Sunday, September 25, 2022

Rocket Space Club

In my book Rocket: The First Space-Age Weekly, I wrote:

The debut issue contained a coupon for the [Rocket Space Club], with the instruction to “Keep this coupon for special founder membership of Rocket Space Club.” The club was designed to appeal to both sexes. “Space Observer and Space Nurse Badges, especially designed will be available to members. They can later qualify for the double-winged Space Pilot and Space Hostess Badge.”
    The “further details next week” revealed that by cutting out the coupons, readers would be given priority in obtaining membership, but it was only with issue three that a membership application form appeared. Four coupons were required, along with a Postal Order for 1/9d. and a stamped addressed envelope (2½d. stamp).
    The membership rank of Space Nurse was aimed at any young girls reading the paper. The question of women’s roles on spacecraft had been tackled in the ‘Editor’s Observatory’ in a response to a letter from 15-year-old readers Mary W. and Amy R. (Liverpool), who were advised that “Space Ships will certainly need nurses and hostesses.” (Rena Burrows, in ‘Captain Falcon’, holds the rank of Flight Nurse.)
    In issue 9 (16 June 1956) readers were assured that “The Rocket Space Club is growing to such an extent that it will soon be possible for members to start their own local Rocket Space Clubs. If you have started one do let me know about it, what you are doing and what your programme is.” However, while many members “now proudly wear the Space Pilot Wings—Senior Members of the most modern of clubs,” there was little else in the magazine for the membership beyond mentions in the editor’s letter and the inevitable application form and coupon.
    This changed with issue 11 (30 June 1956), where the Rocket Club became a more active part of the editorial page and, three issues later, the ‘Editor’s Observatory’ became ‘Rocket Space Club News’.
A reader who recently picked up a copy of the book mentioned that they had been a member of the Rocket Space Club and very kindly sent me a scan of the Space Observer Certificate, signed (well, a printed signature) by Douglas Bader, the supposed editor of Rocket. My thanks to Brian, who admits to being disappointed that he was not named, but given only a number.


  1. What I forgot to mention, not only did I receive a number but no name but the badge and certificate arrived after the comic ended!

    1. Maybe it was the publisher's poor attitude towards their keenest readers that led to the paper's demise.



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