Posted in Bringing Alive The Past, Fashion History, Historical Hair and Make-up, Vintage

Happy 100th Birthday Woman’s Weekly Magazine

Front Cover First Issue of Woman's Weekly Magazine 1911

A very Happy birthday to the British institution that is Woman’s Weekly Magazine, which turns 100 a couple of week’s ago.  The first issue, then called The Woman’s Weekly, cost one penny and was published on 4th November 1911.  To mark this important event in the history of the women’s magazine industry, if you purchase a copy of the Special Collector’s Centenary Issue of Woman’s Weekly (8th November 2011, priced £1.25), you will find an extra special treat tucked inside, an exact facsimile re-publication of the first edition.   There is so much to delight lovers of all things vintage in both magazines. Ranging from snippets of advice given in the beauty pages over the last century, to a lovely feature depicting the changing shape of fashion from 1910 to 2000 plus much, much more.  Dash to your news agents and buy a copy in haste!

Here are a few of my favourite extracts from the very first issue, 4th November 1911:

Our Motto – a note from The Editor (p. 2)

‘….I am hoping that every page of this journal will prove to you that I am trying to “get at” the woman of the Empire in every home in the land…You will find that page after page is crammed with information and help that will assist women in their daily lives as no other journal has attempted before.  Our one desire is to please the average woman.  I say frankly that the women of Mayfair and the lady who lives in the castle are not catered for in this paper.  But the woman who lives in the villa or the cottage, in a large house or a small house – the woman who rules the destinies of the home, is going to be helped in her life, her work, and her recreation by this journal.’

Pin-Money Pages 

‘Half-a crown for every one printed.  This is the generous offer I am making this week to good Cooks and House-keepers everywhere…Send a thrifty, tested idea at once and try to win a Pin-Money prize.’

Apple Chutney (p.14)

‘Four pounds of apples; one pound of raisins; a quarter of a pound of salt; one and half pounds of sugar; a quarter of a pound of garlic; a quarter of a pound of onions; two ounces of ground ginger; half an ounce of cayenne pepper; half a pint of mustard seed; three pints of vinegar.

A very agreeable variant on pickles of the ordinary kind, and made from this recipe will, if well cooked, keep a long time.  Pare and core the apples and stew them to a pulp.  Stone the raisins and chop them very fine, together with the garlic and onions.  Mash all together with a potato beater. Add the mustard seeds after they have been left to swell in boiling water.  Finally add the vinegar and mix well. The chutney is then ready for bottling – Sent by Miss M. Hardy, Oakham)’

A Silk Hat Bag (p. 34)

‘This bag for a man’s silk hat can be conveniently hung up in his wardrobe. Procure a deep bonnet-box from the milliner, then make a case of some strong material such as linen.  The case must fit the box perfectly, and be fitted at the bottom with a circular piece. The upper edge of the case is provided with a draw-string. When the case is quite complete, place the box (without the lid, of course) inside. It serves as a protection for the hat, such as a plain bag could not provide.’

Dress Do’s and Don’ts by the Editor of “Fashions for All”

A Blouse Hint – For Girls (p. 20 & 22)

‘It is fortunate for the girl with only a little money to spend on dress that the Magyar blouse is as popular as ever.  It can be made out of a yard and quarter of double-width stuff, and your pattern can be used again and again.  Remember if the blouse drags under the arms you can remedy matters by inserting a small diamond-shape gusset of material.  If you possess a well-fitting slip of washing satin, or even sateen, it is surprising how many changes can be contrived by means of pretty little semi-transparent over-blouses of voile, ninon, or thin delaine. All the trimming they need is a little hand embroidery in coarse silk, crewel wools, or beads and a girl with clever fingers can copy the most expensive models she sees in the shops at very small cost indeed.  Piece-lace is another excellent material for the purpose, and if the patter is outlined and picked out in silk (simple darning stitch and French knots) a most distinctive garment will be the reward of your labours!’

How to Become a Nurse by Miss E. Margaret Fox, Matron of the Prince of Wales’s Hospital, London

1. Why Do I Wish To Become a Nurse? (p. 35)

‘Nursing is not quite what you are apt to think it is, and you must be sure your kindly desire to relieve suffering and help the sick and poor is strong enough to carry you through a great deal of hard and monotonous work; also, that you have plenty of patience and perseverance, and a real natural liking for looking after people when they are ill,  or you will never be a success. Will you, just for a moment, put to yourself some such questions as these: Is it because I am tired of the typewriting office, the shop, or the business, and just want a change? Because I find the old aunt or grandmother who lives with us a bore? Am I tired of living at home? Does my stepmother irritate me? Do I not get on well with my sisters or brothers? Is my liberty restricted at home, and do I want more independence? Do I really crave for excitement of some kind, to be taken notice of, to wear a pretty uniform, to be looked up to, to be admired? Or, do I wish to become a nurse in order that I may have a reliable, useful means of making a living, so that whether I marry or remain single, I may always be of real use to other people, and find my greatest happiness in serving the sick and suffering, and in doing good?’

Advertisement for Bird's Custard from the back page of the first edition of The Woman's Weekly, 4th November 2011.


Social historian, based in the UK.

11 thoughts on “Happy 100th Birthday Woman’s Weekly Magazine

    1. Dear Ann,

      If you want to obtain a copy of the Special Collector’s Centenary Issue of Woman’s Weekly (8th November 2011) then I suggest the following:-

      1. Try your local newsagent, they may have copies of this special edition still in stock. Alternatively, try your local library, if they normally take Woman’s Weekly you could reference back issues there;
      2. I have had a look to see whether the magazine has details of where to obtain back issues and it does have the following web address printed, When I checked availability of this issue on the website a little earlier, the latest issue they have listed is dated 1st November 2011, so you may have to wait a little bit before the 8th November issue is shown as available.

      Good luck finding a copy of this lovely magazine!

      Best wishes


  1. Please please please could i have the recipes from the 100 recipes i made the birthday cake and threw away recipe its the best cake ever . I hope you can help . Thankyou.


    1. Dear Angela,

      Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately I am no longer in possession of the original magazine myself. However, you may be able to purchase a back issue. Here is the link to the relevant website The date of the issue is 8th November 2011. At the time of writing this comment, there appear to be a number of copies of this particular issue still in stock at a very reasonable price, depending on where in the world you want it shipped to. Good luck and hope you manage to get a copy. Kind regards. Emma.


  2. I have the original first ever print of the first edition from 1911. Is this worth anything? or are there collectors for such a thing?


    1. Hi Stephen,

      Thank you for your comment. I am afraid I cannot advise you on value but you may find a vintage magazine collector on-line who can help you further with that. What a wonderful item to have in your own collection though, lucky you.

      Kind regards. Emma.


  3. I have an apron with the cover of the first issue of Womans weekly printed on it.
    Does anyone know if this was a free gift, if so when?


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