The History of the Parish Magazine

Very old magazines


Pages in this section: History | Buildings History | Children History | Churchyard History | Churchyard Records | Clergy History | Community History |  Magazine History | Mission History | Music History | PCC History |  Services History | Social Life History

The Magazine Archive

All the old magazines have been scanned and added to a Magazine Archive in the St James's archives and can be dowloaded here. N/A means that a magazine is not available, perhaps not printed. The quality of the scans vary and correspond to the quality of each original magazine. See the links on the left. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read them which you can download free from Adobe

1884 -1899 | 1900 - 1919 | 1920 - 1939 | 1940 - 1959 | 1960 - 1979 | 1980 - 1999 | 2000 - 2019 | 2020 - 2039

From November 1884 until January 1933 the magazines are preserved, without their covers, bound together as hard-backed books, one or two years in a book. Consequently, there is no record of the covers of these particular magazines, which also means not many records of services and staff at this time as they were mostly printed on the covers. From January 1933 the magazines are preserved separately with their covers, all the same and showing the church staff and services. There are no records of magazines from 1937, 1938 or 1939 and only a few magazines are available from the 1940s.
The parish magazine was named The Spire in 1952 and on the online archive only the first magazine of each year is shown complete with its cover and information page to save digital space and download time. The covers were redesigned every so often until April 2006 when the Spire began to be produced 'in house'. After that time there were different covers with the first issue available from each year being complete. From October 2008 each Spire had its own individual cover and from then each magazine is available complete with its cover, the services and details of staff and contacts

The Development of the Magazine

Cartoon of old magazinesThe parish magazines have always been considered one of the main ways we achieve outreach by spreading news of our faith and what goes on in our church and further afield. It is delivered free to any family who has asked for it and is available from many High Street shops. Have a look at Parish Magazines through the years which shows what happened from when records began up until 2017.

The distribution was reviewed some years ago and as a result more copies were placed in the High Street, at the Post Office, library, Medical Centre and dentist with the response being "outreach at its best". 2017 was another successful year and the distribution rose to 650.
The PCC agreed to extend the Spire’s reach by funding an extra 100 copies for each issue, for systematic distribution around the parish during 2017-18 so that eventually everyone in the parish had received a copy. That period was very successful with our basic order per issue risen from 650 to 700 copies because of demand. The Post Office was taking up to 100 copies an issue. While it has not been easy to assess whether this was effective, it set the ball rolling for the new You’re Invited leaflets which from 2018 are delivered regularly round as many streets as possible.
Our new printers, Paul and Julie Venn, continue to give us an excellent service and are always punctual with their delivery. We have built up an excellent working relationship with them and they take great care in all that they do.
Our annual appeal raised £1,800 with Gift Aid towards the cost and we are very grateful to all those who supported our work.
Up until the summer of 2019, one of every magazine available was stored in the church, latterly in the church office. Then in the autumn of 2019 the magazines up to April 2006 (when we changed from A5 to A4 format) were moved to the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA). This was to free up space in the office and because there are specific regulations under which these should best be stored (temperature, safety, fire risk) which the office could not provide. To do any form of research became easier there than in the church office (contact LMA: 020 7332 3820 / e-mail). The LMA's website have put a link to our website so people can also look at them electronically. 
2019 was very successful with the basic order per issue risen from 650 to 700 copies because of demand. The Post Office started taking up to 100 copies an issue. 
 While magazines were not allowed to be delivered to homes during the Covid-10 Pandemic in 2020, every issue of the Spire was still produced and was available online.

These bullet points only show some information from this period. The Annual Parochial Church Meeting Reports show the latest reports from most teams and groups.

Downloading tips

Most magazines will appear full width on your screen. If they do not then go to the horizontal navigation bar at the top of the magazine and click the arrow at the side of the percentage box. A drop down menu will appear. Scroll down and choose the width you require. Alternately, just zoom in to your choice of text size.
If a magazine does not download on the first double click, double click on it again. 
If you have downloaded a magazine but cannot see the first page just start to scroll down and that will nudge the page to appear!

Find out more

Annual Parochial Church Meeting Reports (these documents contain the annual reports of the various church teams or groups associated with St James's Church. Scroll down the document of the year you are interested in to find the report you want) 
Magazine Covers (photos)

Receive the Spire by email

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