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The original John Bull was a Sunday newspaper established by Theodore Hook in 1820. It was a popular periodical that continued in production through July 1892. Titles with the same name were being published until 1960.

A magazine of that name was reportedly being published in 1899 and 1903. Horatio Bottomley, an MP for the Liberal Party, became the publisher of the magazine on 12 May 1906. It continued production during the First World War. Howard Cox estimates its sales by August 1914 at in excess of three quarters of a million copies a week. By the end of October 1914 the cover of John Bull was '"boasting that the magazine’s circulation was the largest of any weekly journal in the world". It was the subject of a libel case in 1919 concerning a biographical film about David Lloyd George.

In 1920, the company was merged into Odhams Press. In 1923, the magazine was said to be 'ultra patriotic'. Around that time, the editor was Geoffrey Williamson. The magazine was in print in 1931, 1939 and 1944.

The magazine was published by Odhams from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. Similar in style to the American magazine The Saturday Evening Post, the John Bull covers encapsulated post-war Britain and employed some of Britain's finest illustrators. They also included short stories by major British authors such as H. E. Bates, Agatha Christie, Nicholas Monsarrat, N. J. Crisp, Gerald Kersh, J. B. Priestley and C. S. Forester. During its run it incorporated other magazines such as The Illustrated, Passing Show, News Review and Everybody's Weekly. At one point, its picture editor was Elkan Allan.

Publications of Agatha Christie short stories

In chronological order of publication.

  • 1949, April 23 (Volume 85, Number 2234) to June 4, 1949 (Volume 85, Number 2240) - Crooked House. Illustrated by Alfred Sindall.
  • 1951, 13 January (Volume 89, Number 2324) to 3 March 1951 (Volume 89, Number 2331) - They Came to Baghdad. Illustrated by "Showell".
  • 1952, April 26 (Volume 91, Number 2391) to May 31, 1952 (Volume 91, Number 2396) - They do it with Mirrors. Illustrated by George Ditton.
  • 1953, March 21 (Volume 93, Number 2438) to May 2, 1953 (Volume 93, Number 2444) - After the Funeral. Illustrated by William Little.
  • 1954, September 25 (Volume 96, Number 2517) to October 23 (Volume 96, Number 2521) - Destination Unknown. Illustrated by William Little.
  • 1955, May 28 (Volume 97, Number 2552) to July 2, 1955 (Volume 98, Number 2557) - Hickory Dickory Dock. Illustrated by "Fancett".
  • 1956, 11 August (Volume 100, Number 2615) to 15 September (Volume 100, Number 2620) - Dead Man's Folly. Illustrated by "Fancett".
  • 1957, 5 October (volume 102 number 2675) to 2 November (volume 102 number 2679) - 4.50 from Paddington. Illustrated by K J Petts.
  • 1958, September 20 (Volume 104, Number 2725) to September 27, 1958 (Volume 104, Number 2726) - Ordeal by Innocence. Illustrated by “Fancett”.
  • 1959, September 26 (Volume 106, Number 2771) to October 31, 1959 (Volume 106, Number 2776) - Cat Among the Pigeons. Illustrated by “Fancett”.
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