Armada Paperbacks

Published by:
May Fair Books Ltd
39 Upper Brook Street, London W1
later of:
Dorset House, 13a Old Burlington Street, London W1
and Armada House, Holmethorpe, Redhill, Surrey.
and 14, St James' Place, London SW1.
Later still, by 1971, William Collins took over the imprint from May Fair, working from the address in St James' Place.

In 1962 May Fair produced the first of their Armada children's paperbacks. Whereas other publishers expected adults to buy paperbacks for youngsters, Armada Books were aimed at the children themselves. Hence they were reprints of books by the most popular children's authors of the time. And they were priced as pocket-money buys.

Enid Blyton, Richmal Crompton, W E Johns, Monica Edwards, Malcolm Saville and all the important and popular children's authors of their day found themselves published by Armada.

Many of the earlier Saville issues had the illustrations from the original books, but the text was abbreviated in many cases to fit within the 190 page target.

There were 38 Malcolm Saville books issued by Armada between 1963 and 1980. They issued all the Lone Pine, Buckingham, Jillies, Nettleford and Brown Family series. They also issued the one-off book, Treasure at the Mill.
Eleven of these were later reissued in new covers and with a new code number. All were reprinted regularly, some give a reprinting date, but most do not, so only the price of the book dates it. As throughout the 1960s they were all priced at 2/6, this is not a great help.
The earliest editions had spines of 'banded' colour and the code number at the base of the spine. At first the price was printed below the code number on the spine, but later this was dropped.

The earlier covers were credited, so we know some were done by Charles Stewart and Mary Gernat. Many later ones are by Peter Archer and some by Gordon King.

Most Armadas were reprints of best selling books, but some were first editions, and these were called Armada Originals. Saville's Armada Originals were Home to Witchend, Good Dog Dandy and The Roman Treasure Mystery.

Originally they were priced at two shillings and sixpence, 'two and six', or 'half a crown', written '2/6' and maintained this price until 1970, when new and reprints rose to 3/6 then decimalisation took hold and the prices rose throughout the seventies; by 1978 the books were 50p; four times the original cost.
Admittedly, inflation was rampant during this period, it is to be hoped that pocket money held pace with wages !
By comparison, a hardback with wrapper in 1963 (Not Scarlet But Gold) was 10/6 and by 1979 (Words For All Seasons) the price was 4.95, almost ten times the cost. As the paperbacks had risen in price to four times their original cost, perhaps Armadas were a bargain indeed.

A full list of Malcolm Saville's Armadas are, in published order:

1963:
C22 Strangers at Snowfell (1st issue)
C32 Redshank's Warning (1st issue)
C38 The Ambermere Treasure (1st issue)
C69 The Sign of the Alpine Rose

1964:
C74 Treasure at the Mill
C78 The Neglected Mountain (1st issue)
C86 Wings Over Witchend (1st issue)

1965:
C125 The Elusive Grasshopper (1st issue)
C137 Lone Pine London (1st issue)

1966:
C159 Two Fair Plaits

1967:
C164 The Luck of Sallowby
C177 The Ambermere Treasure (2nd issue) new cover
C178 Strangers at Snowfell (2nd issue) new cover
C191 The Secret of Galleybird Pit (1st issue)

1968:
C211 The Master of Maryknoll (1st issue)
C233 The Buckinghams at Ravenswyke

1969:
C260 The Long Passage (1st issue)
C287 A Palace for the Buckinghams
C291 Not Scarlet But Gold (1st issue)
C292 Wings Over Witchend (2nd issue) new cover
C295 The Neglected Mountain (2nd issue) new cover

1970:
C308 All Summer Through
C310 Redshank's Warning (2nd issue) new cover
C352 Seven White Gates
C353 The Gay Dolphin Adventure
C354 Treasure at Amorys
C365 Christmas at Nettleford

1971:
C403 Spring Comes to Nettleford
C420 Good Dog Dandy (Armada Original)
C421 The Secret of Galleybird Pit (2nd issue) new cover and new illustrations
C435 Mystery at Witchend
C454 Man With Three Fingers

1972:
C509 The Secret of Buzzard Scar
C565 Lone Pine London (2nd issue) new cover

1973:
C725 Rye Royal
C750 The Roman Treasure Mystery (Armada Original)

1974:
C913 Strangers at Witchend
C938 Not Scarlet But Gold (2nd issue) new cover

1975:
C1045 The Secret of Grey Walls
C1046 The Elusive Grasshopper (2nd issue) new cover
C1060 Lone Pine Five

1976:
C1123 The Master of Maryknoll (2nd issue) new cover
C1160 Saucers over the Moor
C1166 The Long Passage (2nd issue) new cover

1977:
C1328 The Secret of the Gorge

1978:
C1474 Where's My Girl?
C1477 Home To Witchend (Armada Original)

1979:
C1612 Mystery Mine

1980:
C1615 Sea Witch Comes Home

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1963
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1967
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1970
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1967
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1964
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1969
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1969
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1965
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1975
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1965
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1972
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1967
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1971
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1968
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1976
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1969
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1976
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1969
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1974


This page is part of the Malcolm Saville Centenary Website. To enter this site by the front door, click here.
Illustrations copyright the artists and the respective Publishers
Text copyright John Allsup
Created November 2003
Last updated 13th May 2016