THE ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS ~ A WINDOW ON VISUAL INFORMATION
This posting has been written by Geoff, one of our volunteers, who has great love and respect for magazines. Come in and meet him Thursday mornings!
“The beauty of magazines is their versatility. They can convey detailed information on diverse topics and contain varied views and opinions, facts and figures, and illustrations at a reasonable price and from a multitude of vendors. As well, they are readily available for most people in most urban centers. They are also capable of being updated and corrected when necessary.
In all probability, the magazine began centuries ago as an organ of information – pamphlets of local interest or handbills of instruction for the residents of rural areas, or simply news items for the “burgers”. Communication of information continues to be an important feature of societies. Newspapers, radio, television, and magazines have been the mainstay of communication for decades and, of course, we now have the ever present internet. There is little doubt that there will follow ever more revolutionary methods of disseminating information, and that people will continue to enjoy ever quicker instruments for accessing that information. But for lots of readers the tactile pleasure of leafing through a periodical cannot be disguised.
The Comox Air Force Museum is currently featuring a collection of the Illustrated London News weekly magazines from the First World War era. Each week, the appropriate issue ( 100 years late ) is displayed in the WWI section of the Museum’s main gallery; it is full of the ( then ) current news from the ‘front’, as well as articles, photographs, and wonderful illustrations of the ‘action’. The pages of advertisements are a diversion in their own right, and can offer an insight into the society of a century ago.
The novelty ( or genius ) of the Illustrated London News as a powerful organ of information was the focus on the newly invented photography and amazing illustrations which added enormously to the popularity of the publication. First published in 1842, the magazine folded in 2003. Few magazines have lasted as long, and there is a certain satisfaction in having a magazine of such continuity and longevity on display in our Museum. Take a few minutes to read through the pages and look at the items that are on display around you – they convey a much more compelling story when seen in conjunction with the immediacy and almost real time telling of the news.”
For the next two weeks, we’ll have some copies on display in the Library, and, of course, in the Museum gallery. Come in and check them out!