John O’ London’s Little Books

George Newnes Ltd. (London, UK)
Series dates: 1924-1932
Size: 5.25″ x 6.5″


George Newnes’ career in publishing began with his periodical Tit-Bits, funded by the profits from the sale (around 1881) of his popular vegetarian restaurant in Manchester. The Strand Magazine, which first published the Sherlock Holmes stories, was also a Newnes publication. George Newnes Ltd. continues as an imprint of Elsevier.

John O’ London’s Little Books, named after the Newnes’ periodical John O’London’s Weekly, were published from 1924 until 1932. A similar series, John O’ London’s Library, was published from 1934-1938. The Little Books are oddly shaped, nearly as wide as tall. The titles seem to be largely new edited collections and shorter non-fiction. The serial numbering for the series indicates 18 titles, but one (#16) is unknown (see below).

This copy of the collection More London Stories is undated, but probably 1928. Jackets are common to the series, printed on different color heavy paper. a London skyline crosses the top of the jacket, with the series name and number beneath it. The book title (and author, if relevant) along with the price (2s./) are also on the front of the jacket. The jacket flaps are blank.


The rear of the jacket lists the first 12 titles in the series.


At least five and possibly six additional titles were published. There is no indication of a #16 title (WorldCat, other sources). It may have been planned but not published.

#13: George Blake, ed. Scottish Treasure Trove. 1928
#14: George Allardice Riddell. Looking Round: A Miscellany. 1929
#15: Thomas Shaw Craigmyle. The Trial of Jesus Christ. 1928
#16: ?
#17: Gabrielle Chesterton & Kenneth Chesterton. Who was –?: A Gallery of Immortal Characters. 1929
#18: Bernard Darwin. Second Shots: Casual Talks About Golf. 1930

The books are cloth-bound and repeat much of the dust jacket design, including the series name (but not the price and series number).


This copy does not have a blank page before the half-title page. No page seems to have been removed, so this may be typical of the series. The half-title page includes the series name, number, and book title.


A catalog of 12 titles in the series is on the reverse of the half-title page.


The title page is faced with the one illustration in the book.


There is no copyright information nor date, but a note does indicate the book was reprinted from an earlier two-volume illustrated set published by T.C. and E.C. Jack (and is reissued with permission of Nelson & Sons, who had acquired the Jack imprint).


An advertisement for Newnes Strand Magazine is included on the last page in the book.