leslie's guiding traditions

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From the early years of Guiding, it was realised that a magazine would be the best way to communicate information from headquarters directly to the membership.  In the earliest years, with Guiding a small organisation and funds limited, launching their own independent magazine seemed a risky proposition.  So initially, Guiding paid to have 2 pages in one of the magazines published by the Scouting publisher, Pearsons.  Initially, these pages appeared in "Home Notes" magazine, and then for a short time in "Golden Rule".  But as this became unsatisfactory, in 1914 Guiding launched it's own magazine, "Girl Guides Gazette".  This magazine was aimed at both Guides and Guiders, and ideally Guiding wanted to organize separate magazines for girls and leaders in due course, but the coming of World War I prevented this.

So it was 1920 before it was possible to launch a separate magazine, "The Guide".  It was roughly A4 size, in black and white, and on newsprint, but had a lively mix of serial stories and short stories, articles on test work, puzzles, Patrol Leader page, letters pages and photographs, games, songs and handicraft instructions, sewing and knitting patterns, puzzles and jokes, fashion tips and movie news.  


As well as information for Guides, there were also sections for Brownies, and for Rangers, often in pull-out format.  


This format continued through to 1939, but with the coming of war, there was soon paper rationing.  Initially, the number of pages was cut significantly.  Then in 1941 there were more savage cuts.  For many years the magazine was reduced to only 8 sides of newsprint, all in black and white, with only occasional larger editions such as for the Christmas issue.  Many articles were war-focused, with advice on digging for victory, and make-do-and-mend, hobbies to do in the blackout, hints on camp camouflage and advice for Patrol Leaders, many of whom were running units with limited support.


Post-war, much of the content reverted to what it had been pre-war.  In the 1960s Brownies, and then Rangers, got their own magazines.  In the 1970s it underwent a revamp, and the name became "Today's Guide", with more features on fashion and pop in amongst the Guiding articles.  It continued through the 1980s, but by the 1990s, just as with the Brownie magazine, more copies of the magazine were being bought by Leaders than by girls, and sales were dropping.  Eventually, it folded.