J. C. Squire founded The London Mercury in 1919. The first issue of the magazine contained literary work, including poems by Thomas Hardy, scientific papers by John Henry Poynting, as well as editorial content. Squire was infamously known for his literary tastes (referred to by his contemporaries as the “Squirearchy”), which excluded Eliot’s The Waste Land from being published in the magazine and it only received a few lines of review (Blunden). Although Squire’s work, both editorial and creative, shaped The London Mercury (Diepeveen 2), he was forced to leave the publication, mainly because his alcoholism was negatively affecting the quality of the publication and he was financially ruined. The September 1934 issue of the magazine did not include Squire’s name on the masthead, although it was still in the “Editorial Notes” (Huculak 253).
In October 1934 R. A. Scott-James replaced Squire as the editor of The London Mercury (Scott-Kilvert). Scott-James began making many editorial changes to the publication, such as broadening the literary and artistic scope of the magazine, as well as making it more political. In 1935 The Bookman was incorporated into The London Mercury. Scott-James’ editorial note stated his reasoning for keeping certain sections of the publication and excluding others, and his belief that the merger would be successful because of the similarity between the two publications. After the merger The London Mercury and Bookman only lasted another four years, the final issue being in April 1939. While the literary content of the magazine had not been the same during Scott-James’ term as editor as it had been during Squire’s, the final issue contained W. H. Auden’s “In Memory of W. B. Yeats” (Huculak 254-259).