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Amalgamated Press 1901-1961

Perhaps better known as a comic, newspaper and periodical publisher, Amalgamated Press was also an important book publisher during the first half of the twentieth century.

The company was formed in 1901 by brothers Alfred and Harold Harmsworth (1st Viscount Northcliffe and 1st Viscount Rothermere respectively). At the time they had a number of publishing enterprises including Comic Cuts and Illustrated Chips, which first appeared in print in 1890.

The new company was a prolific publisher, its two best known imprints being The Educational Book Company and Fleetway Publications. The latter name is synonymous with some of the best known British comic and periodical titles including Eagle, Buck Jones and Film Fun.

From Film Fun, 1951 Annual

In 1912 Amalgamated moved to their long term home at Fleetway House, Farringdon Street, London. The company was to outlive its founding brothers and after being bought out by the Mirror Group in 1959, became known as Fleetway Publications. Although the Amalgamated name was still used occassionally, it was soon to disappear from the publishing stage. In 1961 the new group added Longacre Press (Odhams) and George Newnes to its portfolio and was renamed The International Publishing Corporation (IPC) in 1963. At this point some publishers in the group still used their own names, though not Amalgamated Press, until a further reorganisation in 1968 saw most come under the banner IPC Magazines. The Fleetway imprint was still used for comics and annuals until 1983 when Robert Maxwell took over the IPC Group's comics.

The following includes many of the important Amalgamated Press book titles, but is not exhaustive. It shows what a diverse publisher the company was:

  • 1904 Japan Fights for Freedom: The Story of the War Between Russia and Japan - by H.W. Wilson, published in three volumes
  • 1906 The Book of Football: A Complete History and Record of the Association and Rugby Games - by Frederick J. Wall and Charles William Alcock
  • 1906 The Harmsworth Universal Atlas and Gazatteer of the World
  • 1909-56 Playbox Annual
  • 1911 Voyage of the Vulcan - by S. Clarke Hook
  • 1915 Charlie Chaplin Fun Book
  • 1919 The Great War: The Standard History of the World Wide Conflict - a 13 volume set of books edited by H.W. Wilson and J.A. Hammerton
  • 1920 Peoples of All Nations - edited by J.A. Hammerton
  • 1922 The 47th (London) Division 1914-18 by Alan H. Maude
  • 1924-57 Chicks' Own Annual
  • 1930 Modern Masterpieces of British Art
  • 1931 The Modern Boys Book of Aircraft
  • 1932-39 The Concise Household Encyclopedia - edited by J A Hammerton
  • 1933 The World of Wonder: 10,000 Things Every Child Should Know - edited by Charles Ray and published in two volumes
  • 1935 Book of Practical Television - edited by G.V. Dowding
  • 1936 Shipping Wonders of the World: A Saga of the Sea In Stories and Pictures - edited by C.A.C. Winchester, A.C. Hardy and F.C. Bowen and published in two volumes
  • 1937 The Boy's Book of Everyday Science - edited by Charles Ray
  • 1937-41 ? The Funny Wonder Annual
  • 1938 Wonders of the World, Aviation - edited by Clarence Winchester and J. Laurence Pritchard and published in two volumes
  • 1938 Europes Fight for Freedom - edited by Sir John Hammerton
  • 1938-61 The Film Fun Annual
  • 1939 Butterfly Annual
  • 1939 The Modern Boys Book of Pirates - by Flying Officer W.E. Johns
  • 1939-78 Girls' Crystal Annual
  • 1940s (undated) Women of All Lands: Their Charm, Culture & Characteristics - edited by Rosita Forbes
  • 1940-60 Radio Fun Annual
  • 1954-60 Kit Carson's Cowboy Annual
  • 1957-58 Buck Jones Annual

Amalgamated Press also published books by Arthur Mee, Charles Darwin, H.G. Wells, Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch, Charles Lamb and others.