Country Life
EditorMark Hedges
Former editorsSee editors section below
CategoriesLifestyle (rural)
FrequencyWeekly
Circulation39,257 (ABC Jan – Dec 2015)[1]
Print and digital editions.
PublisherFuture plc
Year founded1897; 124 years ago (1897)
CountryUnited Kingdom
Based inFarnborough, Hampshire
Websitewww.countrylife.co.uk

Country Life is a British weekly perfect-bound glossy magazine that is published by Future plc. It was based in London at 110 Southwark Street until March 2016, when it became based in Farnborough, Hampshire.[2]

History

Hudson House, the former Country Life offices in Tavistock Street, London. Designed by Edwin Lutyens and built in 1904.
Hudson House, the former Country Life offices in Tavistock Street, London. Designed by Edwin Lutyens and built in 1904.

Country Life was launched in 1897,[3][4] incorporating Racing Illustrated. At this time it was owned by Edward Hudson, the owner of Lindisfarne Castle and various Lutyens-designed houses including The Deanery in Sonning; in partnership with George Newnes Ltd[5] (in 1905 Hudson bought out Newnes).[5]

At that time golf and racing served as its main content, as well as the property coverage, initially of manorial estates, which is still such a large part of the magazine. Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the late Queen Mother, used to appear frequently on its front cover. Now the magazine covers a range of subjects in depth, from gardens and gardening to country house architecture, fine art and books, and property to rural issues, luxury products and interiors.

The frontispiece of each issue usually features a portrait photograph of a young woman of society, or, on occasion, a man of society. For example; Volume 9, 1 June 1901 had Lady Fermor-Hesketh (the wife of 7th Baronet of Rufford).[6]

In 2016, in its 119th year, Country Life was the subject of a three-part documentary series made by Spun Gold and which aired on BBC Two on consecutive Friday nights in March. The magazine has also celebrated its best-ever selling issue – the double issue from Christmas 2015 – and a 6th ABC increase in a row, which is an achievement no other weekly magazine publishing original content can claim.

In 1997, the centenary of the magazine was celebrated by a special issue, the publishing of a book by Sir Roy Strong, the airing of a BBC2 TV programme on a year in the life of the magazine, and staging a Gold Medal-winning garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. In 1999, the magazine launched a new website.

In 2007, the magazine celebrated its 110th anniversary with a special souvenir issue on 4 January.[7] Starting on Wednesday 7 May 2008 the magazine is issued each Wednesday, having been on sale each Thursday for the past 111 years, with the earlier day being achieved using electronic publishing technology.

Topics

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Harry B. Neilson's Mr Fox's Hunt Breakfast on Xmas Day (1897) appeared on the cover of Country Life in December 1997
Harry B. Neilson's Mr Fox's Hunt Breakfast on Xmas Day (1897) appeared on the cover of Country Life in December 1997

The first several dozen pages of each issue are devoted to colour advertisements for upmarket residential property

The magazine covers the pleasures and joys of rural life. It is primarily concerned with rural communities and their environments as well as the concerns of country dwellers and landowners and has a diverse readership which, although mainly UK based is also international. Much of its success has historically been built on its coverage of country house architecture and gardening at a time when the architectural press largely ignored this building type. An extensive photographic archive has resulted, now of great importance to architectural historians.

The other rural pursuits and interests covered include hunting, shooting, farming, equestrian news and gardening and there are regular news and opinion pieces as well as a firm engagement with rural politics. There are reviews of books, food and wine, art and architecture (also many offers) and antiques and crafts. Illustrative material includes the Tottering-by-Gently cartoon by Annie Tempest. The property section claims to have more prime agents than anywhere else. In addition. monthly luxury and interiors sections offer readers some informed ideas about the latest in jewellery, style and travel, and interiors.

Recent feature articles have included Charles, Prince of Wales guest-editing an issue of Country Life in 2013, a historic revelation which revealed the true face of Shakespeare for the first time in 2015, and in 2016 an exclusive on where the Great Fire of London really began in 1666. There was a special commemorative issue in June 2016 on the occasion of the Queen's 90th birthday, and a Best of Britain celebrating the very best of what the United Kingdom has to offer, from craftsmen to landscapes.

Missing weeks. The magazine is reported by Tony Hutchinson as not being published between 19 June and 13 Aug 1959. Further work is needed on this.

BBC Documentary

In March 2016, Country Life was featured in a three-part documentary series produced by Spun Gold which aired on BBC2 called Land of Hope and Glory, British Country Life. The films sought to show some elements of modern rural life which although feature often in Country Life magazine, are rarely seen in the mass media.

Topics covered included the beauty of the countryside and the centuries and traditions of the people who live there as well as some of the challenges faced by those who live and work exclusively on the land, from property owners to farmers and those employed in country pursuits.

Editors

Deputy editors:

Architectural editors [dates as architectural writer]:

Gardens editors:

(earlier versions cited Fred Whitsey as a gardens editor, but he was a distinguished contributor only, being in fact the Editor of sister publication Popular Gardening)

Notable contributors

Staff architectural photographers:

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "ABC Certificates and Reports: Country Life".
  2. ^ Country Life – contact us
  3. ^ A. D. Harvey (January 2003). "One hundred and fifty years of The Field magazine" (PDF). History Today. 53 (1). Retrieved 15 August 2015.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Howard Cox; Simon Mowatt (2003). "Technology, Organisation and Innovation: The Historical Development of the UK Magazine Industry" (PDF). Auckland University of Technology. Archived from the original (Research paper) on 16 September 2016. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  5. ^ a b Brake, Laurel; Demoor, Marysa (2009). Dictionary of Nineteenth-century Journalism in Great Britain and Ireland. Academia Press. p. 294. ISBN 978-90-382-1340-8.
  6. ^ Country Life Illustrated, Volume 9, 1 June 1901, p. 2, at Google Books
  7. ^ Country Life, 4 January 2007, issue cover Archived 28 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Country Life's last staff photographer, by Alex Starkey, Country Life, 6 February 2007

References