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Abbreviations - Conventions used in the listings - Glossary - Substitute authors

Whilst this site tries to cover as much of the detail of Charles Hamilton's main school stories (as well as some other writings and the school stories of Edwy Searles Brooks); it cannot cover everything. There are a plethora of sites and resources out there. For those of you interested in things my site doesn't have room for (or I don't have time to delve into), please see my Links page for some starting points.


All of the listings pages on this site use a standard set of abbreviations to indicate:

  • Details of where an original comic has been reprinted (for example many Magnet series were reprinted in edited format in the Schoolboys Own Library, some were reprinted in the Greyfriars Holiday Annual, and most have been published in facsimile form by the Howard Baker Press).
  • Whether or not the comic is a double number (usually nearly double the number of pages at double the usual price, and often with a coloured cover picture). Double Numbers were usually published two or three times a year, in the Summer holiday and at Christmas.
  • If the main story was written by a substitute author, who that individual was.
  • In the notes columns, c.f. simply means compare and usually points you to another story (or series) with a similar theme or plot. Plain text in this column usually indicates where the story has been reprinted, with italicised text indicating comments, additional articles, free gifts, etc.

Below are the main abbreviations used. You should also see the Substitute authors details about why these subs were needed and who they were.



Reprinted in facsimile form in a Howard Baker Press Annual volume (published at regular intervals from 1972 to 1986)


Reprinted by Armada paperbacks (who reprinted some Schoolboys Own Library volumes, and some Bunter Books in paperback format between 1965-1972)


Reprinted in facsimile form in a Howard Baker Press Magnet volume (1969-1986) or Gem volume (1971-1985).


The Boys Friend was a weekly story paper for boys published by the Amalgamated Press from 1895 to c. 1927 in two series. It published original stories of Rookwood by Owen Conquest from 1915-1926.


The Boys Friend Library was a monthly story paper that reprinted earlier Boys Friend serial stories in complete format. The first series (1907-1925) was originally priced 3d., with 3 or 4 volumes appearing monthly, and included a small number of original stories as well as reprinting many of the serial stories that ran in the end pages of the Magnet and Gem. The second series (1925-1940) was priced at 4d and continued to reprint in edited format stories that had appeared earlier in serial format in the Boys Friend, The Magnet and other Amalgamated Press story papers. As with all other story papers, the number of pages fluctuated during the first and second World Wars, due to paper shortages.


Boy's Herald appears to have incorporated the second series of the Greyfriars Herald at some point prior to its folding in 1921.


Boy’s Magazine


Boys' Realm was a weekly story paper which ran Edwy Searles Brooks' St. Frank's stories for a period.


Greyfriars Book Club Edition. A series of numbered, limited editions of facsimile Magnets, Gems and other boys story papers published between 1975-1990 by the Howard Baker Press. Volumes contained 8-12 facsimiles of original papers, bound in a green leather effect finish and came in a slip case. Collectors were expected to sign an intent form, and would then be posted a new Book Club volume once every two months, with an invoice. Print runs were never more than 500 individually numbered copies, though the last volumes were down to 200 copies (with some additional Magnet facsimiles sold individually).


The Comet [1950-1958] was started up by J B Allen, and was subsequently taken over by the Amalgamated Press. Initially, The Comet reprinted a few early Magnet stories [85-96], until Frank Richards began supplying original stories [97-135]. After a gap, they then produced a series of picture stories, initially derivative [186-240], and then later by C H Chapman based on original Magnet stories again [407-518].


Film Fun. A long running comic published by the Amalgamated Press that ran from 1920 to 1962. It consisted mainly of comic strip stories featuring a range of famous film stars, mainly comedy stars such as Harold Lloyd and Laurel & Hardy, and Westerns. It also ran serial stories, sometimes tied into current film plots or Saturday morning picture serials.


The Gem


The Greyfriars’ Herald was originally published as a separate paper, following a readers’ poll in the Magnet, and was deemed to be the work of the Remove at Greyfriars. A school paper first featured in stories in M 158-159 [cf. G 1/32-34 reprinted as G 1244-1246], and was later launched as the Herald in M 296, M 306 [reprinted GHA 1925], M 612 and M 841. It was accompanied by the launch at the same time of Tom Merry’s Weekly, which failed to stay the course, and ended up appearing in the Gem.

The first series ran for 18 issues from 20.11.1915 - 18.3.1916 and was discontinued due to World War I paper shortages. It was revived on 24.10.1919, and ran for a further 69 issues before folding. It featured, amongst other things, spoof stories of Herlock Sholmes by Peter Todd [Frank Richards] and stories of Jack Drake aboard the Benbow, as well as offering weekly prizes of a tuck hamper. Issues 2/3 and 2/9 were reprinted in B41. The Jack Drake/Benbow stories were reprinted in the Gem from issue 1557 onwards.

The Herald was revived, initially as a four page centrepiece of the Magnet from M 673 to c. M 933, each issue being a Special Supplement devoted to a particular topic. It was replaced by Harry Wharton’s Cricket & Football Supplements.

The Second series ran from M 1169 to M 1268, and was initially tied in to the current Greyfriars storyline, the first few issues for example concentrating on the Brander rebellion [M 1169-1174].

The Third series started up in M 1285 and ran to the end of the Magnet in 1940. Issues 99 onwards featured a short St. Sam’s story by Dicky Nugent [GRS] as well as various Greyfriars news items. The St. Sam’s stories in M 1044-1047 concerned the setting up of a school paper at St. Sam’s along the lines of the Greyfriars’ Herald.


Greyfriars' Holiday Annual


Look & Learn was long running children's weekly comic that combined features on history, science, geography, etc. with a variety of more light-hearted entertainment articles. In 1963 the editor decided to trial reprinting Greyfriars stories, but the experiment was not a success and dropped after a few issues.


The Magnet


Best of the Magnet and Gem


Modern Boy


Martin Clifford


The Monster Library was published monthly from November 1925 to May 1927, and reprinted in edited form St. Frank's series that had previously appeared in the first series of the Nelson Lee Library.


Museum Press


Merlin paperbacks


Howard Baker Nelson Lee edition


The Nelson Lee Library


Owen Conquest


Collector's Pie of Magnet & Gem


The Pilot




The [Penny] Popular


The Ranger


School and Sport


The Silver Jacket


Schoolgirls' Own


Schoolboys' Own Library or Schoolgirls' Own Library.


Sexton Blake Library


Schoolboys’ Pocket Library (1941)

In addition, I've tried to be consistent with a number of conventions in the listings. All listings follow the same basic format (from left to right across the page):

  • Issue number or volume of the publication (or page numbers for the Greyfriars Holiday Annuals)
  • Title of the main story (i.e. the Greyfriars, St. Jim's etc. story title as printed in the paper). If the story is by a substitute author, the initials will be in square brackets immediately after the story title, eg. [CMD]. If the paper is a double number, this will be indicated in bold immediately after the story title, ie. DN.
  • Brief details (where known) of the main character featured or introduced, plot point or series description.
  • Details of where the story has been reprinted (Howard Baker Press volume, Schoolboys Own Library, etc.) These details should link to the relevant publication, but adding all the links is a big piece of work, so it's still "in progress" at the moment.
  • Other relevant details (usually other features/articles in that week's paper or points of comparison to other stories/characters/themes)
  • Where one or more issues of a paper contains a series of linked stories, these are separated from preceding and following issues by white space.

 I will also be adding more information about plot themes, main characters and locations as time goes on, so story details will in due course contain live links.


Conventions used in the listings

I've followed a few basic conventions in the listings:

  • Each entry follows the same format: Title (in bold capitals), source (e.g. M 188 means Magnet number 188), year of publication, sub author, where reprinted (in italics), and then in some cases a synopsis of the story and/or links to similar stories or themes (so cf. means compare with a similar plot, theme, etc.)
  • If a story title starts with A, An or The, this has been ignored. So "The Story Title" will be found under "Story Title, The",
  • Story titles that start with symbols or numbers are found as if the symbol or number has been spelt out in full, so "13" will be found under T for "Thirteen", and £100 will be found under "One Hundred Pounds",
  • Other abbreviated words in the title have been treated as if they are spelt out in full - so St. is treated as Saint and Mr. is treated as Mister,
  • Words ending 's are treated as part of the word - so Boy's would come after Boy, but before Boys',
  • Where two or more titles are exactly the same, the title published earlier appears first.
  • Note that "reprinted" means the story was later printed in another periodical (e.g. NLL 1/299 reprinted SOL 330 means Nelson Lee Library first series number 299 was later reprinted in Schoolboys Own Library number 330), whereas "reprinted from" means the story originally appeared in an earlier publication.

I've also assumed that stories are by the following authors:

  • stories about Greyfriars (in the Magnet and elsewhere) are by Charles Hamilton writing under the pseudonym Frank Richards,
  • stories about Rookwood are by Charles Hamilton writing under the pseudonym Owen Conquest,
  • stories about St. Frank's school / Nelson Lee are by Edwy Searles Brooks,
  • stories about St. Jim's are by Charles Hamilton writing under the pseudonym Martin Clifford, although the post 1940 St. Jim's novels published by Spring books were by-lined Frank Richards (presumably to cash in on the success of the Bunter books and better name recognition).

This means that any stories written by substitute authors are indicated (e.g. G 649 by GRS means Gem number 649 written by George Richmond Samways). Having said that, the character of Nelson Lee was created by Maxwell Scott, although Edwy Searles Brooks was known as the most famous author of Nelson Lee and St. Frank's stories, so on one level it's probably not fair to classify Maxwell Scott as a sub author. For a complete list of substitute authors, please see the Substitute authors details. Note that when a sub author contributed a story, it was always published under the by-line of the main author (i.e. Magnet stories by substitute authors were always published as written by Frank Richards).


There is an awful lot of peculiar slang, Latin tags and old fashioned language in the fiction of Charles Hamilton. Much of it is used to help create and support the atmosphere of a public school (many British public schools did have and still do have some bizarre and sometimes unique slang). Below you will find some of the most common words and phrases.



Pupils often use beak to refer to a master or teacher at any one of the Public Schools Charles Hamilton created.


A generalised epithet, often used by Billy Bunter when a fellow pupil or master doesn't let him do what he wants.

Black sheep

Charles Hamilton frowned upon gambling, smoking and similar activities. Those "shady" characters who indulged were often characterised as black sheep.


A synonym for "nut" or even "gay dog". The schoolboys who smoked, gambled and (in some cases) drank alcohol often described themselves in these terms, seeing themselves as superior to their more law abiding colleagues.


Most often applied to Herbert Vernon-Smith, a pupil in the Remove at Greyfriars. A bounder was not merely a character who broke school rules (such as the prohibitions against smoking and gambling), but also offended the schoolboys' own code of honour and often took delight in defying authority.


Pupils at Greyfriars, St. Jims, et al were often restricted to school premises during the school day. After school pupils were allowed further afield, but often only a certain distance from the school (e.g.. to the local village or town). Similarly at night, pupils were expected to stay in their dormitories (with the exception of fire alarms and air raids). Certain dingy local establishments (in particular local pubs, which seemed to be populated with bookmakers) were also strictly forbidden. These restrictions were referred to as "bounds", so a character who went outside these geographical limits was breaking bounds (against the school rules and liable for punishment if discovered).


A cad was a pupil (or occasionally a resident in the locality of the school) who breached the schoolboy code of honour. It might be simply breaking rules prohibiting smoking, gambling, etc., but more often involved lying, trying to set others up to take the blame for something, encouraging others to break the rules and possibly committing criminal acts (such as forging another pupil's handwriting).


Most public schools taught Latin and Greek. Standard language lessons often involved translating the original Latin text into English (called construing), which meant preparing a set text beforehand with the use of a Latin or Greek dictionary. A crib simply gave you a complete English translation without the hard work, and cribs were therefore forbidden. In the Rookwood story "Lovell's Wonderful Wheeze" (BF 1138 of 1923), Lovell invented a miniature crib that pupils could take into the classroom and refer to without their teacher's knowledge when they were called on to construe. Needless to say it failed to achieve its objective.


Mash could be used as a verb or a noun (Masher), and meant to pay unwanted attention (usually a boy trying to presume upon a friendly relationship with a girl). The Masher was often offensive in his manner, assuming that disinterest on the girl's part was coyness rather than dislike, and would boast of his attraction to the fair sex.


See Blade


The Remove was in fact the Lower Fourth form at Greyfriars School. In English schools back then the youngest pupils started life at school in the First Form (or Second form in some cases) at the age of 11, and progressed through the school, moving up a form each academic year (September to the following August). Eventually after several years and assuming the right passes were received in exams, the pupil would finish the Sixth Form and move onto employment or university. In all Charles Hamilton's schools the pupils were as if caught in aspic and remained forever 14-15 years old.


To receive the sack was to be expelled from school by the Headmaster for a serious offence, such as persistent gambling or rule breaking, theft, assault on a master or prefect. In such cases, if it was a central character about to be sacked, they could always reverse the sentence by saving someone's life or demonstrating their innocence of the offence.


As a verb, sacking (or shipping) meant to rag. For example, sacking a study meant that one or more pupils had overturned the furniture, emptied the cupboards, possibly broken crockery and spoilt food; so that the occupant had a significant piece of work ahead to make the study habitable again.


Used as a verb to describe someone who tells tales. The schoolboy code of honour forbids sneaking to masters, with the use of peer pressure to encourage wrong doers to own up (usually to save an innocent party from punishment). It is also used as a noun to indicate someone (usually a "cad") who tells tales to authority, even when the rule breaking is potentially harmless (such as a midnight feast in the dormitory)


As a verb spoof means to fool someone (or several people). It often involved an elaborate practical joke, conjuring trick or a skilled schoolboy actor impersonating someone in order to take a rise out of the target. It was generally a good-natured act rather than spiteful or malicious; and if school rules were broken this was only for the spoof to work.


An exclamation most commonly uttered by characters (particularly Billy Bunter) as an expression of pain (for instance on being caned or bumped).

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