Editor’s Diary: A Glimpse Into Publishing’s Past

In this week’s Editor’s Diary, I’m looking back in time to the early days of magazine publishing.

This trip down memory lane was prompted by a lunch I enjoyed this week.

No, that’s not a comment on the quality of the food! Everything I ate (macaroni cheese with garlic bread and salad) was delicious.

I don’t often go out for lunch on my Team Tuesdays in Dundee. Instead, I normally pack a home-made lunch of soup and a sandwich to eat in the office.

But this week, a colleague who’s usually based in England was visiting Dundee for work. The perfect excuse to treat ourselves and let someone else do the cooking!

We headed across the road to the McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum. It’s adjacent to the “Friend” offices so we didn’t have to waste any precious time getting to our destination!

The cafe at the McManus is a popular lunch venue and is always busy, but we were lucky to find a table and settle down for a good chat.

Our food arrived promptly and, as I’ve said, was excellent – fresh, tasty and piping hot.

A fascinating place

My lunch companion commented that she must really make time to visit the museum next time she’s in Dundee, as she had never previously been inside.

I agreed – it’s a fascinating place, full of interesting local exhibits and excellent art.

Her remark reminded me of something, and as we were leaving I drew her into the lobby and across to the foot of the main staircase.

I knew that as a fellow magazine editor, she would be intrigued by the amazing old linotype machine on display there.

It’s a beautiful piece of machinery that is on loan from DC Thomson, publisher of the “Friend”. And for all its working life it was situated in the building across the road.

We’ve come a long way since type was first set on these machines, and magazines were printed on presses like the one in the picture at the top of this post.

I wonder what those linotype machine operators of yesterday would have thought of today’s computer technology?


Read more of Angela’s Editor’s Diary entries.

Angela Gilchrist

Angela is Former Editor-in-Chief of “The People’s Friend” magazine. Her passions include cats, Highland ponies, good books, vegetarian food and long walks in the Scottish countryside. Her favourite place to get away from it all is the magical Isle of Skye.