The archive in London contains over 5,000 titles and 150,000 editions. Here, we sit down with founder James Hyman to talk all things magazines past, present and future.
Sitting in an 18th-century former cannon foundry in Woolwich Arsenal, the magazine archive is, to put it frankly, an endless jungle of culture on paper. The collection is comprised of various magazines, pamphlets, brochures and zine paraphernalia – collected by its founder and mutual lover of all things magazine-y, James Hyman.
The archive was officially started in 2011 after Hyman realised the potential of his so-called library and wanted to offer others the chance to access material that couldn’t be found anywhere else. (Fact: Over half of the titles kept at HYMAG do not exist anywhere else, not even in the British Library!)
The collection is crucial for many reasons, aside from being a vital documentation of cultural history it has proved itself to be indispensable when it comes to the work and research of countless academics, curators, students and creatives alike.
Covering over 170 years-worth of print publications, the magazine mecca is home to more than 2,600 British, Italian, French and American fashion titles dating back to the 1930s, among those is the first-ever issue of Playboy published in 1953, featuring Marilyn Monroe. Not to mention its sky-high shelves are also littered with iconic yet now-defunct titles including Spare Rib, Blitz, and sleazenation.