Themes through the years
Themes through the years | Brownies | Charities/links | Choir | Church hall | Church plate and textiles | Churchyard | Clergy - Curates | Clergy - Vicars | Clock and bells | Groups | Guides | Finance | Magazine | Mission, witness, outreach | Music | Organ | Organist | Our church in the community | Parochial Church Council | Pilgrimages | Scouts | Services | Social Life | Stained glass windows | St James's Ark | St James's building | St James's Church schools | St James's Day | St James's Players | Sunday School | Tower and spire | Vestry | Vicarage | West porch
The parish magazine through the years
The Hampton Hill Parish Magazine was launched in November 1884. The first editorial stated: "Its design is to place on record the various little events of parochial life, which are especially interesting to those who have taken part in them, or have been otherwise connected with them; to give statistics and financial statements of the various institutions of the parish; to give notice of the services of the Church, and of any parochial events which are to take place; and to give the Vicar an opportunity of communicating with his parishioners as occasion may require". These original aims have not changed very much over the years. However, the way in which they are achieved has changed a great deal with the times and will of course continue to do so. Read the article The First Hampton Hill Parish Magazine.
From 1884 the magazines were small with people having to buy their copy and with the costs steadily increasing. Read the article Our Parish Magazine. However, one of the achievements of the Christian Stewardship Campaign was that plans were made in 1962 for the free distribution of the Spire magazine "to all who are sufficiently interested to ask for it".
Until January 1931 the magazines are preserved bound together as hard-backed books, one or two years in a book. Parish material was published in association with a nationally produced inset, 'The Church Monthly'. All the early magazines, from November 1884, contained the offertories, extracts from parish registers, church accounts, individually titled articles and the Church Calendar showing the services, meetings and activities for that month. Most of them also contained school reports and church accounts. Hymns for the month were added later and lists of subscriptions and the number of District Nurse visits were included periodically.
The magazine underwent a change in January 1894, becoming larger and with most of it being a letter from the vicar to his parishioners, always beginning with "My Dear Friends" and ending with "I am, my dear friends, Yours very sincerely, CHARLES R. JOB". Included in these letters was information on all the meetings and activities that were happening that month. From the early 1920s there were certain regular items included in every magazine: a letter from the vicar, the intercessions, parish news including details of services and preachers, accounts, donations, subscription lists, church music and sections called "IMPORTANT" and "PARISH WANTS". A children's section was introduced. Read the article Children's Column. From September 1923 adverts appeared for local firms as headers and footers on some pages and adverts of some kind or another continued until 2006.
The magazine covers did not change very often until around 2010 when a different cover picture was used each month to go with the church's calendar or the centre article.
January 1952 saw the introduction of 'The Spire', replacing the old Hampton Hill Parish Magazine, which had a new look and a wider range of material fluctuating over the years. Read the article Introducing the Spire. In 1956 a special section was introduced called 'Around the Spire' which communicated, and still is communicating, things going on in and around the parish. Read about the magazine in the fifties on the page Our Magazine.
In 1962 an editorial team was formed to produce the magazine as it had been the vicar's responsibility up to then. Read the article Plans for the Magazine. From 1983 a few simple images, but no photographs, were occasionally added within the magazine. Read about the magazine one hundred years after it had started in the article A Hundred Years of the Parish Magazine.
Starting in June 1995 the magazine committee introduced an article series, each to run for a year, beginning with 'Interesting Jobs' and continuing with such titles as 'Saints', 'That made a difference', 'My Work', 'Exploring Hampton Hill High Street', etc.
Read the full history of this period of the magazine's history on the page The parish magazine from 1884 until 2000.
The magazine from 2000
A Spire survey was held in April 2007, resulting in many positive comments with the feedback being used to plan content for future issues. Photocopying the Spire to make 600-700 copies per month proved to be too much for the office photocopier. It frequently gave up the ghost or just churned up the paper, clogging the machine. The quality of the print was also poor and financially it became a burden, so the committee decided to continue producing it 'in-house' as before but have it professionally printed.
When the first of these magazines, with full colour on both the front and back pages, was published in October 2008 a number of other changes occurred at the same time. All the information about the church, the services, clergy, churchwardens, dates, contacts, credits, printing, and the 'Welcome' were collected together on the second page, after the cover. A new 'In Thought and Prayer' ran alongside the Leader on page three. The 'News Bulletin' together with the registers and 'Around the Spire' were located either side or the centre article, 'Cover Story', on pages four and five. A large full-page image to go with this was featured on the front cover. The 'Young Spire', as the children's page had already been named, was on page six and there were various changing themed articles on the other pages.
Every year, three issues each contained two months: December/January, the two months at Lent/Easter and August/September. These issues were produced in full colour throughout.
Soon after 2000 the Spire had been regularly uploaded onto the church's new website and between 2010 and 2013 every single extant issue of the magazine was scanned and uploaded so that by the anniversary year these were available to anybody at any time. The link to every new edition was also emailed to the mailing list of people who wanted to know when it was uploaded each month.
The magazine continued steadily changing and evolving into something new and with even greater appeal to the parish as a whole. "We want anyone, of any belief, who respects our church, to feel welcome within it and to understand what we are trying to do. Beyond the facts about groups and people, we hope our articles and features say something about how our faith influences our lives. We hope that they show also that we are a broad church with room for everyone who is seeking new or further understanding of themselves and the world around us." It continued to inform anyone who read it about the church services and activities linked to the church, and also the clergy and parishioners who held positions of responsibility within it. It was hoped that a newcomer to the parish could get an immediate idea of the many groups and activities, and how to access them, from the magazine.
The distribution of the Spire was reviewed in 2010 and as a result more copies were placed in the High Street, at the Post Office, library, Medical Centre and dentist with the response being "outreach at its best". The Spire Committee received some good news from the printer, Justin Hollingsworth, in March 2011 that a new copier meant he could produce all nine yearly issues of the Spire in full colour at no extra cost. It had long been the ambition of St. James's to produce all copies in full colour, but previously it had not been affordable. The full colour copies were, and still are, very popular, as they continue to the present day.
The 150th anniversary year in 2013, and the previous year, were extremely busy times for the Spire Committee. In addition to the regular monthly issues they produced a packed Anniversary Edition which included pages on Vicars, Baptisms and Weddings, History, The Churchyard, Supporting Charities, Inside the Church, Sunday School, Young People, Music, Churchwardens and Curates, Past Events, Memories and The Magazine and Website.
From then on the Magazine Committee, meeting every month, continued
its hard work in making sure the magazine developed further with interesting
topical articles and photographs, and continuing with the practice
of matching the cover picture to the church seasonal calendar or the
centre article each month.
The Parish Church of St James, Hampton Hill, TW12 1DQ
Main site: stjames-hamptonhill.org.uk