Friday, 11 September 2009

Gordon Stables

To describe Gordon Stables and his contribution to Boy's Own Paper in a brief way is an impossible task. This Scottish eccentric was integral to its character throughout the Victorian period. When BOP began in 1879, Stables was already a published author (Jungle, Peak and Plain). The man was irrepressibly versatile, his contributions to the paper included medical advice (also to the sister paper, Girl's Own), fiction tales, articles on pets, factual articles giving moral guidance; but most distinctive of all were his uniquely forthright and often caustic replies to readers in the BOP Correspondence section. For a fuller appreciationof his personality go to our Correspondence page and you will find most of the replies on matters of health and appearance are his.

Doctor Gordon Stables studied medicine at Aberdeen University, yet during this time was trapped on a whaling brig threatened by pack-ice. Reported lost, he returned to find his family still mourning his death. Following University, Stables became a qualified surgeon with the Royal Navy. His time tavelling the world informed his adventure stories bringing added realism. After less than ten years service he was finished with the Navy, invalided out due to "jungle fever."*

In time Gordon Stables settled down and used his expert knowledge in dogs to support them, rising to the giddy heights of Kennel Editor of the Livestock Journal. His love of writing meant that he developed non-fiction about his passions with titles like Our Friend the Dog.

Dr James Macaulay, first editor of Boy's Own Paper, was a friend of Stables from earlier times and introduced him to his assistant Hutchison who was drawn in by recollections of life on a whaling vessel. It was within a short time that this was published as an adventure filled serial The Cruise of the Snowbird, and a career with BOP had begun.

Wherever Stables went - he was much travelled - he promoted the ideals of Boy's Own and would make no secret of his involvement. His love of travel sent him tricycling through Scotland and touring Britain in what was reputed to be the first purchase of a commercially built, all purpose caravan. After a prolific 30 years writing for the BOP, Gordon Stables died at his family home in Twyford in 1910.

No comments:

Post a Comment