bc A short look at The Schoolgirls' Weekly, Valerie Drew and Flash, Amalgamated Press and Fleetway House
Compiled by
Sylvia Reed, a member of Story Paper Collector’s Digest, and an unashamedly hopeless addict of Morcove.
Valerie Drew info wanted? Email
Page finalised 7th November, 2010.

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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.

It also 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 contributor.

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.

Amongst the 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 voracious readers.

This paper was eventually incorporated into Girls Crystal, and later on, The Schoolgirl followed suit.