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The School Friend Annual.

The School Friend Annual was first published in September 1926 for 1927, providing girls (and boys) of school age a mix of school and adventure stories. It was third in a new line of girls' story annuals issued by the Amalgamated Press, behind the Schoolgirls' Own from 1923 and Golden from 1925. The AP responded to the popularity of Cliff House School in their weekly story paper of the same name, at that time written by L. E. Ransome under the Hilda Richards by-line, but continued and probably written from the 1934 Annual by John Wheway. The AP records were lost so this is a best guess. These stories had been appearing to date in the other 2 annuals but were now fixed until the 1941 edition when the last Cliff House story appeared. The annual itself went on though, first with stories but (like the Girls' Crystal Annual) turned into mainly and finally wholly picture strip form, and even lasted until 1982.

As part of Radio 4's "Jolly Hockey Sticks" series broadcast during March 2011 Lisa Dillon performs the entire Fourth Form of Cliff House School in 'Jemima Gets Them Guessing' from the 1939 School Friend Annual. From the BBC website- Martin Jarvis directs Lisa Dillon's humorous performance as the entire Fourth Form of Cliff House School in 'Jemima Gets Them Guessing'. Written by Hilda Richards in 1939, eccentric, monocled Jemima Carstairs (a sort of female fourteen year-old Bertie Wooster with brains) is presented with a problem. One of their class-mates, Frances Frost - the icicle of the Fourth - threatens to blackmail decent Clara Trevlyn for visiting the Palais de Danse, thereby jeopardising Clara's position as Captain of Games. But Clara may have had a perfectly proper motive for breaking bounds. To save her chum, Jemima concocts a plan involving a beach-side confrontation and a mysterious boat-trip. Can Jemima rescue Clara's reputation and prevent her from disgrace?

You can listen to the play here.

Listing and introduction kindly supplied by Gary.

You can find a number of girls annuals front cover scans here.


  Issue & Year Title Author
Issue 01


The Band And The "Bandits"! Hilda Richards
The Famous Miss Finch [Play]  
The "War" Of The Roses  
Issue 02


Honours Divided!  
Yates Takes The Cake!  
Issue 03


An Artful Artist!  
A Lesson For Bessie [Play]  
Issue 04


The Mascot That Made Good  
Issue 05


That Strange New Girl  
Issue 08


Snowed Up At Cliff House  
Issue 09


Crisis At Cliff House  
Let's Have A Party  
Issue 10


Two Against A Tyrant  
Miss Charmant Was Different  
Bessie's Big Chance  
M'Lizi's Master Stroke (Jemima Only)  
Issue 11


Forbidden To Be Friends  
Clara Invades France  
Bessie Among The Cranks  
Jemima Performs (Jemima Only)  
Issue 12


It Was Fun For The Fourth  
Bessie The Beauty Queen  
When Cliff House Made History  
Issue 13


Queer Doings At Cliff House  
"Bags" Of Trouble For Bessie  
When Pluto Took Command  
Jemima Gets Them Guessing  
Expelled From The Pets House  
Issue 14


Backed Up By Babs  
Delores' Good Turn  
Her Captain And Friend  
When Bessie's Cake Was Cut
Jemima Plays A Lone Hand  
Issue 15


The Quest Of Study No. 1  
Mabs' Film Star Masquerade  
When Jimmy Played Ghost  
Championed By Duffer Bessie  
All To Save The Rebel