||A short look at The
Valerie Drew and
Flash, Amalgamated Press and Fleetway House
Compiled by Sylvia Reed, a member of Story Paper
Collectors Digest, and an unashamedly
hopeless addict of Morcove.
Valerie Drew info wanted? Email Gary.
Page finalised 7th
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SW = The Schoolgirls' Weekly
SO = The Schoolgirls' Own
SG = The Schoolgirl
The Schoolgirls' Weekly
(Published from 21 October, 1922 to 20 May, 1939 by The
Amalgamated Press) was a companion paper to the perhaps
more well known The Schoolgirls' Own and The Schoolgirl.
The size of this magazine was
larger than the SO and SG; in fact, the same size as the
later Girls Crystal and the re-published School Friend
weeklies. Also, the page content varied over the years,
as with the sister papers.
Because the print was small,
there was a wealth of reading matter in the serials,
complete stories, features, illustrations, competitions,
puzzles, advertisements, and general hints, all tightly
packed into this weekly paper.
seemed to cater for a slightly older age group of
girls, as there were also features and career
advice for when girls left school.
There were school stories,
adventure stories, home life stories, Guide
stories, War time stories. Girls in all
situations who overcame poverty, adversity and
peril, to become heroines in their own right.
What inspiration for the young ladies who read
these weeklies in the 1920's and 1930's.
As Morcove School was
the main theme for The Schoolgirls' Own, and
Cliff House School belonged to The Schoolgirl, it
seemed fitting that there be a 'theme' to the SW,
and this was to be Valerie Drew, the girl
detective and her Alsatian dog, Flash.
In SW No 596,
there was a suggestion by one of the readers (Peggy Brett
of Birmingham) that there be more Valerie Drew stories.
Peggy stated that:
The Schoolgirls' Own always contains a long Morcove
story, and the School Girl a long Cliff House story. Why
shouldn't SCHOOLGIRLS' WEEKLY always have a long complete
Valerie Drew story? Peggy, where are you now? Do you
still think of these magazines or read them?
The Editor agreed that this was a good idea, and he
asked for opinions from the readers of the SW, and there
must have been positive feedback, because Valerie Drew
and Flash, became the main feature of the SW. (For more
information on Valerie Drew, please refer to the book by
Mary Cadogan and Patricia Craig, You're a Brick, Angela!
Quite a few of the Valerie stories were re-printed in The
Schoolgirls Own Library, first series.)
||Many of the
illustrations are unsigned, which is a shame as
they are extremely good, and we don't know who
worked so hard to produce them. Of course, they
would have been well known in those days. Some
are identifiable only by initials, such as BH, or
W.T. However, some of these unsigned
illustrations seem to be the work of Leonard
Shields, and they are quite similar to his famous
Morcove illustrations. Evelyn Flinders, famed for
her portrayal of The Silent Three, was also a
Judging by the
amount of letters published in the Editor's page, there
seemed to be larger contingent of girls from Australia
patronising this weekly, compared with the SG or SO. In
earlier copies, this page was known as Notes in Class,
later on it was From Your Editor to You, and later again,
Before You Begin.
regular features were the advertisements for the Annuals
and The Schoolgirls' Own Library. These must have been
eagerly awaited special items, especially girls who were
This paper was
eventually incorporated into Girls Crystal, and later on,
The Schoolgirl followed suit.