The first issue of The Shirburnian, March 1859.

The first issue of The Shirburnian was published 160 years ago in March 1859.

It was devised as ‘an outlet for its [the School’s] wit, and also an easy means of printing all its News, both as regards those of us who are here and those who have left’, and today remains the School’s main publication setting out the events and achievements of the past year.

The first issue was 24 pages long and comprised five poems and five articles.  It opened rather inauspiciously with a poem entitled ‘Euthanasia’ (by Old Shirburnian poet Lewis Morris) and closed with a poem entitled ‘Hope and Despair’.  It also included poems about Jack the School Raven and a Drinking Song.  The articles ranged from subjects as varied as Valentines Day to Virgil and his writings, and a report on the School’s first sports day.

Read the first issue of The Shirburnian, March 1859.

The magazine was originally produced by the boys of the School with the editor traditionally being a senior boy or sixth former.  Former editors of The Shirburnian have included Alec Waugh, Cecil Day-Lewis, Michael McCrum, Hugh Swynnerton Thomas, Stanley Johnson, Richard Eyre and Tim Heald.

In July 1980 colour covers were introduced for the first time.  One wonders what revolutions of form and style The Shirburnian will go through in the next 160 years?

Find out more about The Shirburnian and its 160 year history:

Posted 7 March 2019 by Sherborne School Archives.

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