red guide cover and spine designs

Later Editions

The following information provides a broad outline about the changing designs of covers and spines over the years after the early 1950s.

It should be noted that the year bands indicated are broad indications only sometimes the designs described could be found outside these date ranges.

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 1950s Red Guide front195x0-1970 front cover

195x0-1970 front cover1966-1979 front cover

(with & w/o dust wrapper)

paperback version

Early 1950s - 1970

From about 1952, hardback board covers were introduced. These were still red, but the map design was in a much smaller box. More importantly, the guides acquired a colourful red and yellow glossy dust jacket. The jackets have a map of Great Britain plus a small map of the area featured in yellow on the cover. See attached photos of front & back. The spine has a yellow top half with the area covered, a red bottom half with "Red Guide" and at the base in smaller writing "Ward Lock". The editions published in the 1950s were undated, but those published from the early 1960s onwards until 1970 were dated. Under the dust jacket the books were red with the title at the top, followed by a small square map of the area covered (a repeat of the one on the front cover but just black outline on the red cover) and "WARD LOCK" underneath. The spine is again plain red with just the title reading down and "WARD LOCK" in two lines at the bottom. As can be seen from the rear shot, there was still an extensive range of guides published (111 English/Welsh and 8 Scottish).

In about 1954, a small number of editions appeared in a card paperback style format with a black and white photograph on the cover (see adjoining illustration of Portsmouth and Southsea guide).

1970-1982 front cover1970-1982 back cover

1970s h/b and p/b

1966-1979 Complete List

1966-1979 Complete List


 1970 1982

The editions published during this period had the spine colours reversed on the dust jacket spine, separated by a white band, and a colour photo from the area covered instead of the map. The front cover now featured the yellow area map in the red area at the top along with the title. The white band continues round from the spine, contains the author's name, and the bottom two-thirds features a colour picture from the area covered. See photos attached.

These guides would appear to have been issued in both hardback and paperback versions, with the paperbacks seemingly taking over as the decade progressed. Underneath the dust jacket, the book front was just plain red, the spine Red Guide, then area covered, then Ward Lock on two lines. The Lake District book was published in a slightly larger size, both both in hard-back and paperback form. The list of titles published was much reduced to just 19 books, plus 13 'Complete' series books.

Apart from a single 1966 book (Scotland, which might have been a 'one off'), the "Complete" series titles were also published during this period. Features are a red band top and bottom of the front cover with a colour picture from the area covered in the middle. For the first time, no yellow is featured on the cover, and no map. These were an amalgamation of individual guides into larger geographical areas. Presumably with the popularity of foreign holidays during this period, it was no longer economic to produce 100+ separate guides, so the series was condensed into just the 19 'local' guides and 13 'Complete' ones. Interestingly, although the 'Complete' series were featured in the local guides, there was no mention of the 'local' guides in the 'Complete' books. There is a list of the 'Complete' series only inside the back cover (see photo).

An exception is the Baddeley's Lake District - this is altogether a better standard book than others of the period with more coloured maps and speckled red to the page ends and incorporates a red cloth bookmark. Although undated, this title dates from around 1966 and is a different style to any other Ward Lock edition.

Note: The details and pictures on this page have been kindly supplied by Steve Newman, an enthuisastic collector of the later Ward Lock editions.


1982 onwards

The red guides continued to be published at times since this date, but we have so far not tracked or documented any detail of these later publications.

If you have knowledge of this period, please contact us with any knowledge you are willing to share with others.