The Parish Magazine January 2022


Serving the communities of Charvil, Sonning and Sonning Eye since 1869

feature — 4

When this magazine was first published in 1869 by Rev

Hugh Pearson, the vicar of Sonning, it was financed

totally by him and the readers who subscribed to it.

It was a legacy that following vicars were not always

comfortable with, especially when the numbers of

subscribers fell on hard times — there was one time when

only 12 people bought the magazine on a regular basis.

To try to rescue the situation attempts were made to

broaden the scope of the content to include non-church

items but the financial issues were never really resolved

until 1908 when advertising was introduced. At that

time readers were also asked to pay one shilling which in

today's economy is equivalent to £100!

The first advertisers, apart from one, were all Readingbased

businesses. There was a coal merchant, ironmonger,

hair dresser, shoe shop, book binder, picture framer, cycle

maker and a printer. The printer, Blackwell & Gutch, also

printed the magazine and sold the advertising space so it

seems likely their advert came free.

Looking through our archives which go back to the first

issue in January 1869, it is clear that advertising in this

magazine must have been beneficial for the advertisers

because many of them were regular supporters of our


Even so, the magazine's finances were never sound

(see page 31) and there were times when it came close

to being closed because the income rarely covered the

costs, even when printing was taken in-house. And there

was increasing competition for advertising from local

newspapers and magazines, radio and television, and then

the internet, which for many church and parish magazines

was the final blow.

In 2008, Rev Jamie Taylor was appointed as the new

vicar for the parish of St Andrew's Church and he believed

that The Parish Magazine could play an important part

in reaching out to his new flock in Charvil, Sonning and

Sonning Eye — but not as it was then. Relatively few

people subscribed to it and the advertising revenue was in

decline. He took what is best described as a leap of faith

and decided to scrap the subscription fee and deliver a

copy to every home in Charvil, Sonning and Sonning Eye

free of charge. He sought out someone with publishing

business experience and a new editor. The business plan

was simple. The advertising income would cover the cost

of printing and the PCC would pay for the distribution to

every home.

Interestingly this year of the 59 current advertisers 13

advertised in the first issue of the new format magazine

that was first published in December 2012.

Thus, our special thanks for their 9 years of loyal

support go to:

The French Horn, Haslams Estate Agents, The Hicks

Group, The Bull Hotel, The Mill at Sonning, AB Walker,

Gardiner's Homecare, Tomalin & Son Funeral Directors,

The Parish Magazine - January 2022 25

Help us to say thank you for our advertisers!

By Bob Peters



1908: One of the first pages of advertising in The Parish Magazine

Chris the Plumber, Jones & Sheppard Stone Masons,

Sonning Scouts Marquees, and ADD Plumbing.

We are very pleased this year to welcome some new

advertisers: Active Electrical Appliances, Berkshire

Stump Removals, Callaghan Carpets & Flooring, EMDR

Hypnotherapist, and Seniors Helping Seniors.


To help keep our magazine current we encourage

all our advertisers to keep their advertisements up-todate

and make no extra charge for changing them every


We also try to ensure that advertisements are internet

friendly so that our online readers can simply click on the

advertisements and be taken directly to the advertiser's

website. Again, this is a free service for readers and


With all this in mind, we also encourage all our readers

when using the services and products being offered to

mention to the advertiser in question that they saw their

advert in The Parish Magazine. This will not only help the

advertisers to know how their advertising is working but

it will obviously help us as well!


We still have a limited amount of advertising space

available for this year, and if you are interested in joining

our band of loyal advertisers then please contact Gordon

Nutbrown on: or 0118 969 3282

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