There are a number of notable anniversaries that we will be marking with illustrated articles on the pages of the magazine during 2018. These include the centenary of the RAF, the 250th anniversary of the first circus (created by an entertainment pioneer from Staffordshire by the name of Philip Astley), and the birth 200 years ago of poet and Wuthering Heights author Emily Brontë. Incredibly it was 60 years ago that popular television programme Blue Peter first appeared on our TV screens (a 15-minute slot with Christopher Trace, Leila Williams and Tony Hart) so we will be looking back on how it developed into the stalwart it has become today.
Another regular on our televisions and radios for many years was a certain comedian, writer, musician, poet and actor who was born exactly 100 years ago in April 1918. We couldn’t let the year pass without paying tribute to the many-faceted genius of Spike Milligan. In the meantime, our regular series commemorating the centenary of the First World War will be continuing, and in the summer issue we tell the story of English hero Captain Charles Fryatt, a merchant seaman whose execution by the Germans in 1916 caused outrage. In order to make sure you receive your copy of This England and enjoy these and many other articles, you can arrange an annual postal subscription by clicking here.
Regular readers will be aware of another anniversary, one rather closer to home, that falls in 2018. It was 50 years ago, during the spring of 1968, that a new magazine appeared on the shelves of newsagents and over the next few weeks and months began dropping on the doormats of English men and women who found themselves strangely intrigued by the slogan that accompanied the quarterly’s launch: “As refreshing as a pot of tea”. I am delighted that, half a century on from that very different world, the magazine is still going strong with a loyal band of patriotic readers both at home and abroad, and that we are able to wave the Cross of St. George, raise a glass of English beer, cider or wine, and in 2018 celebrate its fiftieth birthday. Please forgive a bit of self-indulgence on my part, but: Many happy returns…This England!
In my Editor’s Letter in the spring issue I look back on the origins of the magazine and how its founder, the late Roy Faiers, had an inspirational moment while listening to a long and boring sermon during a service in his local church in Grimsby. Elsewhere in the magazine we have published some recollections by a selection of long-time contributors and subscribers - including a few enlightening comments about what England means to them. More of these insights from readers and writers will follow in the summer issue.
Over the years This England has published illustrated articles on an incredible variety of subjects, and as another part of our Golden Anniversary celebrations we have compiled a special one-off publication reproducing some of the highlights from each decade of the magazine’s publication. You can order your copy of what promises to become a much-sought-after collector’s item by clicking here.
Many thanks to everyone who has supported the magazine during the last half-century. Here’s to the next 50 years! Please do come on the journey with us!