The parish magazine in 1947

Village News is now in its tenth year as a 'free to every home' village magazine, but its origins go back much further than that. Readers have mentioned that various forms of parish magazine have circulated in our villages since the 19th century, and from these Village News is a direct descendent.

We know that WW2 caused an interruption to publication, possibly due to paper rationing, but since then the magazine has been in more or less continuous production through to 2003, when it was re-launched in its present form by Paul and Jane Lovis. And now we are able to reproduce in full the very first post-war edition from December 1947, recently unearthed by David Mead from his archive.

Only one page of octavo* but properly typeset and professionally printed, this tiny quarterly – The Parish Paper – packs an amazing variety of material into a small space. (We have reproduced it a little larger than the original to make it easier to read.) No stranger to a special offer, the unnamed editor offers the first two issues free; thereafter a subscription of 6d (pence) a year. Subscriptions continued right up to 2003.

The parish magazine in 1947
The parish magazine in 1947

Village activities reflect some of the issues of the day, such as the raising of funds to re-building of the Long Marston School (which had been hit by a wartime bomb, killing a teacher). The wonderful main editorial refers to the provision of new council houses in Wilstone (New Road), with two loos but no pig-sty! The benefits of keeping pigs are extolled at some length in this well-crafted address. The context of post-war Britain, with food rationing, re-building and the difficulties of rural life, shines through in these few hundred words.

Many readers will know the names mentioned in “The Parish Paper”. Among the announcements: the marriage of Dick and Ethel Gomm on 22nd October1947. Mr and Mrs Gomm were part of that generation of villagers who rolled up their sleeves and got village life going again after the war years. It is that generation, for example, who built our village halls which form such a focus of community activity today. Dick Gomm was a regular contributor to Village News until his death, providing articles on local history. Mr John Chapin was age 92 when he died on 23rd October 1947. He was born in 1855, when Lord Palmerston was Prime Minister and not just the name of a pub.

A good re-start in 1947 and we hope you enjoy reading it. If other readers have historic copies of the parish magazine that we could feature extracts from, we would be interested to hear from you. Does anyone have an edition earlier than 1939?

Reproduced here in full octavo! by Phil Buchi and David Mead

(*Octavo: an old imperial paper size; one-eighth of a sheet. Ed.)

One Comment “The parish magazine in 1947”

  • Alan Reason


    I first saw the light of day in December 1947 in 3, Marian Cottages. We lived in Marian Cottage until I was about four years old. Then my sister came along and we moved to one of the new bungalows. We lived in the village until about 1963. I well remember Dick and Ethel Gomm. I am sad to realise that both have passed away now but I would be really interested to hear about them, their children (Susan and Robin) and their families.

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