Saturday, 10 December 2011

Modern Wonderland

The town of Watford has been sparing in its cultural legacy but for the single exception of Modern Wonder magazine that rolled off the presses at Odhams each week with inspirational visions of the future rendered in full colour and described in breathless prose. For 4 glorious years (1937 - 41) every Wednesday, exciting news from the frontiers of knowledge was presented to an audience of impressionable schoolboys of all ages. The cover artists portrayed a universe of technological superlatives where everything was the highest, fastest, deepest or most versatile, most lethal or most advanced. Two artists stood out – Bryan de Grineau for his dashing images positively glowing with patriotic fervour and at the other extreme, Leslie Ashwell Wood with his precise and forensic exposures of the inner workings of engineering excellence through the medium of the cutaway. The long slow descent into global warfare was increasingly reflected in the magazine content with a parade of deadly weaponry from land, sea and air.

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