Wednesday, May 02, 2012

John Wesley - 'vivid life story in modern caption form', 1953


I picked this up a few weeks ago for the princely sum of £3. It was published in the Coronation Year of 1953, to mark the 250th anniversary of John Wesley's birth. The publisher made a determined effort to simplify the story 'in modern caption form' to make it easy to get the story across to the general public, and hired a very accomplished illustrator called Greta Jones to create the visuals. The style reminds me of the more serious stories in the Dandy annuals I had as a wee lad growing up here in the 1970s. This booklet is just 24 pages, smaller than A5 in size, printed on cheap newsprint paper and given away free with a publication called the Sunday Companion.

The introduction was written by a 'TV personality' called George Cansdale (he went on to become the 'zoo man' on BBC's children's programme Blue Peter; his obituary here is fascinating). He was the Churchwarden of All Souls, Langham Place, London. The intro says -

'Although the world has seen many changes since the days of John Wesley, the heart of man has certainly not changed for the better, and his deepest needs are just the same. John Wesley spent many years as an intensely sincere religious man, but it was not until he was in his middle thirties than he came to realise for himself the experience of personal salvation. That surely is the trouble with many of us today...'

The quality of the storytelling is superb, hope you enjoy the sample pages below.

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