Newsletter No. 2, April 2007
It has been a busy few months since our last newsletter. In January we launched the new printed series of Look and Learn, which gathers together some of the best features and artwork from the original magazine. The launch was accompanied by a round of promotional interviews and features, of which our favourite quote came from Robert McNeil of The Scotsman who bemoaned the fact that “Alas, like so many things, I did not appreciate it until I grew up.” He also said that Look and Learn should be compulsory reading.
The magazine has certainly been a hit with older readers who have fond memories of the original but we are even more pleased to find that it has reached a whole new generation of young fans. I had the pleasure of talking to some of our subscribers recently and, praise for the quality of the magazine aside (although that's always nice to hear), my favourite stories were of how these subscribers' children have taken to the magazine: how one lad flicks rapidly through the magazine to get an idea of what's coming up then goes back to the first page and reads it from cover to cover; how two young girls have decided that the best way to avoid arguments is to take it in turns to open that instantly recognisable red envelope when it lands on their doormat …
That the magazine and the website are a hit with youngsters was proven to us in March when the Children's Art Competition suddenly took off. The Competition Gallery is now teeming with colourful, imaginative art, with paintings arriving from as far away as Russia, Iran, India, the Philippines and the USA.
If your own children haven't tried entering yet, perhaps a look through the Gallery will encourage them to have a go. As an added bonus, not only do they get their own personal permanent gallery (which you can access by clicking on the name of the artist), they can rate the artwork on display and send their own artwork to friends and relatives as an e-card.
On Monday, 16 April, we unveiled the new look to the website along with a couple of new features. The first is a blog-style column where we can post interesting articles that appeared in Look and Learn over the years. This is updated daily and is deliberately something of a random selection so you never know what you might find. As I write this, I'm looking at the history of the Sony Walkman, introduced 25 years ago, but you can also read about wartime spy Odette Sansom, the birth of Braille or take a look at an Aardvark.
We have also begun uploading issues of another paper we own, The Children's Newspaper. This is a real slice of history: the paper was launched by Arthur Mee in 1919 and ran for 2,397 issues before merging into Look and Learn in 1965. The editor covered every subject, from new scientific discoveries to the exploration of unknown lands. The turbulent Twenties and Thirties, the Second World War, the post-War period and the birth of television and pop music … all were covered by The Children's Newspaper as they happened.
Every day we are re-publishing an issue, bearing today’s date, but from a year between 1919 and 1965. In June we shall also be making the complete set available for sale on DVD.
A final word about my own particular corner of the website. Our Picture Library grows every week and we now have over 15,000 images on display, over a third of which are taken from original artwork. We have recently added a lot of new pictures painted by some of Look and Learn's finest artists, including Peter Jackson, Wilf Hardy, C. L. Doughty and Roger Payne. If you have a favourite artist, don't forget that you can search by artist's name as well as subject matter when you visit the Library.
Steve Holland, Archivist
Look and Learn Magazine Ltd
54 Upper Montagu Street, London W1H 1SL, UK