The Lady (magazine)

The Lady is one of Britain's longest-running women's magazines. It has been in continuous publication since 1885 and is based in London. It is particularly notable for its classified advertisements for domestic service and child care; it also has extensive listings of holiday properties.

The Lady
The Lady 1888.JPG
First issue of The Lady, 19 February 1885
EditorMaxine Frith
PublisherBen Budworth
FounderThomas Gibson Bowles
Year founded1885
CompanyThe Lady Magazine Ltd
CountryUnited Kingdom
Based inLondon

History and profileEdit

The magazine was founded by Thomas Gibson Bowles (1842–1922), the maternal grandfather of the aristocratic and controversial Mitford sisters. Bowles also founded the English magazine Vanity Fair.[1]

Bowles gave the Mitford girls' father (David Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron Redesdale) his first job: general manager of the magazine. Early contributors included Nancy Mitford and Lewis Carroll, who compiled a puzzle for the title.[2]

In November 2008, Bowles' great grandson, Ben Budworth, took the reins as publisher on behalf of the family and set about modernising its style. As part of this process, Budworth appointed Rachel Johnson as the magazine's ninth editor in September 2009.[3] She took over from Arline Usden who became an editor at large.[4] A Channel 4 programme, The Lady and the Revamp, screened in March 2010, followed the new editor in her quest to raise awareness of the magazine and increase circulation.[5] Johnson's axing of The Lady Laughs, a cartoon series by Patricia Drennan that ran from 2000 to 2009,[6] led to complaints by readers. In response, Johnson would reply with old issues of the magazine to show how bland it historically had been.[7]

Matt Warren was appointed the tenth editor in January 2012.[8] In November 2013, he was named Editor of the Year (Women's Brand Weekly or Fortnightly) by the British Society of Magazine Editors. In 2014, he was Highly Commended in the Editor of the Year category at the PPA Independent Publisher Awards. The magazine specialises in quirky, entertaining and informative features and quality writing.

Sam Taylor became the magazine's eleventh editor in August 2015.[9] Under her editorship, the magazine has been shortlisted for multiple awards,[10] including PPA Cover of the Year (2016), PPA Cover of the Year 2017 [11] and BSME Cover of the Year 2018.[12] Sam Taylor was shortlisted for Editor of The Year, Women's Brand 2016 at the BSME awards. [13]

The Lady moved to Borehamwood in Hertfordshire and Bylaugh Hall in Norfolk on 1 October 2019. At the same time Maxine Frith was appointed as the twelfth editor of the magazine.[citation needed]

In popular cultureEdit

The popular television series Downton Abbey mentions The Lady more than once in the context of advertising for ladies' maids and housekeepers. In Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, a character advertises in The Lady for a nanny. In March 2010, on the long-running television series, Coronation Street, Rita Sullivan found advertised in The Lady the services of Lewis Archer, a male escort, who would later seduce another character and steal her life savings.


  1. ^ Jamieson, Alastair (2 April 2009). "The Lady, the dusty women's weekly from Victorian times, given a makeover". Telegraph. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  2. ^ "Can you crack Lewis Carroll's Syzygies". The Lady. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  3. ^ Brook, Stephen (20 July 2009). "Rachel Johnson appointed as editor of the Lady". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  4. ^ Luft, Oliver (27 May 2009). "Editor Arline Usden leaves the Lady". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  5. ^ Barton, Laura (18 March 2010). "The Lady and the Revamp: can Boris Johnson's sister save the day?". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  6. ^ "Patricia Drennan obituary". The Times. 16 March 2021. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  7. ^ Johnson, Rachel (2010). A Diary of The Lady: My First Year As Editor. Penguin. p. 103. ISBN 9780718192327.
  8. ^ "The man who edits The Lady describes taking 130-year-old from 'pantomime dame' to 'serious enterprise' – Press Gazette". Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  9. ^ "The Lady names editor - News Article - DIARY directory". Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  10. ^ "PPA Cover of the Year Shortlist 2016". Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  11. ^ "PPA Cover of the Year Shortlist 2017". Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  12. ^ "BSME Cover Shortlist". Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  13. ^ "BSME Awards Shortlist 2016". Retrieved 11 June 2017.

External linksEdit