DISCLAIMER:
The information contained herein is accurate to the best of my knowledge. I have endeavoured to protect copyrights in as much that only small portions of information have been reproduced (enough to perhaps just whet ones appetite). In the event that I have infringed copyright, then I apologise unreservedly, and upon receiving advice from the copyright holder, I will immediately remove the offending material.

*** Last updated 01 Janurary 2015 ***

My name is Tony Hiam, and I have produced this site in an attempt to keep the Billy Bunter stories alive, and also to acknowledge the tremendous work of Frank Richards (real name Charles Hamilton). This site is dedicated to all the followers of The Magnet and Billy Bunter. I have endeavoured to provide some of the more interesting (to me at least) facts and figures relating to The Magnet, Frank Richards, and the schoolboys of Greyfriars School. In addition I have also added a few light-hearted fun items... Just for the fun of it! Should you find any errors on these pages, please let me know so I can correct it.

The direct access URL to bookmark is http://billybunter.comuf.com/greyfriars.htm







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The very start of it all:
It all started way back in 1899!

Frank Richards had to see an editor, and took along several sketches. A sketch of Billy Bunter was amongst them. The editor chose something else, and Billy Bunter was put on hold for eight years.

Then, in 1908, the editor of The Magnet called Frank Richards into his office, and invited Frank Richards to write for a new boys paper. Billy Bunter was inserted into the story as a minor character, and things took off from there. Billy Bunter was reborn!





Will the real "Frank Richards" please stand up:

The "Frank Richards" that I refer to is a pen name for "Charles Hamilton". However, substitute writers were used from time to time to write Billy Bunter stories in The Magnet. These substitute writers also used the name "Frank Richards". So, as you read your copy of The Magnet (always by "Frank Richards"), you may in fact be reading a story penned by a substitute writer. So that you know whether you are reading the genuine article, or a story penned by a substitute writer, here is a list of Magnet issues believed to have been written by substitute writers

I have made the list easy to cross reference writer to Magnet issue or Magnet issue to writer.

Press the button to open the list.


About The Magnet and Frank Richards:

The Magnet (launched by The Amalgamated Press) was published over a 32 year period between 1908 and 1940. The main, but not the exclusive writer, was Frank Richards, which was a pen name for Charles Harold St John Hamilton.

The very first issue of The Magnet (The Making of Harry Wharton) was published on Saturday February 15 1908 and the final published issue (The Shadow of the Sack) was published 18 May 1940. Of the 1683 issues of The Magnet, Frank Richards wrote around 1380 of them, with fill in writers writing the remainder. The stories in the Magnet were often spread over several issues, but it was not unusual to have a single issue of the Magnet contain a complete story. Some stories were edited and reprinted in paperback form in the 1970's. Sadly, The Second World War saw an end to The Magnet due to paper shortages. Frank Richards had written and submitted a further four stories for the Magnet (The Battle of the Beaks, Bandy Bunter, What Happened to Hacker, & The Hidden Hand), however, these four stories have been lost with the closure of The Magnet. Part of one further story does survive, as it was not actually sent to The Magnet offices with the previous four issues (presumably because it had not been completed). This very last issue intended for publication in The Magnet, incomplete as it is, would have been issue 1688 of The Magnet. The story continues the drama between Mr. Hacker, Master of the Shell, and Harry Wharton, which started with issue 1683. (The Shadow of the Sack)

After the Magnet ceased publication, Frank Richards continued to write Billy Bunter stories, and these were published in paperback or hardback, initially by Charles Skilton, then Cassells. (See the section "Frank Richards after The Magnet" for more information). There were also comic stories and a TV series. Omnibus volumes of the Magnet were reprinted by Howard Baker from 1969 to 1991. He published 100 standard volumes, 93 special collector volumes as well as several holiday annuals. ( As well as omnibus volumes of "The Gem"). Each volume typically had 7 to 10 faithful facsimile reprints of the original Magnet in a hard cover. The Collector volumes also came with a slipcase. When he died in Feb 1991, he was within 200 issues of reprinting the entire run of Magnets. Other publishers include Quiller Press Ltd ( re-issued and re-illistrated. Edited by Kay King), The Comet (taken over by Amalgamated Press, revived Greyfriar's on a weekly basis), Armada Books, Mandeville Publications ( Billy Bunters Own Annual No.s 1 to 3), Oxenhoath Press ( Billy Bunter Own Annual No.s 4 to 8), Bristol Evening World, Merlin Books, and Museum Press.

Magnet issues fall into the following "eras", as determined by the covers.
[Examples from each era are shown below]

Issues 1 to 396 RED (1908 to 1915)
Issues 397 to 769 BLUE & WHITE (1915 to 1922)
Issues 770 to 1552 ORANGE / YELLOW & BLUE (1922 to 1937)
Issues 1553 to 1683 SALMON (1937 to 1940)


So just where is Greyfriars school?

Greyfriars School is located in the county of Kent (The south eastern corner of England). Not too surprisingly, the county of Kent also just happens to be where Frank Richards home was located!

Nearby, are the schools of Highcliffe, Courtfield County Council School, & Cliff House. A little further afield, but not on this map are the schools of Rookwood, & St Jims.


Bookmark of Greyfriars Locality



 Map of Greyfriars Locality as supplied with Magnet issue 1672


Above is another map, presented in Magnet number 1672, of Greyfriars locality.
The text associated with it was...

THE MAP YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR!
The innumerable requests that have been received from time to time from Magnet readers for
the publication of a map which will show the lie of the land around Greyfriars school, will be
satisfied at last! A clever artist who is also a keen reader of the MAGNET, was induced to
take on the task of producing such a map. From his own intimate acquaintance with hundreds
of Mr. Frank Richards' stories, and aided by data supplied by ourselves, he produced this detailed
plan, which I think you will agree, is a very fine piece of work, and one which will repay very
careful study on your part. Frank Richards' own comment is : "This map is astonishingly like
my own idea of the vicinity of Greyfriars School." - Your Editor

KEEP IT FOR YOUR REFERENCE!


There is also an alternative view of the Greyfriars Locality, that you can see in detail by clicking this button.



This map (drawn around 1967) seems to have been based on a drawing that appeared in 1915, in Magnet Number 409. That original 1915 drawing was reportedly done by H. W. Twyman, then an office boy on the Companion papers, who later rose to become editor of Union Jack and Detective Weekly.

As you can see, the three maps don't quite agree as to the correct layout of things around Greyfriars. It is my belief that the first map is the more accurate.

You will just have to make up your own mind as to which map, you think, is more accurate!




How is Greyfriars school laid out?

The following map of the school is an enlarged version of the insert on the locality map.



Floor Plans

The above plans are the floor layout of the main school building. I have modified the original drawings by naming each room on the map rather than having to look each room up by number index as on the original drawings. Press the button for details.


Familiar scenes to every boy in the school. Press the button to see a few pictures taken around the school.



A Little on the history of Greyfriars

As written by the headmaster, The Rev. Herbert Henry Locke, D.D.



PLEASANTLY situated near the south coast of Kent, the Monastery of Greyfriars ranked among the finest of the day.

Through Henry VIII's order of the "Closing of the Monasteries," this fine building was shut down. The monks, or friars, hid themselves for a time in the crypt, and lived in the vaults between the priory and the chapel. These were in a good state of repair in those days.

But somebody, for a large reward offered by the King, betrayed the monks, and brought them up before Henry, who told the friars they would be allowed to go free if they revealed the whereabouts of the far-famed Grey Friars' treasure. But the brave old friars would not say a word, so the King had them all executed. Henry afterwards organised many search parties, but the friars had hidden the treasure securely. To this day it has not been found.

For many years after that the monastery was allowed to go to decay. In 1551, Edward VI restored it and opened it as a school for poor, but studious boys, whose parents could not afford to have them educated. This prospered slowly until the reign of Charles II, when a newly-erected wing and two-thirds of the original building were burnt to the ground.

Fifty years later a good college was built for gentlemen's sons. In 1716, Greyfriars, as it now stands, was started on the career it has achieved today. The only reminders we have of olden days are now in complete ruin.

There is the wonderful old priory, with its vaults and subterranean tunnel (see Magnet issues 1354 to 1358 The Kidnapped Schoolboys Jan / Feb 1934) , leading to the crypt, beneath the ruined chapel in the cloisters. East of the cloisters there is the curious, old, ivy-covered tower surrounded by a mass of fallen pillars of masonry. This, and the shady grass-covered land around, is all that is left of the famous old monastery of the first Grey Friars.



Greyfriars School "Today"

GREYFRIARS SCHOOL

Friardale, Kent, England.


Telephone: 125 Friardale. Telegrams: "Friars, Courtfield"

THE STAFF.

Headmaster:

Herbert H, Locke, M.A. (Sixth form Master)
Assistant Masters:

Paul Prout M.A. (Fifth Form Master)
Horace Manfred Hacker (Shell Form Master)
Algernon Jasper Capper B.A. (Upper Forth Form Master)
Horace Henry Samuel Quelch M.A. (Lower Fourth Form Master)
Eusebius Twigg B.A. B.Sc. (Third Form Form Master
Ernest Blaine M.A. (Previous Third Form Form Master - Currently in the Army)
Bernard Morrison Twigg B.A. (Second Form Form Master, & brother of Eusebius Twigg)
Lawrence Lascelles B.Sc. (Maths Master)
Henri Charpentier (French Master)
Otto Gans (German Master)
E. Mordaunt Price, M.A.
Gardener:

Joseph Mimble.
Porter:

William Gosling.
Head Cook:

Mrs Kebble.
Page-boy:

Fred Trotter.
School Tuckshop:

Jessie Mimble (proprietress & Wife to Joseph Mimble).

GREYFRIARS SCHOOL.


(Founded by the Ancient Order of Grey Friars, A.D. 1472)
Pleasantly situated near the coast of Kent, Greyfriars is one of the best known of our great public schools. It has accommodation for 250 scholars, the fees being £80 per annum (exclusive of special tuition) Admission may also be gained by scholarship.
The school is divided into Forms in the usual way under the captaincy of George Wingate who is assisted by a staff of competent prefects. Each Form has its cricket and football elevens, matches taking place during the season with other public schools of the country.
There are two large Museums, one for Natural History and one for Art. The school is amply furnished with racquets courts (hard and soft ball), fives courts, gymnasium, sanatorium, and other buildings.
The River Sark, which flows through Friardale, is greatly used by the Greyfriars boys for boating and bathing purposes.
The management of the school affairs is vested in a Committee of Governors, who meet at the Carlton Hotel on the first Wednesday of each month. The present members of the Board include Colonel James Wharton, Sir Bevan Snooke, the Honourable Archie Chalmers, Peter Purkiss. Esq., J.P., the Reverend B. Lamb, D.D., and the Headmaster.

School colours: Blue and White


SCHOOL ROUTINE.
(Subject to Alterations.)

7.00 a.m. Rising-bell
7.45 a.m. Chapel
8.15 a.m. Breakfast
9.00 a.m. to 12 noon: Morning School
1.00 p.m. Dinner
2.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m.Afternoon School (with the exception of Wednesdays and Saturdays)
4.00 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. Recreation, Tea (either in studies or Big Hall)
6.30 p.m. Calling Over
6.45 p.m. to 8.00 p.m. Preparation
8.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m. Recreation (juniors)
8.00 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. Recreation (seniors)

N.B.Passes out of gates are given on application to, and at the discretion of, any master or prefect.Failure to observe the times and regulations stipulated above will be reported to the Form-master of the delinquent, or, in exceptional cases, to the Headmaster.



Greyfriars Who's Who


The following list serves to as a Who's Who of the main characters that regularly appear within The Magnet. It is by no means a complete list of characters. Character personalities developed over time. These were the character's personalities during the earlier period of The Magnet - as at 1917. Some character personalities (like Hilton and Price) had yet to develop!

Hover your mouse over a name to see details.


GREYFRIARS SCHOOL

Headmaster:
The REV. HERBERT HENRY LOCKE D.D.
There is no division between houses at Greyfriars, though in the event of any further considerable increase to the numbers, a new house would no doubt have to be established.

SIXTH FORM

Form Master:
DR LOCKE, D.D.

WINGATE, George Bernard CARNE, Arthur Woodhead
COKER, Reginald COURTNEY, Arthur Evans
FAULKNER, Lawrence GWYNNE, Patric
HAMMERSLEY, Vincent LODER, Gerald Assheton
NORTH, Tom VALENCE, Rupert Wingfield
WALKER, James

(Average age of the Form, about 17. There is considerable variation. Coker Minor is only 16, Loder and others are at least 18.)

FIFTH FORM

Form Master:
PAUL PONTIFEX PROUT, M.A.

BLUNDELL, George BLAND, Bertrum
COKER, Horace James FITZGERALD, Terence
GREENE, William Freedrick HILTON, Cedric
POTTER, George PRICE, Steven
SMITH, Edward William TOMLINSON, Thomas Trotter

(The ages of the fellows in the fifth would from a trifle over 15 to 17. Boys are not put into Forms on their age, but in general-there may be a few exceptions - in accordance with their scholastic attainments - or lack of them)


SHELL

Form Master:
HORACE MANFRED HACKER B.A.

HOBSON, James CARR, Albert
CHOWNE, Cholmondeley HOSKINS, Claude
MILES, Samuel RAYNER, Neil
STEWART, Edward

(Average age, a trifle lower than that of the fifth, but range of age scarcely less wide. The are for instance, a number of fellows in the fifth younger than Hobson, while there are a few in the Shell no older than some of those in the Upper Fourth or Remove)

UPPER FOURTH FORM

Form Master:
ALGERNON JASPER CAPPER M.A.

TEMPLE, Cecil Reginald DABNEY, William Walter
FRY, Edward MACDOUGLE, Ronald
MURPHY, Shamus SCOTT, James Kennith
TOMLINSON, Teddy

(Not much difference in age between Upper and Lower Fourth)

REMOVE (LOWER FORTH FORM)

Form Master:
HORACE HENRY SAMUEL QUELCH M.A.

WHARTON, Harry BOLSOVER, Percy
BROWN, Tom BULL, John, Junior
BULSTRODE, George BUNTER, William George
CHERRY, Robert DELAREY, Piet
DESMOND, Michael DUTTON, Thomas
ELLIOTT, Ninian FIELD, Sampson Quincy Iffley
FISH, Fisher Tarleton GLENN, Charles George
HAZELDENE, Peter KIPPS, Oliver
LINLEY, Mark MAULEVERER, The Earl
MORGAN, David NEWLAND, Montague
NUGENT, Frank OGILVY, Robert Donald
PENFOLD, Richard RAKE, Richard
RUSSELL, Richard SINGH, Hurree Jamset Ram
SKINNER, Harold SMITH, Robert Fortescue
SNOOP, Sidney James STOTT, William
TODD, Alonzo Theophilus TODD, Peter
TRELUCE, Anthony TREVOR, Herbert Beauchamp
VERNON-SMITH, Herbert: VIVIAN, Sir James, Bart
WIBLEY, William WUN LUNG

(The average age of the Remove is about 15. There is variation to the extent of well over a year, however.)


THIRD FORM

Form Master:
EUSEBIUS TWIGG B.A.


(Mr Earnest Blaine who was formally master of the Third is now in the army)
BOLSOVER, Hubert BOLTER, Oliver
LUNN, Harold O'ROURKE, Tom
PAGET, Percival Spencer TUBB, George
WINGATE, Jack

(There is a widish variation in age in the Third. Some of the older boys are 14; some of the younger ones are only about 12. This is not a complete list - only the Remove is accorded the honour of mention right through the roll-call.)


SECOND FORM

Form Master:
BERNARD MORRISON TWIGG B.A. -
(Brother of Third Form's master)

BUNTER, Samuel Tuckless CASTLE, Thomas
GATTY, George Adalbert HOP HI
MYERS, Edwin NUGENT, Richard
SYLVESTER, Roderick

(The ages of the Second range from 10˝ or thereabouts to a little over 12)


FIRST FORM

The First Form is rarely mentioned. In The Red Magnet era , a First Form at Greyfriars did most definitely exist. It is mentioned on several occasions and even gives a character , Smith Minimus of that form in one story.
The Greyfriars Herald from 30 Jan 1932 had this to say about the First Form at Greyfriars...

From time immemorial there has been no First Form at Greyfriars. Recently, however, persistent rumours have been going around to the effect that a First Form is to be created next term.
Our special commissioner has been touring the school trying to find out whether these rumours have any foundation. He sends us the following report:
To a trained and observant eye there are many indications of the early appearance of a new First Form.
In the school tuck-shop for instance, feeding bottles and rattles have appeared in the window. This looks ominous.
A mysterious lady who visited Greyfriars the other day informed Gosling that she was going to be a form mistress here shortly. Her name is nurse Bullwinkle, and her picture will be familiar to thousands of our readers in the illustrated advertisements for Mother Mugwump's Teething Mixture.
Play-pens, un-tearable rag books, and alphabetical bricks have been arriving by local carrier in large quantities.
The Third and Second Forms are being instructed in cradle rocking.
[Look here Special Commissioner, we're not suspicious, but we feel a sort of doubt about the exact truth of all this; perhaps we had better look into it ourselves before we print the rest -Ed].


There are many other regular characters that appear from time to time in the Magnet etc. These include characters from nearby schools. Click the button to find out more about them.



The very first Magnet issue:
Illustrated are the cover and first page from this 1908 Volume 1 Number 1 issue of The Magnet


Selling for ˝d, the first issue of The Magnet introduces Harry Wharton, and Frank Nugent in (The Making of Harry Wharton). Their first meeting started off with a fight on the way to Greyfriars School. This was followed by Wharton saving Nugent who falls into the River Sark just as they arrive at Greyfriars school.

The story continues as Nugent tries in vain to befriend Wharton, after Wharton saves him from the drowning. Wharton however is determined to hate Greyfriars and everyone there. In a fight with Bulstrode, Wharton brakes Bulstrode's camera, and refused to pay for it. A form disciplinary trial finds Wharton guilty and he is ordered to pay for the camera. He tries to run away, only to be stopped by Nugent outside the school gates at night. Wharton shakes Nugent's hand away a walks into the night... only to be struck down by a tramp. Nugent runs to his aid, and is himself struck unconscious by the tramp who then runs off. Wharton tends to Nugent's wounds and they become friends, with Wharton helping Nugent back to the school. "Friends now for life".

Characters introduced in this issue include Harry Wharton, Nugent, Bulstrode (captain of the form), and of course Billy Bunter himself. In the first issues Billy Bunter took a tame position, his character had yet to develop into the main character.


 

And for those of you curious to see how it all started, here is beginning part of the very first chapter of The Magnet, Volume 1 Number 1.
(Titled "The Making of Harry Wharton")



THE MAKING OF HARRY WHARTON

THE FIRST CHAPTER.

Sent to Scbool.


"Send Master Harry to me!"
Colonel Wharton filled his glass from the decanter, held it up to the light, and then slowly sipped the contents, a dark shade of thought upon his bronzed face the while.
The colonel had dined, and he was alone now in the old, dark, oak-panelled dining-room at Wharton Lodge. A bronzed, grim-visaged old soldier was the colonel, but under the rugged exterior a kindly heart beat.
The door of the dining-room opened, and the colonel set down his glass, only half emptied , and compressed his lips slightly as he looked at the boy who came into the room.
A handsome, well-built lad, finely-formed, strong and active. Handsome indeed was the face, with its well-marked features and large, dark eyes. But there was a cloud upon it, a cloud that seemed habitual there, and in the dark eyes was a glint of suspicion and defiance. The whole manner of the boy was one of suppressed hostility, and the colonel realised it keenly enough without words being spoken.
"You sent for me, uncle."
In the tones of Harry Wharton, too, was a half-hidden hostility and defiance, as if he knew that he had not been sent for in a friendly spirit, and was ready to meet anger with anger.
"Yes, Harry." Colonel Wharton's voice was very mild.
Sit down, my boy. I want to speak to you."
Harry Wharton did not move. The colonel raised his eyebrows.
"Sit down, Harry."
I suppose you are not going to keep me long," said the boy doggedly. "I want to go out on my pony before dark-"
The colonel half rose from his seat, a flush of anger darkening his cheek.
"Sit down!" he thundered.
For a moment it looked as if the order would be disobeyed, but there was something in the colonel's face that impelled obedience. Harry Wharton slowly moved to a chair and sat down, but the sullen cloud was darkening on his brow.
"Now, Harry," said the colonel, in a more kindly voice, I want to speak to you seriously. I hope you will take all I am going to say in a friendly spirit. I am your uncle; you are the only son of my only brother, and you should understand that I have your truest interests at heart."
The boy's lips slightly curled, but he did not speak.
"I have come home from India," resumed the colonel, slightly raising his tone, "to find that you have run completely wild under the charge of my sister, and I should not be doing my duty to my dead brother if I did not take you in hand and make at least an attempt to put you on a better road. You have grown up wilful and headstrong, you have grown into the habit of dictating to Miss Wharton, and of overruling your tutor. Your education has been neglected-"
"Mr. Pynsent says I am quite as advanced as most boys of my age," said Harry, with a sulky look.
"Possibly, because you are naturally a quick and intelligent lad; otherwise, you would be a perfect ignoramus by this time. You have done exactly is you liked, and you have not the least idea of discipline. During the month that I have been at home I have tried to improve you-"
"Perhaps I don't want improving."
"You probably think so," said the colonel patiently; "But I think otherwise, and, as your guardian, I have my duty to do. You are obstinate and wilful, and inclined to be insolent to your elders. All that must cease. You have run wild too long. That must come to an end. But I cannot bring myself to exercise the severity necessary for the purpose, and my feeble attempts in that direction have made the house almost a pandemonium. You are determined to have your way, and I an determined that you are not to have it."



And the last (unpublished) story:

Readers of The Magnet will be unlikely to have ever seen the last story written (in 1940), intended to be The Magnet issue 1688, by Frank Richards. As mentioned earlier, before the demise of The Magnet, Frank Richards had submitted 4 further stories, with a fifth being in the process of being completed. Only the beginning part of the very last story still survives. The last few paragraphs of this incomplete story are reproduced here for those of you who are curious to see how it was all left. This story was part five of a series that was never finished. The series revolves around an ongoing feud between Harry Wharton and Hacker, with Quelch standing up for Harry Wharton.


…"Oh, I expect he thought of me first of all... he always does! He must have cut straight to Quelch's study... and he found me there! This means a row with Quelch-that ass who ragged Hacker, whoever he was, has landed me in the soup."
"Some japing ass on one of the school telephones, I suppose!" said Bob.
"I suppose so... Smithy, perhaps."
"Or perhapsfully not!" remarked Hurree Jamset Ram Singh, shaking his dusky head, "The last time the esteemed Hacker was ragged, we found out that it was the execrable Price of the Fifth-"Oh!" exclaimed Harry Wharton. His brow darkened. "I wonder if this is Price at that game again-as likely as not! It wouldn't be the first time that that Fifth-form cad has set Hacker on my track. I wonder-."
"Hallo, hallo, hallo!" ejaculated Bob Cherry, "Talk of rats and you hear them squeak! Here he comes."
From the direction of Courtfield, a cyclist came in sight on the road. It was Stephen Price, of the Fifth Form, riding back to the school.
Harry Wharton fixed his eyes on the bad hat of the Fifth, as he approached. He had not, at first, thought of Price: but as soon as the nabob mentioned the name, he guessed the truth at once.
"It was that cad!" he said, in a low voice, "He was phoning Hacker from the post-office in Courtfield-that's where he's been. Stop him."
"I say, we can't be sure-!" said Nugent.
"I'm sure enough! Get him off that bike."
Price of the Fifth, as he saw the bunch of juniors in the road, started a little. He put on speed, to get past them: perhaps anticipative of trouble. The Famous Five barred the way: and Wharton held up his hand.
"Stop!" he shouted.
Price did not stop: he ground at the pedals, and fairly flew. But he did not get past the juniors.
They parted, as the bike came whizzing out, but as it passed through the group, they grabbed Price on either side.
He was grabbed off the machine, which went curling and clattering over in the road: and Price bumped down in the dust, yelling.
The bicycle crashed by the roadside. Price sat up in the road, smothered with dust, and gasping for breath.
"You young hooligans!" he spluttered, "What do you mean? What-?" He staggered to his feet... the Famous Five in a circle round him.
"I called to you to stop!" said Harry, "As you didn't, we've stopped you! Where have you been?"
Price glared at him.
"You cheeky young rascal, what bizney is it of yours?" he snarled.
"Have you been to the post-office?"
"Find out."
"Have you been on the phone to Hacker at the school?"
Price did not answer that. He made a movement to back away towards his bicycle. But the circle of juniors barred him in.
"You're not getting away yet, you cur!" said the captain of the Remove, quietly, "I want my question answered."
"I haven't been to the post-office!" said Price, between his teeth. "Now let me pass, you young ruffians."
"You've landed me in more than one row with Hacker," said Wharton, "You're making use of the suspicious old goat, to pay off your rotten grudges. I licked you in your study for it, last time. Now I want to know if you've been at it again. Hacker had an insulting phone call from somebody, and he's put it down to me... as usual! Where have you been?"
Price breathed hard.
"I know nothing about it-if you've been playing tricks on Hacker!" he said, "Now let me pass."
"You haven't answered my question."
"You cheeky young cad
"Cut that out! Where have you been?"


And I guess that must be where Frank Richards left off, because, sad to say, there was no more to be found! We will never know just where Price had been.


Some other interesting facts:

Frank Richards used the same typewriter for 40 years!(An old Remmington)

Frank Richards died on Christmas eve, 1961, at the age of 85.

Frank Richards was born 8th August 1876, this means that he would have been 32 years old when he first wrote the first issue for The Magnet

He would have been 64 years old when The Magnet closed.

Assuming Billy Bunter was 15 years old when The Magnet first appeared, then he should be around 107 years old today (assuming he is still alive)!

If Billy Bunter was 15 years old when the last copy of The Magnet hit the street, then he should be around 75 years old today.

There is a museum dedicated to Charles Hamilton (Frank Richards' real name) in Maidstone in Kent, England. It's a private collection. If you wrote and made arrangements in advance you might get shown some stuff, but you can't just drop in. I have had confirmation that it is still operational as at APRIL 2005.

There is another museum reportedly located at Kingsgate Castle. I have no other details.

If you visit the Film/TV/Photography Museum at Bradford, you can try to see the 30 minute 1956 Christmas episode they have for viewing.
- (A reader reported doing this in July 2006 - I have no further details, other than he enjoyed the show very much, and that it includes Anthony Valentine as an actor).

It is estimated that Frank Richards wrote 72 million words in 7,000 stories

The BBC TV produced a TV show featuring Billy Bunter and Co. in 1952. This show ran for 10 years (on & off).

Charles Hamilton's pen names (at least 28 of them) include Hilda Richards, Martin Clifford, Owen Conquest, Clifford Owen, and Frank Richards.

The first issue of The Magnet has the Remove doing German classes. Bulstrode is the class bully and also the form captain.

Billy Bunter never seemed to have funds, and yet managed plenty of world travel. Places he has visited include... Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Fiji, New Guinea, France, Egypt, the (fictitious) Pacific Island of Kalua-alua-lalua, & Brazil,

Billy Bunter is well known for his common sayings... like "Oh lor'", "I say you fellows" & "Oh really". But did you know that in the beginning his most common saying was "I'm sincerely sorry..."?

Some topics seemed to be "taboo" in The Magnet. One never heard any swear words, nor did anyone ever have need to use the toilet! Sex and love were also almost never mentioned, the closest that I have found being in "Wingate's Folly" (issue 200), where Wingate falls in love with a pantomime girl named Paula Bell, and tells The Head "I love her, sir!". Another, I discovered is in Harry Wharton & Co's Pantomime (Issue 409) where Nugent falls in love with a Pantomime Queen called Conchita. (What is it with Pantomime actresses??). Magnet issue 520, “A Very Gallant Gentleman”, which has the death of Courtney, also has a hint of “love” mentioned between Courtney and Violet, sister of Valence.

Armada published a paperback book called "Bunter and the Phantom of the Towers". I found this to be a reprint of Magnet issues 1244 ,1245 and 1246. On closer investigation, I found that it was NOT an exact reprint, as several chapters were in fact missing form the Armada version! I have also been advised that "Ghost of Mauleverer Towers" is also a re-print of SOL (Schoolboy's Own Library) no. 319. The Armada series contain several Magnet series - all abridged because they are re-prints of the SOL series. Hamlyn also produced paperbacks. Paperback stories include the Cunliffe series, Walter Bunter, Bunter's Convict, Strong Alzono, High Oakes Rebellion, Easter Cruise, da Costa, Egypt series, and Burglary at Popper Court.

The idea of spectacles for Billy Bunter came Frank Richards noticing a relative peering at him through spectacles, like an owl!

William Howard Baker (Bill) died in 1991. He was within 200 issues of his goal of reprinting all Magnets, when he died.

The Greyfriars Book Club collection is a series of 93 books. Each book had a limited run of 200 to 500 copies. Each was signed by Howard Baker and began to be published in 1975. Each volume was provided with a slip case with superior binding but no dust jacket. There were 5 "Collectors Pie of Magnet and Gem" volumes. They covered basically all the missing issues not published in the normal series of books. Howard Baker published nearly all issues before his death in 1991. The prices on these vary from 18 pounds to 150 for the most rare. An example is the first Wharton the Rebel series of 1924/1925 which will cost you around 175 pounds!!!!!!!!!!

Bunter's spelling is quite unique, and sometimes difficult to decipher. Here are a couple of examples of his notices...

NOTIS

A Meating of the Remove is speshally corled this afternoon.
Felows are rekwested to role up in the Rag at three o'clock to be adressed on a verry important subject.
(sined),
W.G.Bunter
NOTISS!

Form elekshun on Wensday.
VOAT FOR BUNTER!
The undersined has the honner of ophering himself as a candydate for elekshun.
VOAT FOR BUNTER!
RALLY ROWND!
BUNTER"S THE MAN!

Role up in yore thowsands and voat for BUNTER!

Cokers spelling is as bad as Bunters! Here is an example of a letter he wrote to his Aunt Judy, taken from issue 1547.

Deer Aunt Judy,
I told you in my last letter abowt the kid who chipt in and stopped a beestly brewt from cracking my knut. Well, old deer, I brort this kid to the skool, as there was nuthing else to be dun with him; and I've been very puzzled since to know what's to be dun. Now I've thort of what seems to me a pretty brite idea. Why shoodn't he enter at Greyfriars as a joonier, where I cood keep an eye on him? I think it can be managed, if you are willing to pay the pheeze. He's a bit backward, of corse, for a Greyfriars kid, but I shood give him some coaching, and help him on in such matters as spelling and sow on. It seems to me a verry brite idea, so will you rite and let me know what you think abowt it. I've got him stikking in an apple-loft at pressent, but, of corse, he can't stay thair for evver.
Your loving nevew,
Horace

Tom Brown is the New Zealander. It is generally accepted that he comes from "Taranaki" on New Zealand's North Island. However, I have also seen evidence that he comes from the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island! I wonder where he really comes from?

Almost every story title ends with an exclamation mark!

Hurree Jamset Ram Singh learnt his English from Mook Mookerjee, the wisest moonshee in Bhanipur.

Cooking is one of the things Bunter is really good at... That and ventriloquism!

The reign of The Magnet lasted for 1,684 weeks, but only 1,683 Magnets were published! What happened to the remaining issue? Magnet 954 appeared correctly 'labelled' 22nd May 1926. Magnet Number 955 is dated "Week Ending May 29th and June 5th 1926". It did not appear until 5th June 1926. The nine day "General Strike" (3rd to 12th May 1926) in Britain was the cause.



Frank Richards after The Magnet

A series of articles looking at the life and work of Charles Hamilton in the twenty-one years between the end of The Magnet in 1940 and his own end in 1961, written by Steve Holland



Listen to this!

The following Cassette tapes are available for purchase from CSAWord.
(If you do purchase, please mention this website!)

"Bunter Does His Best" available for purchase on tape.

"Billy Bunter and the Blue Mauritius" available for purchase on tape.

"Billy Bunters of Greyfriars School" available for purchase on tape.

"Billy Bunters Postal Order" available for purchase on tape.



Advertising in the Magnet

Anyone who has read The Magnet, will know that included with most of the issues was advertising.
Everything from "Billard tables" to "Blushing"!
I found the adverts of the time quite interesting to read.
You may also find some of them interesting!

Click the button to view a small sample of adverts from The Magnet



Magnet Story Timeline

It very soon becomes apparent just how many story lines Frank Richards wrote, and therefore just how many adventures Billy Bunter and the Famous Five went through during the reign of The Magnet. To this end, I have put together the beginnings of a timeline. Perhaps you can help by filling in some of the blanks.

Click the button to view the Magnet timeline ( Nowhere near complete - can you help? )



Some of my favourite passages from the Magnet

The Magnet is full of witty and humourous chapters and paragraphs. Here are some that I particularly liked.



Greyfriars in the future!

Here are some predictions on how Greyfriars was to become in the future!

Click the button to view an excerpt taken from the 1932 Holiday Annual

Click the button to view an excerpt taken from Magnet 1653 Greyfriars Herald

An uncompleted story of Greyfriars in the future written by a very imaginative reader of this Website.

An ongoing story of Greyfriars in the future. Written by Daniel Raeside





Limericks

Anyone who has read The Magnet, will know that readers were invited to send in their own limericks about Greyfriars.
With such talent out there, it would be a shame to let it all go to waste, so I have put together a page that will automatically display some of the "gems".
Each limerick will display for 20 seconds, then be replaced with a new randomly selected limerick.
As time permits, I will add to the selection, to ensure that the limericks don't repeat too often.

Click the button to view some random limericks



Quotes & Common Sayings...
- Often uttered when referring to Bunter!


"The howling ass" - Harry Wharton etc
"The chumpfullness of the esteemed Bunter is terrific" - Hurree Jamset Ram Sing
"The frabjous chump" - Harry Wharton etc
"Oh, gad!" - Lord Mauleverer
"Look here, if you kick me again I'll - Yaroooh!" - Bunter
"You burbling bandersnatch" - Harry Wharton etc
"You pernicious porpoise" - Harry Wharton etc
"Hallo hallo hallo" - Bob Cherry
"Bless my soul!" - Dr Locke, Quelch, Prout and Others
"I guess I'm in on this" - Fisher T Fish
"Oh, crikey" - Bunter
"Upon my word" - Prout, Quelch and Others
"Yaas!" - Lord mauleverer
"It sure is the bee's knee!" - Fisher T Fish
"Beast, just a beast" - Bunter
"Go and eat coke!" - Harry Wharton etc
"Oh, really you fellows" - Bunter
"...like Nebuchadnezzar fiddling while Constantinople was burning" - Bunter
"Talk about Pontius Pilate fiddling while Carthage was burning..." - Bunter
"You cheeky fat porpoise" - Johnny Bull and Others
"Oh, my hat!" - Harry Wharton etc
"I'm fairly wide you know" - Bunter, referring to his depth of knowledge
"Great pip!" - Harry Wharton etc
"Oh, lor'" - Bunter
"Oh, crumbs!" - Bob Cherry etc
"Absquatulate!" - Fisher T Fish
"You're like a sheep's head, you know - nearly all jaw" - Bunter
"I've got a short way with fags" - Coker
"Oh scissors!" - Harry Wharton etc
"You fat villain!" - Harry Wharton etc




The following links may also be of interest to you:

(Clicking the following links will open a new browser window and load the page for you...)

British Juvenile Story Papers and Pocket Libraries Index (http://www.philsp.com/homeville/BJSP/0start.htm)

Frank Richards (http://www.collectingbooksandmagazines.com/bunter.html)

London Old Boys' Book Club (http://www.londonobbc.co.uk)

Northern Old Boys' Book Club (http://www.caldicott.demon.co.uk/nobbc.htm)

Andy Jenkins Magnet Web Site (http://www.btinternet.com/~andrew.n.jenkins/andrew.n.jenkins/)

Whirligig-TV 1950's British TV Nostalgia (http://www.whirligig-tv.co.uk/index.htm)

The Friars' Club - Home Counties based ('http://www.friarsclub.net) (Send Email)

Frank Richards Group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/frankrichards/)

Billy Bunter Group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/billybunter/)

Abebooks, (To find Billy Bunter books - Search under "Frank Richards") (http://www.abebooks.com)

Vinmag Archive Ltd, (Billy Bunter - look under "The Magnet Comic") (http://www.vinmagarchive.com)

Bunterzone (http://www.geocities.com/bunterzone/index.html)

Missing-Episodes.com archival status listing of TV Shows (http://www.btinternet.com/~m.brown1/bunter.htm)

The Greyfriars index (http://www.greyfriarsindex.co.uk/Index.htm)

Hamilton material in Electronic format (http://www.friardale.co.uk/ )



Relax, and try out some online games!

Lets face it, we all need to relax, and there are precious few "Bunter" games available... So I have made a simple one for you to try. Good Luck!

Click the button to play "Pairs"



Test Yourself:

So you think you know all about Greyfriars? Or maybe you just want to see how much you do know. Try your luck with the 10 multi-choice questions in "The Greyfriars Test". Or perhaps you want to see just how dedicated a Magnet / Billy Bunter enthusiast you really are. Try out the "Enthusiast Test" and see.
Or try some Greyfriar's Teasers taken from a 1937 Magnet.

Click the button to try take "The Greyfriars General Knowledge" quiz.

Click the button to try the "Greyfriars / Billy Bunter Enthusiast" test.

Got a few minutes to spare? If so, click the button to try some Greyfriar's Teasers.



Take Part in an Interactive Short Story:

And you thought you had read them all! Bet you have never read a Greyfriars story like this one! Press the button, fill in a few questions and read a story like no other you've read before.




Reader Contributions:

I can't do it all! So here is a chance for you to have your own page(s), hosted on this web site. E-mail me, with as few or as many lines as you wish, with or without picture(s), and I will format it for you, and present it here as your own page. You can choose any topic at all, provided it falls generally within the broad "Greyfriars and the like" type theme. Perhaps you might want to provide information relating to other works by Charles Hamilton I.E. Information on the sister publications like GEM, or NELSON LEE etc. You might just want to tell people about your own collection of books. Maybe you know something about the Charles Hamilton Museum. Could be that you want to write your own story. Whatever it is, this is one way to get your own page and thoughts onto the Internet! Don't be shy... send me your contribution!!

Billy Bunter cartoon from "Valiant" comic, contributed by David Taylor

Copy of an IOU not from Frank Richards to John Hassell, contributed by Don Kurtz

Some of the hazards of being a Greyfriars man, contributed by Brian

A couple of replies from Frank Richards to Mike Greenspan, a keen reader during the 1950's - & today!

Billy Bunter's Brainwave - A short story written by Anish Kanoria from India

Comparing the Dutch "Billy Turf" with the British "Billy Bunter", contributed by Theodoor Westerhof
          (NOTE:
Theodoor shows the Dutch version and pages, of the very same story that David Taylor chose above! Both dated 1965, and both printed as annuals.
                         He also provides some background information on the Dutch magazine 'Sjors')



Here are some suggested story and chapter titles that we may never see...
- Thanks to members of the Billy Bunter e-group, and others, for these gems!

Bunter discovers he's allergic to jam;
Quelch finishes his History of Greyfriars;
The one about the brighter side of gambling and smoking;
The one where the Invisibility Ray is turned off and it turns out there was a First after all;
The one where a cycle ride doesn't end in a mugging, a bagging or someone in a ditch;
The one in which Greyfriars goes comprehensive.

Mauly the Cad!
Skinner the Hero!
Coker Listens to Reason!!
Coker Minds His Own Business!!!
Wharton Shows the White Feather!
Inky Does Not Understand!
Johnny Bull Understands!
Potter & Greene Back Up Coker!
Loder's Good Turn!
Marjorie Shows Her Knickers!!
Mr Quelch In Love!!!
Wharton's Humility!
Ponsonby's Good Turn!
Bunter Voluntarily Skips a Meal!
Smithy Quietly Accepts Punishment!
Alonzo Todd's Profanity!
Treluce Does Something Interesting!
Herbert Trevor - Captain of the Remove!
Mossoo Controls a Class!
Wib Makes a Major Appearance without Impersonating Anyone!
Kipps Makes a Major Appearance without doing a Conjuring Trick!
Bolsover's Compassionate Action!
Portraying Dutton Tastefully!
Fishy's Charitable Causes!
Mark Linley - Slacker!
Bob Cherry - Torturer of Fags!
Mr Prout - Conversationalist!
Bunter joins Jenny Craig !
Bunter the Fitness Fanatic!
Bunter Loses his Appetite!


And finally, a little about me:

Tony Hiam

My interest in Billy Bunter started when I was about 12, with a paperback book called "Billy Bunter's Postal Order" That would have been back around 1972! Once I discovered the Howard Baker reprints of The Magnet, my interest was sealed. I was hooked. Over the years I have collected quite a few omnibus volumes by Howard Baker, and a few original copies of The Magnet.

To see my current collection of Bunter material, press the button.

My collection is far from complete, I guess that living in New Zealand makes it harder than ever to accumulate Magnet issues as our population here is so small ( 4 million people, with around 1.5 million living in my home city of Auckland ).

Thank you for taking the time to visit my website.




Acknowledgements:
My thanks goes to the following...

Various books, websites, & other sources of information (for providing the raw material used in these pages.)
http://www.brinkster.com (for supplying a generous amount of server space on which to host this website for over 10 years.)
http://000WebHost.com (for supplying the current server space for this website.)
Globalguest.com guestbook service

eXTReMe Tracker Extreme-dm.com Tracking Service

Steve Holland ( Story Paper Index ) who has contributed the "Frank Richards after The Magnet" section.
Darrell Swift of happy-hours Books who has both corrected some of my errors, and provided additional material that I otherwise could not have had.
I was also lucky enough to meet, and host Darrell on two of his trips to New Zealand. Sadly, Darrell passed away whilst returning to the UK on 2 AUG 2002.
Bill Nagelkerke (who sent me 2 paperbacks)
Bill Poland Who has kindly sent me some original Magnets
Fergus O'Donohoe Who has kindly sent an HB volume
Tom Smith Who kindly sent me several original Magnets
Sarah Byrne Who kindly sent me several original Magnets
John Tipper of Oopsbooks in Sydney, Australia. John managed to secure a few original Magnets, and additional HB volumes for me.
Michael Bailey who has kindly sent me several books and reprints. Michael is a real authority on all things "Magnet".
Helen Filbry of Mad Hatter Books is located in Auckland NZ, & has a small collection of Howard Baker books for sale.
Colin Edwards Colin has kindly supplied the "play" and "discussion" audio clips.
Clive Stanhope of CSA Word , for supplying the audio tapes for review, and giving permission for use of the cover scans.
My daughter Kate who created the title sequence, and assisted with layout changes.

Also to the many other people (you know who you are!) that have taken the time and trouble to add bits of information, and generally assist in getting this site online.

... And lastly, to YOU, for taking the time to read and hopefully enjoy this website!


"...and if you didn't enjoy reading my website,
then all I can jolly well say is- Yaroooh...!"