|Description||Surviving volumes comprise minutes of meetings of the editorial board of student magazines produced during the early years of the University's existence, as well as minutes of the Mermaid sub-committee dating from the 1930s, and minutes of the Guild Publications committee from the 1940s onwards. The same volume was used for minutes of meetings of both these bodies. |
Minutes discuss the types of articles published and the range of coverage; the format of the magazine; rates for advertisements; prices charged; cover designs; and responses to complaints about content. There is some information about magazine finances; income and expenditure estimates are included from 1931. There is also some discussion of other University publications, including the University song book in 1910. Early minutes are primarily concerned with decisions of the editorial board as to the approval or rejection of articles submitted, and with editorial policy. Concerns about the character of the magazine and how representative it was of the views of the student body in general are also expressed.
Minutes of the Guild Publications committee discuss matters relating to both Mermaid and Guild News. There are no surviving minutes between 1937, when the committee is believed to have been established, and 1942. The committee appears to have met yearly in 1942, 1943 and 1944. There were no meetings in 1945, but minutes resume in 1946. Distribution, circulation and costs of producing both publications are discussed, and the committee included representatives from both Guild News and Mermaid. There is also some discussion of policy and coverage relating to the Wall newspaper which was displayed on a wall in the Guild building rather than being circulated. Subsequently, there are no extant holdings of this publication, but it continued into the early 1980s. It is described in the 1967-1968 Guild handbook as having been established in around 1941, and having a satirical outlook. At that date it was being produced weekly in the Mermaid office.
Correspondence relating to the University of Birmingham magazine and Mermaid is described at UB/GUILD/D/2/3
|Administrative History||Birmingham University Magazine editorial board became the Mermaid editorial board when the new student magazine was launched. The Birmingham University magazine had been under the control of the Students' Representative Council until the this body was dissolved in 1903. Mermaid editorial board how reported to the Guild of Undergraduates. Mermaid sub-committee was appointed for the 1923-1924 academic session to examine and report on the management of Mermaid. Its recommendations involving making drastic alterations to the magazine were adopted, and Mermaid was dropped in favour of a new publication, University Gazette, which ran from 1924 to 1930, During this period, the magazine was run by three boards; editorial, publicity, and sales. Under the constitution of the Gazette, there was also a Chairman, a Business Manager and a Secretary. Production was supervised by the Business Manager. At the first meeting of the 1929-1930 academic session, the joint Boards passed a resolution in favour of a return to the Mermaid. Literary and business matters were discussed by separate boards who reported to the Editor. An Advertising Manager was appointed for the 1931-1932 session, and the bye-laws were altered accordingly. The functions of the Mermaid sub-committee were being fulfilled by the Guild Publications committee by the 1937-1938 academic session. This committee dealt with the publication and control of Mermaid and Guild News. It was a standing committee of the Guild subject to the direction and control of Guild Council. There are suggestions during the 1960-1961 academic session that the editorial teams of Guild News and Mermaid had expressed feelings of dissatisfaction about the working of the Guild Publications committee, and this may have prompted the replacement of the committee with the Press Council from the 1968-1969 session|