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FLEETWAY HOUSE SOUVENIR BOOK, 1912
The scan and description kindly supplied by Naveed Haque. You can download the book here.
This book was by way of a souvenir published under the auspices of The Amalgamated Press and given to invited guests during a banquet held at the Fleetway House on Thursday November 7th 1912.
Obviously by 1912, the Amalgamated press (which amongst numerous publications also brought out the Magnet and Gem) was a powerful publishing empire. It had just opened its main headquarters at the Fleetway House, located in Farringdon street, London with Alfred Harmsworth (Lord Northcliffe) presiding at the helm.
What better way to celebrate than by a high-class three course dinner invitation to notable guests, including directors (which included the brother Cecil Harmsworth), editors and other prominent people, and to give them as a gift a book self- lauding the success of the company!
The original book, one of the editions scanned from the collection of Naveed Haque is printed on thick paper stock, bound in full vellum and with silk end-papers. Prior to the banquet, guests were provided with an invitation and directions. The book was accompanied by a menu booklet and also a guest list (plus seating plan) of the event, all ornately designed on the cover.
Only the book has been scanned here.
Please note that due to the larger page dimensions, the pages had to be scanned in two portions, and these were joined by relevant software. The joining can be discerned on many of the pages, and furthermore some of the text is not completely clear and/or darkened.
But it is felt that this book should be made available here on the Friardale site as a testament of a great publishing company at the peak of its fame and popularity, and so any shortcomings should be excused.
I should add that our Charles Hamilton (Frank Richards) was not on that guest list. Perhaps he was away at the time on holiday in the South of France and enjoying the gaming tables! Certainly Bunter would have enjoyed this banquet.
Some of the pictures in the book are fascinating---including a frontal view of the Fleetway House, and also another when it was undergoing construction. I especially like the varied photos of the 'rooms', including the ones for the directors and the editors. Our author must have frequented one of the latter on his rather sparse visitations for an editorial chat. You can glean that the furnishing was of the best and the decour in keeping with the person who utilized the respective rooms.
It is also interesting to contemplate that the sinking of the Titanic ship had transpired not too long ago--about six or seven months before this banquet, just to put things in appropriate "time-line". In the Magnet, the Crusaders series of 1912 had just commenced.