Malory Towers covers through the years


Previously I have written about the Famous Five covers, the Adventure Series covers and the Secret Series covers. Now I’m going to look at the covers from Malory Towers, my favourite of the school series.


Inside and out with Stanley Lloyd

The original wrap-around dust jackets for the series were done by Stanley Lloyd, who also did the first internal illustrations. His internal illustrations are skilful and detailed but I sometimes think they are a bit washed out. I always get annoyed there are only six per book as well, so so many key scenes go unillustrated. Anyway, the covers are soft but less washed out as they are in colour.

Methuen 1946 / Methuen 1947 / Methuen 1948 / Methuen 1949 / Methuen 1950 / Methuen 1951

Seeing double?

Like the Adventure Series, Malory towers has two sets of wrap-around dustjackets. While Stuart Tresilian did both sets for the Adventure Series, the second set here were done by Lilian Buchanan (who also worked on the Five Find-Outers books).

All Methuen 1957

It’s interesting (to me) that while Last Form is extremely similar, and First Form reasonably similar, the others all show entirely different scenes. I really like Lilian Buchanan’s covers as they are that bit bolder and brighter.


Time for the Armada

Armada are yet again the first paperback edition for a series.

Armada 1963 / Armada 1963 / Armada 1963 / Armada 1963 / Armada 1964 / Armada 1964

Armada covers always look like Armada covers, despite all the different artists. These six have three different artists. First up is Dorothy Brook who did First Form and Upper Fourth, then Charles Stewart who did Second Form while the rest were done by Mary Gernat. Interestingly, there’s a variety within the internal illustrations, too. Dorothy Brook is inside First Form, but none of the others. Charles Stewart did Second Form, Third Year and Upper Fourth, and the last two books were by Dylan Roberts (I don’t think Mary Gernat did much, if  any, internal work.)


More Mary Gernat

Mary Gernat returned to do the next two covers for the series too. As is quite common it’s the same illustrations used two ways.

Alternating Dragon 1967 and Methuen 1970

The first are what I think of as an upside-down polaroid style, which Dragon books used a lot. Then as you can see the second are the same illustration but taking up the whole cover, though these are actually Methuen editions.

The next set are Dragons again, and using the upside-down polaroid too. Strangely, though, First Term is omitted. This time the covers were by Paul Wright. I have a certain fondness for all the polaroid-style Dragons as I had a few of them including Second Form with the Paul Wright cover.

All Dragon 1972

My era of Malory Towers books

Although I had one of the Dragon copies from 1972, that’s a bit before my time! I recognise more from the next four sets of books, even though some of them were still published before I could read. My local library had these editions, though, and that’s where I first read them.

First up are some nice hardbacks with very bold (and somewhat modernised) characters on them. These are 1981 Methuen editions. I remember Upper Fourth in particular and always marvelled at their fancy clothes, not realising it was their pyjamas!

The same illustrations were reused for the 1990 Dean editions, where I had In the Fifth. At least I recognised these clothes as pantomime costumes!

Alternating Methuen 1981 and Dean 1990

The two sets in between these editions are also ones which reuse illustrations. They are by Gwyneth Jones, the first being a straightforward scene and banner, and the second the scene is placed inside what looks like a school crest. I think it was these covers that made me realise quite how unattractive I find the Malory Towers uniforms! What’s interesting is these are Armada editions, they are so different from the classic 1960s ones.

Alternating Armada 1988 and Armada 1990

They show a strange amalgamation of scenes from the books, and yet I come away feeling I don’t know much about what goes on as it’s mostly quite generic. Last Term is about tennis, and girls carrying bags of rubbish?


Brodie was up for three hours in the middle of last night so I am going to stop there for now, and return another week with the rest of the books, which are all of the ‘very modern’ category!

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1 Response to Malory Towers covers through the years

  1. The covers of the more recent editions of the ‘Malory Towers’ series clearly have (from our point of view) a humorous tendency, as we can observe the amusing lengths to which the publishers go in pretending that these are modern stories about modern children: the words ‘Malory Towers’ get bigger and more prominent with each revision, while the references to ‘Second Form’ and ‘Fifth Form’ get increasingly marginalised. Many younger readers might be left wondering what the titles mean, even as the cover illustrations, too, are giving less and less information about the contents of the storyline. At least the non-school series (Famous Five, Five Find-Outers, Secret, etc) don’t have problems that begin with the very title of the story!

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