Our Amazing Archives


As part of my job putting together the Queries & Curiosities page, I am always delving into our extensive archives to find interesting little tit bits for the page. Considering the “Friend” was first published in 1869, there is quite a bit to choose from, as you can imagine!

Some of the things printed amaze me. For instance, who knew the uses petrol had as a household cleaner? All throughout the 1950s and 60s we had tips on using it to clean the collars of overcoats or to remove stains on furniture. Did no-one just put it in their car? And what about the smell or the fact that it was flammable?!

Sadly, the space for archives content on the page is small, so I’m not able to reproduce articles in full. However, today I’m going to take the opportunity to share with you the wonderful writers’ guidelines from 1911. They’re written very tongue in cheek, but the message is still clear always enclose an sae and please read the material over carefully before you sent it in.

For Would-Be Writers

Aspiring authors who avail themselves of the announcement in the “People’s Friend” that the Editor is always glad to consider bright articles of current interest would do well to commit the following lines to memory:

Write upon pages of a single size,

Cross your t’s and neatly dot your i’s

On one side only let your lines be seen

Both sides filled up announce a Verdant Green.

Correct, yes, re-correct all that you write,

And let your ink be black, your paper white.

Punctuate carefully, for on that score

Nothing proclaims a practised writer more.

Then send it off and, lest it merit lack,

Enclose a stamp with which to send it back.

But first pay all the postage on it, too,

For Editors look askance on “twopence due”,

And murmur, as they run the effusion o’er,

“A shabby fellow and a wretched bore!”

Bear this in mind, observe all to the end,

And you shall make the Editor your friend.