and was illustrated by R.J. MacDonald. It was reprinted by Hawk January 1991.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

You can read a review by Brian Graeme here.

11- Billy Bunter's Beanfeast was published November 1952 by Cassell & Co and was illustrated by R.J. MacDonald. It was reprinted by Four Square May 1963 and by Hawk in October 1993.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

You can read a review by Brian Graeme here.

12- Billy Bunter's Brainwave was published July 1953 by Cassell & Co (Reprinted 1957 and 1962) and was illustrated by R.J. MacDonald.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

You can read a review by Brian Graeme here.

13- Billy Bunter's First Case was published October 1953 by Cassell & Co (Reprinted 1957) and was illustrated by R.J. MacDonald. It was reprinted by Hawk in 1994.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

You can read a review by Brian Graeme here.

14- Billy Bunter the Bold was published March 1954 by Cassell & Co (Reprinted 1956 and 1960) and was illustrated by R.J. MacDonald. It was reprinted by Armada in 1968.

You can download an MS Word version of the Armada reprint of this story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

You can read a review by Brian Graeme here.

15- Bunter does his best was published September 1954 by Cassell & Co (Reprinted 1955 twice, 1957 and 1963) and was illustrated by R.J. MacDonald. It was also reprinted by Hawk (1991). It was reprinted in 1982 by Quiller press after being 'updated' by Kay King with new illustrations by Victor Ambrus.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

You can read a review of the original story by Brian Graeme here.

Justin compared the Cassell and the Quiller versions, his conclusions are published  here.

16- Billy Bunter's Double was published March 1955 by Cassell & Co (Reprinted 1955, 1956 and 1962) and was illustrated by R.J. MacDonald. This was to be RJ MacDonald's last book, he passed away in 1954 and the rest of the books were illustrated by C. H. Chapman, the original Magnet artist who first put Bunter in his famous check trousers. It was reprinted by Hawk in 1995 and by Quiller press in June 1984 after being 'updated' by Kay King with new illustrations by Victor Ambrus.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

You can read a review of the original Cassell version by Brian Graeme here.

If you want to compare the original Cassell story with the later version edited by Kay King you can download the Quiller version from the links below-

          

17- Backing Up Billy Bunter was published September 1955 by Cassell & Co (Reprinted 1955 and 1956) and was illustrated by C. H. Chapman. It was reprinted by Hawk in 1995 and by Quiller press in June 1984 after being 'updated' by Kay King with new illustrations by Victor Ambrus.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

18- Lord Billy Bunter was published April 1956 by Cassell & Co (Reprinted 1959) and was illustrated by C. H. Chapman.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

19- The Banishing of Billy Bunter was published September 1956 by Cassell & Co (Reprinted 1958) and was illustrated by C. H. Chapman.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

20- Billy Bunter's Bolt was published March 1957 by Cassell & Co and was illustrated by C. H. Chapman (Reprinted 1964). It was reprinted by Hawk in 1994.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

21- Billy Bunter Afloat was published August 1957 by Cassell & Co and was illustrated by C. H. Chapman (Reprinted 1961). It was reprinted by Hawk in 1991.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

You can read a review by Brian Graeme here.

22- Billy Bunter's Bargain was published March 1958 by Cassell & Co and was illustrated by C. H. Chapman. It was reprinted by Hawk in November 1995.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

You can read a review by Brian Graeme here.

23- Billy Bunter the Hiker was published in 1958 by Cassell & Co and was illustrated by C. H. Chapman. It was reprinted by Hawk in April 1994.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

You can read a review by Brian Graeme here.

24- Bunter out of Bounds was published in 1958 by Cassell & Co and was illustrated by C. H. Chapman.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

25- Bunter comes for Christmas was published September 1959 by Cassell & Co (Reprinted 1966) and was illustrated by C. H. Chapman. It was reprinted by Quiller Press in September 1982 and by Hawk in November 1994.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

If you want to compare the original Cassell story with the later version edited by Kay King you can download the Quiller version from the links below-

          

You can read a review by Brian Graeme here.

26- Bunter the Bad Lad was published March 1960 by Cassell & Co and was illustrated by C. H. Chapman.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

You can read a review by Brian Graeme here.

27- Bunter keeps it Dark was published August 1960 by Cassell & Co and was illustrated by C. H. Chapman.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

28- Billy Bunter's Treasure Hunt was published March 1961 by Cassell & Co and was illustrated by C. H. Chapman.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

You can read a review by Brian Graeme here.

29- Billy Bunter at Butlins was published in 1961 by Cassell & Co and was illustrated by C. H. Chapman. The yellowjacket edition cost 9/6 but there was a five bob version available from the Butlins camps making this one of the easiest issues to get hold of.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

You can read a review by Brian Graeme  here.

30- Bunter the Ventriloquist was published October 1961 by Cassell & Co and was illustrated by C. H. Chapman. It was reprinted by Armada in June 1970 and by Hawk November 1994.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

You can read a review by Brian Graeme here.

31- Bunter the Caravanner was published March 1962 by Cassell & Co and was illustrated by C. H. Chapman. It was reprinted by Hawk November 1995.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

You can read a review by Brian Graeme here.

32- Billy Bunter's Bodyguard was published September 1962 by Cassell & Co and was illustrated by C. H. Chapman. It was reprinted by Hawk October 1993.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

You can read a review by Brian Graeme here.

33- Big Chief Bunter was published March 1963 by Cassell & Co and was illustrated by C. H. Chapman.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

34- Just Like Bunter was published September 1963 by Cassell & Co and was illustrated by C. H. Chapman.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

35- Bunter the Stowaway was published March 1964 by Cassell & Co and was illustrated by C. H. Chapman.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

You can read a review by Brian Graeme here.

36- Thanks To Bunter was published September 1964 by Cassell & Co and was illustrated by C. H. Chapman.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

37- Bunter the Sportsman was published April 1965 by Cassell & Co and was illustrated by C. H. Chapman.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

38- Bunter's Last Fling was published September 1965 by Cassell & Co and was illustrated by C. H. Chapman.

You can download a copy of the story in a variety of formats from the links below-

              

You can read a review by Brian Graeme here.