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Friday, 13 September 2013

“A Story of Human Wrong, of Human Suffering; of Evil, of Good; of Sorrow, of Succour…The Weakness and Trust of Woman, and the Treachery and Infidelity of Man.” Or: The Unwanted Children of the 19th Century:

The Victorian era gave birth to many institutions, most of which were hugely beneficial to society’s neediest lives, such as Great Ormond Street Hospital, the Ragged Schools and Battersea Dogs and Cats home. Such gestures, however, were not confined to the period of the Victorians, and whilst The Foundling Hospital may conjure up images of Oliver Twist-esque waifs and strays being educated by strict Victorian schoolmasters,
The Hospital (not actually a hospital, but a place that offered hospitality) was established in 1741, but ran from then, all the way through the nineteenth century, and well into the second decade of the twentieth.
Its purpose was to act as a home for destitute children, and to care for and educate them until they were old enough to seek work and look after themselves, thus removing them from the streets.

The children who occupied the Hospital would be the offspring of mothers who were unable to care for them. However, a woman could not simply turn up with a child born out of wedlock and turn it over to prevent a scandal; she had to prove her good character, and demonstrate that the father had walked out on the family, leaving her unable to cope, and with no option but give up the infant for its own benefit and hers.

The following article from Strand Magazine explores the history of the Foundling Hospital, and reveals that despite being generally a good thing for children, when it came time for them to step out into the real world, they – in particular the girls – could often struggle to adapt:

The Foundling Hospital is not an institution for the reception of foundlings. This will be news to five-sixths of our readers, and it is easy to imagine some of them exclaiming: “But do you mean to tell us that, if we discover a human mite abandoned on someone’s doorstep, and take it to the Foundling Hospital, it will not be admitted?” We do. “Why, then, call the place a Foundling Hospital?” Thereby hangs a deeply interesting story – a story of human wrong, of human suffering; of evil, of good; of sorrow, of succour – a veritable world’s story, focusing the large-souled sympathy of mankind, the weakness and trust of woman, and the treachery and infidelity of man.

The institution owes its origin to one of Nature’s noblemen; it is a monument equally to the head and the heart of Captain Thomas Coram. Captain Coram, in no ordinary sense of the word, went about doing good. His life was made up of attempts to improve something or somebody. Early in the eighteenth century, he used, in his walks between the City, where he had business, and Rotherhithe, where he lived, to constantly come across young children left by the wayside, “sometimes alive, sometimes dead, and sometimes dying.” In other countries such children would be taken up by the state, and cared for; in England nothing of the sort had ever been attempted, or even perhaps dreamed of. Captain Coram’s heart was touched by surely the most pitiable sight in creation, and to touch Captain Coram’s heart was to set the machinery of his resourceful brain in motion. He rightly considered such exposure of infant humanity a disgrace to civilization, and proceeded to enlist the services of the high-placed and the large-hearted in the cause. For seventeen long years he laboured against adverse circumstances, until, in 1739, his efforts were rewarded by a charter authorising the founding of an institution “for the maintenance and education of exposed and deserted young children.”

A fine statue of Captain Coram, by W. C. Marshall, R.A., and a stone tablet to his memory, placed on the wall of the arcade in front of the building, are the first things to catch the visitors eye. Coram lived, we are told, to be eighty-four, and died “poor in worldly estate, rich in good works.” To help the new-born infant, he brought his grey hairs, if not in sorrow, at least in poverty to the grave. Like so many other benefactors of mankind, in striving to alleviate distress, this “indefatigable schemist” forgot himself, and had he, in his devotion, not had friends who gave more regard to his material needs than he gave himself, he might have closed his eyes to mundane affairs in want by the wayside, even as the objects of his solicitude opened theirs.

Foundling Girls
It is not necessary to go here at great length into the early mistakes made, or to describe how the institution failed of the purpose which the founder had in view. It was intended by him to meet the necessities of deserted motherhood; it came, in the middle of the last century, to be a receptacle for all the babes whom worthless parents did not care to keep. A basket was hung outside gates of the Hospital. On the first day 117 children were left in it, and a lucrative trade sprung up among tramps who, for a consideration, carried the little ones from all parts of England to the Hospital. In less than four years, 14,934 infants were thus disposed of.

These “regiments of infantry,” as a waggish commentator called them, overwhelmed the resources of the institution, and it is not surprising to learn that, from various causes, not more than 4,000 of the 14,934 survived, the indiscriminate admission of children had to be abolished. Later, it was decided to receive children for money, but this step resulted in other abuses, and we have the authority of the admirable account of the Hospital, compiled by a former secretary, and revised by the present, Mr. W. S. Wintle – a work which may be purchased for half a crown, and is well worth attentive study – for stating that, since January, 1801, no child has been received into the Hospital, either directly or indirectly, with any sum of money, large or small.

Today the practice is for the mother to take the babe before it is twelve months old to the Hospital, to make her statement before the authorities, and to leave the child to their care absolutely. She must be poor, she must be anxious to regain her good name, and no woman who petitions that her child may be admitted to the Hospital stands a chance of relief if she cannot prove that she has led a life of propriety previous to her misfortune. This point cannot be too strongly borne in mind. As the Reverend Sydney Smith, one of the preachers of the Foundling Chapel puts it:-

“No child drinks of our cup or eats of our bread whose reception, upon the whole, is not certain to be more conducive than pernicious to the interests of religion and good morals. We hear no mother whom it would not be merciless and shocking to turn away; we exercise the trust reposed in us with a trembling and sensitive conscience; we do not think it enough to say. ‘This woman is wretched, and betrayed, and forsaken’; but we calmly reflect if it be expedient that her tears should be dried up, her loneliness sheltered, and all her wants receive the ministration of charity.”
Foundling Boys
No instance of a mother going to the bad after she has been relieved by the Governors of the Foundling Hospital has, we believe, ever come to notice!

The general public knows most of the Foundling Hospital from a visit to the chapel on a Sunday morning. Anyone who is prepared to drop a silver coin into the plate at the door is admitted. The spectacle is impressive. In the galleries at the west end of the chapel, on either side of the organ, are seated some five hundred boys and girls, better behaved probably than any other considerable number of young people who appear in church regularly every Sunday. Their happy faces are perhaps a greater pleasure to gaze upon than their healthy voices are to listen to. Divine service over, at one o’ clock they march into their respective dining-rooms, the boys being in one wing of the building and the girls in the other. Grace in the former is sung to the accompaniment of a cornet, which one of the boys plays. When they take their places at table, the spectator will find none lacking in appetite for the simple honest repast. On the opposite side of the building the girls are doing not less justice to themselves and those who have provided and prepared the dinner.
The Chapel

The scene on any Sunday morning in the year 1891 is precisely that which Charles Dickens described in “No Thoroughfare,” a quarter of a century ago: -

“There are numerous lookers-on at the dinner, as the custom is. There are two or three governors, whole families from the congregation, smaller groups of both sexes, individual stragglers of various degrees. The bright autumnal sun strikes freshly into the wards, and the heavy framed windows through which it shines, and the paneled walls on which it strikes, are such windows and such walls as pervade Hogarth’s pictures. The girls’ refectory (including that of the younger children) is the principal attraction. Neat attendants silently glide about the orderly and silent tables; the lookers-on move or stop as the fancy takes them; comments in whispers on face such a number from such a window are not infrequent; many of the faces are of a character to fix attention. Some of the visitors from the outside public are accustomed visitors. They have established a speaking acquaintance with the occupants of particular seats at the tables, and halt at these points to bend down and say a word or two. It is no disparagement to their kindness that those points are generally points where personal attractions are. The monotony of the long spacious rooms and the double lines of faces is agreeably relieved by these incidents, although so slight.”

There is not much to see in the classrooms, which will not be fully conveyed in our illustrations. As we enter the boys room, we are momentarily startled by the shuffle of feet as every boy rises respectfully in his place. Not being professional school inspectors, such honours are not often accorded us. Resuming their seats, the class work goes on as at any ordinary school. So with the girls. The most interesting of the classes is that of the infants. On the day on which we visit the Foundling for the especial purpose of this paper, they are turned out of their ordinary room, and are squatted on the floor of another in sections before blackboards, and with slates in their laps. They are the veriest, chubbiest urchins imaginable, and, as we approach, three or four of them turn their smiling faces up to ours. They evidently expect to be spoken to, and we ask them what they are doing?
            “Writin’,” answers a babe of very few summers.
            “Writing what?” we ask.
            “Good,” is the reply, as a little finger points to the blackboard on which the word is written in bold characters.
            “And are you good?”
            “Es,” and with a “That’s right!” we pat the baby cheek, and think many things. Poor little mites, and yet happy withal! Motherless, fatherless, friendless, and yet inmates of an institution which is not such a bad substitute for father, mother, and friends. What would they be but for it? Recruits perchance in the ranks of shame into which their mothers might have drifted. And their mothers? Who knows but that somewhere out in the world, women are living, and working, and sleeping; dreaming, wondering how fares the helpless mortal for whose existence they are responsible, for whom they still bear a love which no barrier of separation can obliterate?

Foundling Infants

From the school-rooms let us go to the museum, where are stored some valuable and many curiosities. Pictures by Hogarth and others line the walls, and it is an interesting item of information that the Royal Academy of Arts, to which the fashionable world flocks today, was suggested to the founders by the crowds of people who in the last century went to see pictures exhibited at the Foundling Hospital. Artists rallied strongly to the support of the institution, which also enlisted the services of Handel, who devoted his “Messiah” to its benefit, and presented the organ which is still in use. Lovers of art history and art treasures will find much on the walls and in the show-cases of the Foundling Hospital to gratify them. What will attract the majority of people more, however, than Handel’s gifts, or Hogarth’s or Sir Joshua Reynolds’ canvases, are the tokens which it early became necessary to stipulate should be left with the child for the purpose, if need be, of identification. All sorts of things were left, from a coin or a key, to a trinket of piece of ribbon. Hearts and wedding rings are numerous, the former, no doubt, emblems more often than not of broken hearts, the latter eloquent of disappointed hopes. In some instances, the token took the shape of a verse.
The Museum
What becomes of the inmates of the Hospital when the time arrives to turn them out into the world to gain a living? The boys, at the age of fourteen, are usually apprenticed to some trade. A great many of them, however, who have formed part of the juvenile band at the Hospital, join the bands of the army and navy. In this position they seem to do especially well. Testimonials of gratitude from lads brought up at the Hospital are not wanting. One is a handsome Chinese vase, bearing the inscription:

“Presented to the Foundling Hospital by George Ross, Corporal, Band, 74th Highlanders, as a small token of gratitude for the years of childhood spent in the institution. Hong Kong, 15th February, 1879.”

Another is an inkstand made of Irish bog oak, and was

“Presented to the Governors of the Foundling Hospital by Corporal Samuel Reid, a foundling, of her majesty’s Regiment Military Train, as a token of deep gratitude. April 26, 1868.”

The girls go into domestic service, and with initial care make excellent servants. In these days, when good domestics are so difficult to get, the demand for foundling girls is much greater than the supply. Whatever the deprivations of the children may be on account of the want of individual motherly love, the real hardships of the lives of the girls begin when they leave the Hospital. They are educated in everything save worldly knowledge. Where an ordinary girl runs errands for her parents, and becomes a little woman by the time she reaches her teens, the foundling girls remain in absolute ignorance of how to purchase any single article, or transact the simplest affairs outside the home. This is one drawback.

Girls in Class

Another and sadder is when, standing on the threshold of the great world, they realize that they are not as the majority of other girls are. They go to service, and they have not a friend of any kind to see or to talk about. Do what it will, the Hospital cannot supply the place of relatives, and, however much her origin may be screened from her fellow servants, in all probability the time comes when the latter say:
            “How strange we never hear you speak of your father, or your mother, or your sister, or your brother.”
Then the lonely maiden invents little stories and tells fibs, which the most truthful among us may pardon, respecting the father and mother who are dead, or whatever other explanation may occur to her. If the inquisitive world only knew what pain its thoughtless enquiries may cause!

A visit to the Foundling Hospital will afford food for many an hour’s reflection. We are often urged to recognize woman’s equality with man. The Foundling Hospital is a pathetic reminder of her eternal inequality.
- Strand Magazine, 1891

The Foundling Hospital is no longer there, but Captain Coram’s name still lives on in Coram’s Fields, a children’s park (into which adults are only allowed if accompanied by a child under sixteen) situated between Regent’s Park and Clerkenwell where the hospital stood for 187 years before it was moved outside London in the 1920’s.
A plaque at the entrance to the park commemorates the history of the area with these words:

The site of the Foundling Hospital established in 1739 by Captain Thomas Coram were offered for sale as building land in 1926 when owing to changing social conditions the old Hospital was sold and demolished.
After eight years of anxiety as to its fate, the site was eventually preserved for the use and welfare of the children of Central London by the generosity and vision of Harold Viscount Rothermere, by the efforts of the Foundling Site Appeal Council, by the co-operation of the Governors of the Foundling Hospital, and of the Education Committee of the London County Council, and by the enthusiasm of many thousands of donors, large and small, who contributed their money, or their toil to the saving of these nine acres, henceforth to be known as

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

“Pushing the Door Open with a Creak I am at Once Surrounded by the old Familiar Smell; the Acidic and Vinegary Smell of Old Leather Bound Books from a Bygone Age…” Or: A Return to the Dusty Factory of Nineteenth Century Appreciation:

It's morning. Early. Despite the recent warm weather there is a fine mist of cool water hanging in the air as if a cloud has fallen from the sky and landed amongst us. The only sound I can hear is of the soles of my shoes clacking upon the floor and grinding the tiny particles of grit on the tarmac. My destination is close now. I have not been here for some months, but I feel as if I have never left as the familiar sights and sounds bring the past forward, colliding with the present.

It is unusually dark, but, for the lack of light and the damp air, unusually warm, too. It is August, and I suppose as we phase awkwardly from summer into autumn, the enigmatic weather is wont to contradict itself.

Looming closer is my destination. Shrouded by the mist and the early morning twilight it looks like some great animal, watching me draw near, incredulous at my late return, at once excited, but also vexed at my lengthy absence. As I approach the door the finer details are painted into the beast by my nearing proximity, and the broad brushstrokes that made it seem animalistic are replaced, and the looming creature morphs into a familiar and friendly presence, excitedly welcoming me back.

Just as you may be apart from a friend for a length of time, and upon being reacquainted may notice small differences in them that may have gone unseen had you been in their presence more frequently, I notice the face of the building has undergone minor changes; the weeds upon the front step have grown longer than I have ever seen, the hot summer has caused the once-striking red paint of the door to fade and begin to peel, and the windowsill has become thick with dust and dirt. All this will be attended to in time.

Above the door I read the sign with the same pride with which I read it the day it was hung almost three years ago. 'The Victorianist'. I whisper it aloud.

Pushing the door open with a creak I am at once surrounded by the old familiar smell; the acidic and vinegary smell of old leather bound books from a bygone age. Paper touched by our ancestors and passed down through the generations to find its way to me. I am, like previous persons, but a stepping stone for these old tomes. Long after me they will find new custodians to keep them and enjoy them. They have outlived so many, and will outlive many more yet.

The one window in this building of wood is miserly in its allowance of light, and so I reach for the light switch and flick it, but nothing happens. Stepping forward over the threshold I stumble upon a pile of mail; it seems I have much work to do...

When the light is returned, and the weeds pulled up, and the window cleaned and the dust is blown from these old books, business can once again resume and this little wooden factory of nineteenth century appreciation can once again get running.

First, I must get a fire going. I tread across the creaky wooden boards to the knee-high cupboard and take out the matches I knew I had left there, for when I was last here it was May, yet we were still in the throes of winter. A few lumps of coal and newspaper still remain and in no time a small fire is burning in the grate, crackling and throwing obscure orange shadows up the walls. Then she catches my eye, sitting proudly on the wall of the chimney breast, from whence she has watched everything for the last three years from behind her gilt frame. Although she was the first item I brought into this place, I had forgotten she was here.

There is no mistaking her mood as she sits regally, staring out at me with a displeased look. She is photographed here in 1897, the year of her diamond jubilee, and yet, despite her expression having been captured in a second, all those years ago, I feel it has been reserved for this moment, as she registers her annoyance at my lengthy absence.

I bow my head to her and agree; 'Yes, your Majesty, it has been too long...'

Then, like an industrious squirrel at the dawn of winter, I scurry off to do my work...

Thursday, 2 May 2013


Last September, this blog explored the fun, yet often melancholy world of the Victorian music hall and the lives of those who illuminated the stage. (read those articles here:)

But for a more in-depth exploration of this fascinating world of gas-light, music, laughs and celebrity, I direct you toward the fabulous Hoxton Hall – an original 1860’s music hall – for a day of music hall history and gaiety!
From Charlie Chaplin to Vesta Tilley, the working-class theatre and its performers captured the imagination of the Victorian and Edwardian period. This exciting and unique conference explores how such a controversial art form influenced popular perceptions, and still resonates in the world we live in today.

Held at Hoxton Hall, on May 11th 2013, and organized by King’s College, London and the University of Liverpool, this one-day conference will explore the history of one of the most exciting, subversive and controversial forms of theatre from the 19th Century. 

The first example of mass entertainment in Britain, the music hall’s influence over fashion, language, society, and culture continues to resonate today, while remaining one of the most enduring art forms of the Victorian period. On the other side of the Atlantic, vaudeville had a similar impact, helping produce a mass audience of consumers, in advance of the development of film and television. In addition, American performers found opportunities in the UK, and vice versa, becoming carrier of cultural exchange in the process.

This conference seeks to bring together all those working on any aspect of the Music Halls, both nationally and internationally, for a day of discussion and discovery. 
We are looking for papers from all disciplines: Drama, Performance Studies, History, English, Geography, Music, Social Sciences, and Digital Humanities, etc. 
We welcome submissions from established scholars, early career researchers, Phd students, as well as performers, and members of relevant societies. 
Papers could explore:

This conference takes place on 11th May 2013 at 9am.

£25.00 Full Admission
£20 Concession for Students 

For more information or to book tickets, please find your way to the event website, or simply allow me to do all the hard work for you, and click here:

Friday, 19 April 2013

“The Show-Case of the East-end Photographer Gives One a Very Fair Idea of the Evolution of the Foreign Immigrant…” Or: A Day With an 1890’s East-End Photographer:

In the last post here we delved into the history of The Strand magazine and its owner, George Newnes. It felt it quite appropriate, then, to follow that with an article from that publication.

This article relates to one of the real heroes of the Victorian era, and one without whom I doubt my passion and interest for the subject would be so great;

The photographer.

One of the great beauties of studying the Victorian era is the fact that it was the first period in history ever to be photographed, and Queen Victoria the first ever monarch to have a portrait done, not by an artist under pressure to hide the blemishes and bring out the best features of regal subject, but by the ever-truthful camera. We will never know for certain what former kings and queens really looked like, or what the streets of the world looked like in earlier eras, but the latter-half of the nineteenth century is there in photographs for the world to see.

Such is my enthusiasm for Victorian photography that not too long ago I decided to begin sharing the pictures I have saved on a Tumblr photo blog, which you can find here:

Although it is a little London-centric, there are nineteenth century photographs from other parts of the UK there too.

I have many books containing Victorian street photography, which are invaluable research sources, and photographs of people can provide great insights into the fashions of all classes of the day. Having looked at so many photos its great to be able to get an insight into the life of the man behind the lens, and for that, this article is just fantastic, and illustrates what The Strand did so well.

I have published on this blog a few other posts about Victorian photography, for which I will provide links below the main article:

A Day with an East-End Photographer
“Here y’are now, on’y sixpence for yer likeness, the ‘ole thing, ‘strue’s life. Come inside now, won’tcher? No waitin’. Noo instanteraneous process.”

Thus, with the sweet seductiveness of an East-end tout, was a photographer endeavouring to inveigle ‘Arry and ‘Arriet into his studio, which was situated – well, “down East som’ere,” as the inhabitants themselves would describe the locality. It was somewhere near the Docks; somewhere, you may be sure, close bordering upon that broad highway that runs ‘twixt Aldgate and the Dock-gates, for within those boundaries the tide of human life flows most strongly, and the photographer hoped, by stationing himself there, to catch a few of the passers-by, thrown in his way like flotsam and jetsam. He was not disappointed in his expectation. While daylight lasted there was generally a customer waiting in his little back parlour, enticed thither by the blandishments of the tout outside.

The establishment was not prepossessing to an eye cultivated in the appearance of the artistic facades of photographers in the West. The frontage consisted of a little shop, with diminutive windows, which it was the evident desire of the proprietor to make the most of by engaging in other commercial pursuits.
There seemed to be an incongruity in the art of the photographer being associated with the sale of coals, firewood, potatoes, sweets and gingerbeer, but the East-enders apparently did not trouble themselves to consider this in the least. There was, indeed, a homely flavour about this miscellaneous assortment of useful and edible articles, which commended itself to their mind. What was more natural than that ‘Arry, having indulged in the luxury of a photograph, should pursue his day’s dissipation by treating his ‘Arriet to a bottle of the exhilarating “pop,” to say nothing of a bag of sweets to eat on their holiday journey.

The coals, firewood and potato department, so far from being regarded as in any way derogatory to the photographer’s profession, was rather calculated to impress the natives, who were accustomed to look upon a heap of coals – to say nothing of the firewood and potatoes – as a material sign of prosperity.

So far as the photographer was concerned, it was a matter of necessity as well as choice that he came to be thus associated, for it transpired that he had married the buxom woman, whom we now see behind the counter, at a time when he was trying hard to make ends meet in the winter season, when photography is as a discount. She, on the other hand, had a thriving little business of the general nature we have indicated, and was mourning the loss of the partner who had inaugurated the shop, and for a time had shared with her his joys and sorrows, the photographer had won her heart by practicing his art on Hampstead Heath the last Bank Holiday, and the happy acquaintance thus formed had ripened into one of such mutual affection that the union was consummated, and another department was added to the little general business by the conversion of the yard at the back into a photographic studio.

The placards announcing the price coals and firewood, and the current market rates of potatoes, were elevated to the top-most panes of the window, and the lower half was filled with a gorgeous array of specimen portraits in all the glory of their tinsel frames.
From that day the shop was a huge attraction, and the proprietor of the wax-work show over the way cast glances of ill-conceived envy and jealousy at the crowd which had deserted his frontage for the later inducements opposite.

The incoming vessels from foreign ports brought many visitors, and generally a few customers. To the foreign element the window was especially fascinating. Many a face of strange mien stared in at the window, and the photographer being somewhat of an adept with an instantaneous camera, would often secure a “snap shot” of some curious countenance, the owner of which could not be enticed within. These would duly appear in the show cases, and served as decoys to others of the same nationality.
 There was a solemn-faced Turk in showy fez, and with dainty cigarette ‘twixt his fingers, who surveyed the window with immutable countenance, and was impervious to all the unction of the tout. This latter worthy was not aware that it was against the religion of the “unspeakable Turk” to be photographed, or he would not have wasted his energy on such an unpromising customer.

The negro sailor was apparently struck with the presentments of the other members of his race, but asseverated that he was “stone broke,” and did not own a cent to pay for his photograph. He had spent such small earnings as he had received, and was now on his way back to his vessel. “Me no good, me no money,” he told the tout, who turned away from him in disgust.

There has so far been a good many passers-by today for every likely customer, and the tout is almost in despair. “Rotters,” he mutters; “not a blessed tanner among ‘em.”

Ah! Here’s his man, though, and he is on the alert for his prey, as he sees a dapper little figure with unmistakable Japanese features come sauntering down the street. He is dressed in the most approved style of the East-end tailor, who no doubt has assured him that he is a “reg’lar masher.” So evidently thinks the little Japanese man, as he shoots his cuffs forward, flourishes his walking cane, and displays a set of ivory white teeth in his guileless Celestial smile. The tout rubs his hands with a business-like air of satisfaction as he sees the victim safely handed over to the tender mercies of the operator within. “Safe for five bobs’ worth that ‘un,” he soliloquises, winking at no one in particular, but possibly just to relieve his feelings by force of habit.

The next customer attracted in was an Ayah, or Hindoo nurse, a type often to be seen in the show-case of the East-end photographer. These women find their way to England through engagements as nurses to Anglo-Indian families coming home, and they work their way back by re-engagements to families outward bound. Whenever a P.&O. boat arrives there will probably be seen one or more of these women, whose stately walk and Oriental attire at once attract attention.
Prominent also among the natives who find their way up from the Docks are the Malay sailors, in their picturesque white dresses. Sometimes the photographer secures a couple for a photo, but as a rule they have little money. “Like all the rest o’ them blessed haythens,” says the tout, “not a bloomin’ meg among a ‘ole baker’s dozen of ‘em.”

The faces of such types are not, however, interesting to the East-enders. Their interest in the window display is only heightened when familiar faces make their appearance in the tinsel frames. There was, for instance, positive excitement in the neighbourhood when a highly-coloured portrait of the landlord of a well-known beershop in the same street was added to the collection.
Everyone recognised the faithfulness at once, though it was irreverently hinted that in the colouring the exact shade of the gentleman’s nose had not been faithfully copied.

One can imagine the feelings of pride with which the photographer has posed his worthy neighbour, who had arrayed himself in all the glory of his Sunday best suit.
“Head turned a little this way, please! Yes – now – look at this – yes – now, look pleasant!”

Everything would have gone well at this point, but the dog, which it was intended should form an important adjunct to the picture, and symbolically typify the sign of the house – “The Jolly Dog” – set up a mournful howl, and made desperate efforts to et away from the range of that uncanny instrument in front of him. However, the photographer waited for a more favourable moment, and while the dog was considering the force of his master’s remarks, the exposure was successfully made. The result was regarded as quite a chef d’oeuvre in the eyes of those who stopped to gaze at it as it hung in a place of honour in the window of the little front shop.

The “reg’lar” East-enders, as distinguished from the foreign element, were, indeed, very easy to please; but, unfortunately, they were not the mainstay of the photographers business. He must needs look for other customers to eke out a living. And here his difficulties began. He had to be careful not to take a low type of Jewish features in profile, for the foreign Jew, once he has been acclimatized, does not like to look “sheeny”; and the descendants of Ham – euphemistically classed under the generic term of “gentlemen of colour” – were always fearful lest their features should come out too dark. One young negro who came to be photographed expressly stipulated that he should not be made to look black. To obviate this difficulty, the photographer wets his customer’s face with water, so as to present a shiny appearance to the lens of the camera, and a brighter result is thus secured.
On this particular occasion the ingenious dodge failed, and the vain young negro loudly denounced it as representing him a great deal blacker than he was in the flesh. Indeed, the tears sparkled in his eyes as he protested that he was “no black n***er.”

There is a subtle distinction, mark you, between a “n***er” and a “black n***er” in the mind of a “coloured person,” and no greater insult can be leveled at him than to apply the latter epithet.

The tout’s thoughts are soon distracted by the appearance of a German fraulein, evidently of very recent arrival in England, who is admiring the photos in the window. She is arrayed in a highly-coloured striped dress, which is not of a length that would be accepted at the West-end, for it reaches only to the ankles, and shoes her feet encased in a clumsy pair of boots. An abnormally large green umbrella which she carries is another characteristic feature that seems inseparable from women of this type.

The tout has a special method of alluring women folk within the studio. He has a piece of mirror let into one of the tinsel frames which he carries in his hand as specimens. He holds this up before the woman’s face, and asks her to observe what a picture she would make. This little artifice seldom fails to attract the women, whatever their nationality, for vanity is vanity all over the world.

John Chinaman is quite as easily satisfied, and the tout has no difficulty in drawing him within, but the drawback to his custom is that he seldom has any money, or, if he has any, is not inclined to part with it. It is just a “toss-up,” as the tout says, whether he will pay, if he gets the Celestial inside, though it is worth the risk when business is not very brisk.

Here is a fine specimen of a Celestial coming along. Western civilisation, as yet, has made no impression on him, and he looks for all the world the Chinaman of the willow-pattern plate in the window of the tea shop. John falls an easy prey to the tout, who ushers him inside, and whispers to the “Guv’nor” in a mysterious aside: “Yew du’im for nothin’, if ye can’t get him to brass up. Lots o’ Chaneymen about to-day, an’ ‘e’ll advertise the business.”
He customer is thereupon posed with especial favour, the photographer feeling that the reputation of the business in the Celestial mind depends on the success of this effort. Chinese accessories are called into play; John Chinaman is seated in a bamboo chair, against a bamboo table, supporting a flower vase which looks suspiciously as though it had once served as a receptacle for preserved ginger. Overhead is hung a paper lantern, and the background is turned round so that the stretcher frame of the canvas may give the appearance of a Chinese interior. There is no need to tell the sitter to look pleasant, for his features at once expand into that peculiar smile which Bret Harte has described as “child-like and bland.”

The photo is duly completed and handed over to the customer for his inspection and approval. He manifests quite a childish delight, and is about to depart with it, when he is reminded by word and sign that he has not paid. John very well understands the meaning of it all, but smiles vacuously. When, however, the photographer begins to look threatening, he whines in his best English that he has no money. The photographer slaps him all round in the hope of hearing a jingle of concealed coins, but to no purpose. “Another blessed specimen, gratis!” he mutters, as he allows his unprofitable customer to depart with the photo, in the hope that it will attract some of his fellow-countrymen to the studio. This seems quite likely, for the Chinaman goes off in a transport of delight. He stops now and again to survey the photo, and the appearance of it evidently gives such satisfaction that he goes dancing off like a child to show it to his Celestial brethren. They straightway resolve to go and have a photograph for nothing.

A group of chattering Chinamen soon appear in the front of the photographer’s shop, with the late customer in the midst explaining how the trick is done. It seems to be finally resolved that they should go in one at a time, the others waiting outside. One young member of the party accordingly steps forward, and the tout, delighted to see the bait has so soon taken, never considers the possibility that this customer likewise has no money.

The same scene is enacted as in the previous case, but when it comes to the point of paying for the photo, and John Chinaman is found to be absolutely penniless, there is an unrehearsed ending to the little comedy. The proprietor of the photographic establishment seizes the Chinaman by the collar and drags him into the front shop, where the tout, in instant comprehension of the state of affairs, takes the offender in hand and very neatly kicks him over the doorstep, whence he falls into the midst of his compatriots, who all take to their heels, screaming in a high-pitched key. The tout looks at their rapidly retreating figures with a countenance eloquently expressive of mingled sorrow and anger, vowing vengeance on any other of “them haythen Chaynees” who might choose to try the game of securing photos for nothing. “Ought to be all jolly well drownded in the river,” he remarks to his colleage in-doors.

'Some Foreign Immigrants'

On the other hand, the heavy-browed, gaunt-cheeked, male Teuton is not so easy to attract, but the photographer can trust the course of things to bring him eventually to the studio. When first imported he stares in at the window in a stolid, indifferent manner. His face has a hungry look, and is shadowed by a heavily slouched hat; his hair is unkempt; he wears an untidy and unclean scarf; his boots are big and heavy, and his trousers several inches too short for him.

In a short time, however, he will blossom forth into a billycock hat, with broad and curly brim of the most approved East-end cut; patent leather boots to match, and a very loud red tie. The hungry look has by this time given way to a sleek, well-fed nature, and he will stroll along with a Teuton sweetheart, likewise transformed very much from her former self. The short, gaudily striped dress has given way to the latest “’krect thing” in East-end fashion, and the green stuff umbrella has gone the way of the striped skirt, to be replaced by the latest novelty in “husband beaters.” Then it is that Teutonic ‘Arry and ‘Arriet patronize the photographer, and rejoice his heart with, perhaps, a five-shilling order.

The show-case of the East-end photographer gives one a very fair idea of the evolution of the foreign immigrant.

The tout seemed to know the history of every person whose photograph was displayed in the show-case, and he was rattling it off to us at a rate which precluded any possibility of storing it up in our memory, when a slight diversion was created by a coster’s barrow, drawn by a smart little pony, being driven up to the front of the photographer’s.
The driver was Mr. Higgins, we learnt, and the other occupants of the barrow were Mrs. Higgins and the infant son and heir to the Higgins’ estate, which was reputed to be something considerable in the costermongers’ way, as was evidenced by the fact that Mr. Higgins was enabled to keep a pony to draw his barrow. Mrs. Higgins had determined that ‘Enery – at one year and eight months – should have his photograph taken and afterwards be glorified in a coloured enlargement. Mr. Higgins had assented to this being done regardless of expense. It was a weighty responsibility for the photographer, who always considered the taking of babies was not his strong point. But he reflected upon the increased fame which would accrue to his business if he was successful, and he determined to do it or perish in the attempt.

He made hasty preparations by selecting the most tempting stick of toffy he could find in the sweetstuff window, and the tout was instructed to procure from a neighbouring toy shop a doll, a rattle, a penny trumpet, and other articles dear to the juvenile mind.

The youthful Higgins was duly placed in a chair, behind which Mrs. Higgins was ensconced with a view to assisting the photographer by preserving a proper equilibrium in the sitter, and also ensuring confidence in the infantile mind.

So far, the child had been quietly sucking his thumb and surveying the studio with an interested air, but no sooner was his attention directed to the photographer than a distrustful frown settled upon his face and, and his irritation at the photographer’s presence found expression in a yell of infantile wrath. The more the photographer tried to conciliate by flourishing toys the more the child yelled. The photographer danced and sung, and blew the penny trumpet, and was about to give up in the operation in despair, when it dawned on him that he had forgotten the toffy stick. It was produced, and had its effect.

On being assured by Mrs. Higgins, behind the chair, that the “ducksy darling would have its toffy stick,” the youthful sitter held that prospective joy with his tear-glistening eye, and the photographer seizing a favourable moment performed the operation with a sigh of satisfaction. Baby Higgins had its toffy stick, Mrs. Higgins had a pleasing photo of her infant offspring, and the photographer proudly congratulated himself on having so successfully performed his task.

The production of such elaborate efforts as the coloured enlargements was, however, attended with disadvantages and disappointments at times. It was hard to give entire satisfaction to such exacting critics in these matters as East-end folk. And there was always the risk that the picture might be thrown upon his hands if not liked.

Taking it all round, his time was much more profitably enjoyed out of doors on high days and holidays, in taking sixpenny “tintypes” “while you wait!”

We have seen him on a Bank Holiday beaming with good luck. He has started out early in the morning with the intention of proceeding to Hampstead, but instead of going thither, he pitches his camera near the walls of the Docks, and manages to catch a good many passers-by before they have had the opportunity of spending their money in the pleasures of a London Bank Holiday. Here he has succeeded in inducing ‘Arry and ‘Arriet to have their photos taken.

Such is a chapter in the life of an East-end photographer. Today he may be doing a “roaring” business, but tomorrow he may be reduced to accepting the twopences and threepences of children who club together and and wait upon him with a demand that he will take “Me, an’ Mary Ann, an’ little Mickey all for thruppence.” He invariably assents, knowing that, though there can be little profit, the photo will create a feeling of envy in the minds of other children who will decide on having a “real tip topper” at sixpence.

The stock-in-trade of an East-end photographer is not a very elaborate one. He may pick up the whole apparatus second-hand for about £5, and the studio and fittings are not expensive. The thin metal plates cost not more than 10s. per gross, and the tinsel binding frames about 3s. per gross, while the chemicals amount to an infinitesimal sum on each plate. On a good day a turnover of £2 to £3 may be made, but there are many ups and downs, and trials of temper and patience, to say nothing of the unhealthy nature of the business, all going to make up many disadvantages associated with the life of an East-end photographer.
-          Strand Magazine, 1891

There are so many wonderful cultural references in this article that it is a mine of great information, and the pictures are just stunning (particularly Baby Higgins!)
A Teuton, by-the-by, is a Germanic person. In this article the author is probably referring to a German.

In these days in which every member of the public has a powerful camera in their pocket, spare a thought for the tout on the street in 1891 trying to drum up business to take the type of pictures we today can take anywhere, anytime and in a matter of seconds!

If you enjoyed this, you may also like these other Victorian photography-based articles (click on descriptions to go to the articles)

Thursday, 4 April 2013

“American Magazines were Supplanting Those of Native Birth. The Strand Magazine Checked That, and Established a New Record of Sales in this Country…” Or: George Newnes & The Strand Magazine:

After the history of the famous Punch magazine was explored in the previous post, I thought it a good time to delve into the story of another favourite historical magazine of mine; The Strand.

Without question, The Strand is most famous for being the first to give page-space to Sherlock Holmes. Indeed, Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective – and in particular ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ – was responsible for the magazine’s highest distribution figures, peaking at over half a million copies per month during the serialization of the aforementioned story.

The Strand was a combination of factual articles (a couple of which I have used here on this blog) and fictional tales written by many of the leading authors of the day.
During its sixty year run from 1890 to 1950 the magazine published stories and articles by notable writers such as H.G. Wells, Arthur Morrison, Agatha Christie, P.G. Wodehouse, Rudyard Kipling and Dorothy L. Sayers. Even Queen Victoria and Churchill had pieces published within its pages. (Although the Queen Victoria piece was only a sketch she had drawn of one of her children)

Many may also recognize the front cover of the magazine, which is a delightful sketch of The Strand in London looking toward Mary le Strand. The cover was designed by the artist George Charles Haite, who has charmingly suspended the title of the magazine from the telegraph wires which zig-zag the thoroughfare.

A lesser claim to fame that the magazine can boast is that it was the first to include within its pages something now featured in all the daily newspapers in this country; a dedicated puzzles page.
Early in the twentieth century (possibly around 1910) under a column entitled Perplexities the magazine contained conundrums and brain-teasers, including the first appearances of cross-number puzzles (think of a cross-word but with numbers)

From 1910 until his death from throat cancer in 1930, the author of these perplexities was the mathematical genius Henry Dudeney.

Born in Mayfield, East Sussex, Henry’s grandfather, John Dudeney, was a self-taught mathematician (and, incidentally, was also a shepherd) and in his early years Henry looked up to his grandfather’s skills (as a mathematician, not a shepherd) with much admiration.
Henry Dudeney c.1910
He learned to play chess as a boy – a hobby which he continued to enjoy throughout life – and he became fascinated with solving problems in the game. The appeal of solving problems led 
to an interest in numbers and mathematics. The creating of numerical puzzles soon followed.

As an adult, Henry worked for the civil service, but created and d
evised puzzles in his spare time which he would often send to magazines and newspapers. In the early 1890’s he became a regular contributor to several publications, including The Weekly Dispatch (a Sunday paper that merged with the Sunday Express in 1961) Cassell’s Magazine (which in the late 1890’s underwent a change from being Cassell’s Family Magazine to simply Cassell’s Magazine and set itself up as a direct competitor to The Strand, carrying the same type of content – factual articles and fictional writing from contributing authors) and later to Blighty (Blighty began life in 1916 as a humorous magazine for British servicemen, but over the years slowly descended down a seedy, smutty slope, turning into a pin-up magazine in the late 1950’s, a nudey magazine in the 1970’s, and went the whole hog in the 1990’s when it changed its name to Parade and its content to hardcore) 

Henry died of throat cancer in 1930 and is buried in Lewes town cemetery in East Sussex.

The Strand, which was based in offices on Southampton Street, just off The Strand, was owned by the publishing giant George Newnes. George was a quite remarkable man with a finger in many pies; I always thought he’d make an excellent character in a Victorian novel.

Born in Derbyshire in the Great Exhibition year of 1851 he was, at various points of his life, an editor, publisher and an MP. His career began in 1867 when, as a sixteen year old he latched onto the soon-to-dwindle consumerism boom created by the Great Exhibition and entered the ‘fancy goods’ trade, sharing his time between Manchester and London selling anything from china, cutlery and snuff boxes to clocks, buttons and buckles. At this time Britain had been economically dominant the world over, and its manufacturing industry was seen as the world’s best, but by the 1870’s growth in the British economy was slowing down. As other countries with more energy and material supplies were connected to each other by the railways, demand for British goods decreased, and growing economic powerhouses such as America and Germany were catching up, and offering goods to the same standard as British manufacturers, and often at a cheaper price.
George Newnes

George married Priscilla Hillyard in 1875, and decided it was time for a change of career path. He set up a vegetarian restaurant in Manchester in order to fund a new project, and six years later he had raised enough cash to set up his first publication; Tit-Bits. (or to give it its full title :Tit-Bits from all the interesting Books, Periodicals, and Newspapers of the World) As its long-winded name suggests, the magazine’s content was part interesting stories from around the globe, and part fictional stories from contributing authors.

The magazine, which in the early days was published in Manchester, was a success, and posted weekly sales figures around the half-a-million mark.

In the mid 1880’s a competition page increased readership further, and publication of Tit-Bits was moved to London. Away from publishing, George – a staunch Liberal – was elected Member of Parliament for Eastern Cambridgeshire in 1885.

At the end of the 1880’s George met the controversial journalist W.T Stead, with whom he would go on to establish the current affairs magazine Review of Reviews in 1890.
The magazine began publication only a month after the idea had been discussed, and
Stead, ever one to court controversy, wrote most of the magazine himself. He would use its pages to write scathing attacks and sketches on celebrities, politicians and even other publications. It was this that caused George to cut ties with the magazine and sell his share to Stead. Following George’s departure Stead typically went for more shocking headlines, such as ‘Baby-killing as an investment’ and ‘Ought Mrs. Maybrick to be tortured to death?

It was in 1891 that George’s most famous magazine, The Strand was born to great success, and in the same year his publishing business, George Newnes Ltd, was formed, and throughout the 1890’s created further titles to add to George’s cannon, such as the Westminster Gazette, which was a highly regarded Liberal evening newspaper that began life in 1893 (George sold the Gazette in 1908 and it went on to merge with another leading Liberal newspaper, The Daily News, in 1928) In1897 the world saw the first publication of Country Life magazine, which is still running today, and in 1898 the World Wide Magazine was founded. This featured true-life, travel and adventure stories from across the globe. Publication of World Wide ceased in 1965.

In 1895 George received both bad and good news; after ten years as MP for Eastern Cambridgeshire he was defeated by the Conservative candidate Harry McCalmont, but this disappointment was tempered when he was made a Baronet, as reported here in The London Gazette:

Whitehall, February 11, 1895,
THE Queen has been pleased to direct Letters Patent to be passed under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, granting the dignity of a Baronet of the said United Kingdom unto George Newnes, of Wildcroft, in the parish of Putney, in the county of London; of Hollerday Hill, in the parish of Lynton; and Hesketh House, in the borough of Torquay, both in the county of Devon; Esquire: and the heirs male of his body lawfully begotten.
            - The London Gazette, February 1895

In the late 1890’s George developed an interest in films, and particularly in how they could be utilized in the same way as newspapers and magazines to deliver news and current affairs events to the public. In 1899 he invested £2000 in the British Mutoscope and Biograph Company – a subsidiary of the American Mutoscope and Biograph Co.

George was excited by – and involved in – the company’s plans to develop the existing technology of the company (essentially peep-show machines) into a medium for delivering news. They boldly declared that “The novelty of the illustrated newspaper has worn down a little, and what the public want just now is a mutoscopic or biographic newspaper, in which the reader may see the progress of current events.” Hmm…sounds familiar. 

In 1900 the company put its Home Mutoscope to market, but it was not a success. Later the same year George re-entered politics, becoming MP for Swansea, and held the seat until he retired, aged fifty-nine, in 1910.

Lynton – the Devon town in which he lived, and of which he was baronet – and also the neighbouring town of Lynmouth, benefitted greatly from having George as a resident. He helped to redevelop the two towns, a task which included the building of a cliff-side railway which joined them, allowing goods and people to easily travel between the two.

He also provided the town with a town hall in 1900. This from the council’s official website:

Lynton Town Hall was built and given to the community by Sir George Newnes on August 15th 1900. Designed by Read & Macdonald of London this superb Grade II listed building is a unique mixture of manorial, Gothic and Tudor styles.
Constructed of local stone and oak by a local builder, the structure retains its unusual originality both outside and within.
When it opened Newnes wished that the hall would be… “a source of instruction and recreative pleasure, not only to the present inhabitants but to future generations”. These sentiments have been honoured by the local community ever since.

The Beautiful Town Hall

The re-vamping of the towns brought the railways to north Devon in 1898, with the opening of the Lynton and Barnstaple railway, built, ostensibly, to take tourists to the popular two towns from Barnstaple.

Shortly after his retirement from politics in 1910 George died at his home in Lynton having suffered from diabetes. With his death, though, his company, George Newnes Ltd, did not cease, but continued, and in 1963 was incorporated into IPC Media, who today publish magazines such as TV Times, NME, Cycling Weekly, Marie Claire and Nuts.

As the nineteenth century drew to a close The Strand celebrated its 100th volume. To mark the occasion George put pen to paper within its pages:

The Strand
April 1899: Volume 100:
A chat about its history by George Newnes, Bart.

When I was told that the Hundredth Number of The Strand Magazine was due in April this year, I could hardly realize its truth. How time flies! It seems only the other day that the first number of a Magazine on the lines that I had always wanted, with an illustration on every page, was published, and with such far-reaching results.

The Strand to some extent revolutionized Magazines in this country, and it is a fitting thing that on this Birthday something should be written as to its history.
This will not be done in any boastful spirit, but with a feeling of friendship, loyalty, and affection towards the “good old STRAND” which I am sure is shared by many thousands of people.

First of all let me talk about the name. At one time we thought of calling it “The Burleigh Street Magazine,” because our offices were then situated in that thoroughfare. But that was rather long, and as we were so very near the Strand we thought that to call it after the historic thoroughfare would be justifiable. But the name of a periodical does not really matter so much as people imagine. If you can put such material into the pages as will attract the public, they become so accustomed to the name, that after a while it really signifies very little whether a title be a good or bad one. But still I am very glad the Magazine was christened THE STRAND; and now this celebrated street – perhaps the most widely known of any in the world – is permanently associated with this pioneer Magazine.

What has happened since everybody knows. Most Magazines are now modeled upon the plan of The Strand. By the way, I commenced by saying I would not be boastful, but this rather sounds like it. Is it not, however, a fact? It is not a source of annoyance, but of gratification to me, and those associated with me, that our model should have been made the type of others.

At the time when The Strand Magazine first appeared, I have no hesitation in saying that British magazines were at a low ebb. American Magazines were coming here, and, because they were smarter and livelier, more interesting, bright and cheerful, they were supplanting those of native birth. The Strand Magazine checked that, and established a new record of sales in this country.

It is easy to get a good idea in journalism, but the carrying out of it is most important. I have been very fortunate in having as the Literary Editor Mr. Greenhough Smith, and as the Art Editor Mr. W. H. J. Boot, and I do not want to allow this hundredth monthly birthday to go past without acknowledging the ability, the faithfulness, and the loyalty that they have displayed towards the Magazine. I have had in a busy experience to deal with a great many people, and to ask a great many for co-operation, and I have never been associated with any who gave me less trouble and more assistance than Mr. Greenhough Smith and Mr. Boot. In any gossip or chat about The Strand I could not omit that reference.

I also wish to say how much we have appreciated the work done by authors and artists, of whom we have a large circle of valued friends.

The providing of the world’s thought and reading, whether it is of a light or serious type, is one of the most important professions; and it is a source of satisfaction with regard to The Strand that, whilst the tone has always been high, the interest has been continually retained. Its sale in America has also become very large. The American Edition is specially edited for that market by Mr. James Walter Smith. The International News Co., who are the W.H. Smith and Sons of America, always liked The Strand, and have taken much interest in its welfare, and to this fact it is doubtless largely due that the American success has been achieved.

The Strand, during all these years has maintained and continues to maintain its position.  It even did so whilst I was myself writing some articles for it, and if a Magazine can stand a test like that it can stand anything; and to show my confidence in its hold upon the public, I am going to put it to the further test of writing some fiction for it, but out of kindness to the staff and mercy to its subscribers I am putting off the evil day for as long as possible.

And now, gentle reader, forgive the egotism of these lines. I have been asked by the staff to write something on the Hundredth Monthly Birthday, and here is this little bit of gossip, which will conclude with a wish, that will probably be responded to by all its subscribers, that The Strand will be at its Thousandth Monthly Birthday as vigorous and flourishing as it is at its Hundredth.
            - George Newnes, April 1899

George was proved not be as great a prophet as he was a publisher, and The Strand did not quite make a thousand editions, ending, as it did, at issue 711 in 1950.

I must confess I have never read any of the fiction in The Strand, and, having only begun its life in 1890, the factual articles don’t give an overview of much of the Victorian era, but they are invaluable snapshots of the end of the century, and what would prove to be the end of the era in 1901.

Friday, 15 March 2013

“A Loud, Mocking Clamour of Noise…” Punch Or: The London Charivari: A Cultural Treasure Trove:

I have long been an admirer of the excellent satirical magazine Punch, and am lucky enough to own a few Victorian editions which I regularly thumb with mirth and glee, but when it came to writing a short history of the comical publication I found myself stuck, at a loss, and unable to do it any real justice.

For a good year or so I’ve been jotting things down, writing post titles and making notes on what to include in my article about Punch, but always with the same result – I’ll come back to it later. The sheer volume of history, writers and illustrators were so vast that I thought it best left to a book (preferably written by someone else) until it struck me that in my midst on Twitter I had long been following Punch (under the handle @PunchCartoons) and if I asked nicely enough perhaps they would tell their story for this humble blog.

Luckily, Andre at Punch was only too happy to oblige, and has provided a fantastic history of the great Punch magazine, thus fulfilling a glaring gap in the contents of this blog.

Whether you’re a fan of Punch or have never heard of it, please enjoy reading about the life of London’s greatest – and funniest – magazine:

Why was Punch magazine 'great'? Historians, politicians, writers and readers have over the many cascading decades since it started in 1841 called it legendary, influential, iconic, an institution. Just flicking through its pages the first thing you notice are the bold, confident illustrations, 'cartoons' which brilliantly satirize the political figures of the day and national symbols fighting it out on the world stage, by which time in the 1840s and 50s, Britain was the most powerful nation and largest empire in history.

But it is also a joy to open a volume of Punch– a window into another point in time- and to see how different things were (fashion, political in-correctness, extreme poverty, London Fog), how some things were surprisingly the same (class pretension, speech, snowball fights) and how the future was being imagined a hundred years from their own time with inventions some of which are only just becoming a reality. The writing and wonderful images are alive – perfect snapshots of the spirit of a Great Britain long gone. And just like the Curate's Egg cartoon, if it was to begin with at least, a serious political satirical magazine, then it certainly had many funny social parts.

The Cartoon, a term which Punch invented as a socially barbed critique of Parliament's exhibition of preparatory sketches for its own artworks during a time of social poverty and injustice, were in Punch's early years drawn by John Leech and suggested by Henry Mayhew. These talents exemplified Punch's strengths and character: witty social commentary and lovingly crafted illustrations within a particularly English type of humour. Leech's 'social cuts' were hugely popular – spawning separately published collections from Punch – and people would wait eagerly to see his latest work each week.

But there were many layers to Punch's success, beyond an enthusiasm and confidence in its pages that reflected a great Age of Empire, national identity and progress. Now in full swing, the Industrial Revolution's consumer boom was also accompanied by one in print culture, fuelling demand not only in china teacups, but books, newspapers and magazines.

The common practice in magazines of the time of 'anonymous' un-credited articles gave Punch an advantage: its brand association with the European tradition of Punchinello, and in particular, Mr. Punch. This set it apart from the competition and gave its articles and cartoons a greater weight, a singular unified voice transmitted as the musings of Mr. Punch himself. Starting with Henry Mayhew and Douglas Jerrold's radical writing, then John Tenniel's iconic imperial cartoons and Shirley Brooks' Toryism, Punch came to be viewed as the official point of view of the English, at home and around the world. 

Of course Punch magazine's strength lay in its contributors, particularly those of the well paid Punch Table editorial staff like Shirley Brooks and even editor Mark Lemon, who wrote for other magazines on the understanding with the owners they would supply only their best work to Punch in exchange for a generous salary. The Punch Table itself was an exclusive English gentleman's club where intelligent middle aged men would congregate every Wednesday evening, tell jokes, share the week's gossip and finally, after dinner, puff on cigars and discuss the treatment for the next issue's 'Cartoon', often directly based on The Times newspaper's leading headline. Henry Mayhew's ideas mostly made the 'Big Cut' political cartoon through his role as 'Suggestive Editor'; a process involving at times heated debate, all regulated by Mark Lemon's balance and sense of gentlemanly conduct. After Mayhew left the magazine Shirley Brooks' strength of personality and wit dominated the table and brought a new Conservative tone to the output.

Shirley Brooks
Another reason for Punch magazine's popularity was being part of a clear shift away from the gutter press to a more respectful way of doing things, hence achieving respectability that many rivals couldn't attain, either through failing – several magazines failed within a few months – or by their readership being sapped by other satirical papers during a time of mass consumerism and demand for literature and printed material.

Serialized fiction in magazines was hugely in demand since Charles Dickens' Pickwick Papers – his new publishers since 1844, Bradbury and Evans had recently bought Punch in December 1842 from its cash strapped collaborators: journalist Henry Mayhew, engraver Ebenezer Landells and Mark Lemon – humourist, dramatist, and pub landlord of The Shakespeare's Head frequented by Dickens, dramatist Douglas Jerrold (dubbed Little Shakespeare due to his vast knowledge of the bard's works), the Bohemian set and several literary types. The popularity of 'The Snobs of England' by William Makepeace Thackeray in 1846 was one of several Punch in-house series that were later published in book form, as was 'Mrs. Caudle's Curtain Lectures' by Jerrold (1846) and The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith in 1888.

Equally important as individual talent on the magazine was the bond of friendship at the Punch Table, reciprocated with owners Bradbury and Evans who attended the weekly meeting. Crucially the owners supported the editorial staff's decisions. Beyond vocal support, Bradbury and Evans had the most efficient printing press in Britain which enabled a transition from individual cottage industry printing to large scale, speedy operations, accurately incorporating text and illustration in a weekly publication. These printer-proprietors were an important factor in the success of Punch: as well as initially taking the plunge investing in a loss making venture and continuing to protect it with savvy business decisions, they frequently even lent money to editor Mark Lemon and Shirley Brooks during their personal financial troubles, all the while supporting their editorial decisions.

One such decision which helped Punch on its way was in accepting Thomas Hood's Song of the Shirt in December 1843 after having been turned down by several magazines. The poem had a great impact on the Victorian middle classes in highlighting the state of the impoverished and exemplifies, together with such cartoons as ‘Needle Money’ (1849), ‘A Court for King Cholera’ (1852) and ‘The Stable’ (1861) how Punch championed the cause of the poor and of improvements to working conditions, sanitation, housing and education. Punch also raised much money in appeals for charitable causes, especially during the two World Wars – the high points of its popularity – such as Mr. Punch's Hospital Comforts Fund, to purchase fabric for soldiers' clothes in WW2.

A Thackeray Cartoon
William Makepeace Thackeray, on the Punch editorial staff, made a huge impression on the literary world, first with his 'The Snobs of England' (1846), popularising the word 'snob' in the English lexicon and contributing many pieces and some cartoons. After his success with Vanity Fair (1847) and Pendennis (1848) he became a literary heavyweight overtaking even Douglas Jerrold. Thus his 'coat of humour', Punch, had become too small a fit (satirical magazines were considered a lower form of printed media) and though leaving the magazine he still continued to attend the weekly editorial dinners. Through Thackeray's fame and association with Dickens – by being contrasted to him, in having the same publishers, and being members of the literary epicentre The Garrick Club – the Punch staff were in great company and in that close-knit Victorian literary world this brought respect to the magazine. Dickens had already been friends with Douglas Jerrold; and Mark Lemon, John Leech, and Shirley Brooks were all close friends of Dickens from 1847 – his son Charlie Dickens married Thackeray's daughter and contributed to Punch.

 In the 1860s and 70s the great George du Maurier and Edward Linley Sambourne came onto the staff and cemented Punch's already legendary status, both adding to the visual recognition of the magazine: du Maurier's highly detailed society cartoons of perfectly observed Victorian middle class pretensions, modes and art movements and in Sambourne's cartoons of fashion, the female form and politics in a new graphic style.

du Maurier Cartoon on 'beautymania'

 The big four cartoonists of the Victorian era: Leech, Tenniel, du Maurier and Sambourne were replicated in the Twentieth Century by Bernard Partridge, Leonard Raven Hill, Leslie Illingworth and E.H. Shepard, and supplemented by the splendid works of George Morrow, Charles Harrison, Lewis Baumer, J.H. Dowd, Frank Reynolds, George Belcher, Pont...the list goes on – the best standards of cartooning and illustration seen anywhere.

From Partridge's epic World War 1 propaganda to Sherriff's film stars, to 'The British Character' by Pont, the world which 'browsed' Punch was given a real treat every week over the course of a hundred and fifty years to the best of British by Britain's best. Many of the writers and cartoonists gracing its pages were legends in their own right, having acclaim and several successes outside the magazine, but these special ingredients all came to be distilled together for each issue of Punch. In looking at the latest news, fashions, technology, films, books and social preoccupations, it has become a treasure trove of English culture.

Without doubt it was the framework of that talent, high editorial standards, networking and support, good fortune, balance and timing from the outset which gave Punch its stature and ensured that it was envied, copied, parodied, feared and respected in equal measure. Just as all the best cartoonists wanted to have their work printed in Punch, so too all the politicians would have discovered their political culture, history and eventual public perception – as the young Winston Churchill did – from its pages. The politicians may have cringed at their caricatured depictions, but they would have relished it all the same.

By being a mirror to English society, repeating and commenting on what its writers and cartoonists saw, heard and experienced in the news and fresh gossip at ground level, by urging social change and trumpeting its own national cause, it became a beacon for the British Empire and stands as a unique monument in British and world history. If, (from the Punch sub-title) Charivari means a loud mocking clamour of noise, then Punch certainly made everyone sit up and notice.

Punch Facts

·        Charles Dickens, Garibaldi and Mark Twain all dined at the Punch Table.

·        The Crystal Palace was given its name by Punch, in 1851, for the Great Exhibition.

·        Punch was responsible for starting the Scottish stereotype of frugality with the 'Bang went saxpence!!!' cartoon by Charles Keene.
The Charles Keene 'Bang Went Saxpence' Cartoon

·        Winston Churchill – In his 'Thoughts and Adventures' (1932), Churchill dedicates a chapter to Cartoons and Cartoonists, stating that he learnt history from the few volumes of Punch at school in the 1880s, and that they serve as 'food for grown-up children'. He refers to several Punch classics such as Dropping the Pilot (1890), The British Lion's Vengeance on the Bengal Tiger (1857) and Britannia Sympathises with Columbia (1865). Punch would later offend Churchill in 1954 under the editorship of Malcolm Muggeridge with a cartoon by Leslie Illingworth showing a frail Prime Minister above the caption "Man goeth forth unto his work".

·        Kaiser Wilhelm II – Punch and the Kaiser had a long relationship; unsurprisingly Queen Victoria's grandson was often offended. An avid reader of Punch he tried to understand the English and impress them, with ever decreasing results. While banning Punch from his palaces and his yacht for a few months, he wrote to Queen Victoria and asked her to stop its production, unsuccessfully, after The Modern Alexander's Feast (1892) by Tenniel to which Sambourne followed up with Wilful Wilhelm a few issues later, showing him in a tantrum with broken framed Punch cartoon Dropping the Pilot, a knocked over globe of the world and holding up issues of Punch in outrage. Wilhelm would admit during WWI that Punch magazine's propaganda cartoons were having a de-moralising effect on the German nation.

·        Felix Mendelssohn – Punch reviewed Mendelsohhn's 'Antigone' at Covent Garden in January 1845 to which he wrote to his sister: "See if you cannot find Punch for Jan. 18. It contains an account of Antigone at Covent Garden, with illustrations, - especially a view of the Chorus which has made me laugh for three days."

·        Adolph Menzel – German artist Menzel subscribed to Punch weekly just to see the latest Charles Keene social cartoon. Keene was highly revered internationally and being an admirer of Menzel is regarded as bringing in a modern, German style of illustration to Britain. Menzel "collected great piles of the magazine".

·        HRH Prince Charles, the Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Margaret were all invited and carved their initials on the Punch Table; Princess Anne also wrote an article for Punch.

·        Margaret Thatcher attended the Punch Table in 1975.

·        Mark Twain – When the novelist came to visit and was invited to carve his initials onto the Punch Table he kindly refused, saying that two of the three initials carved by William Makepeace Thackeray would suffice.

A Big Cartoon Dedicated to Him and the Staff Will Dine Him.
GUEST OF THE PILGRIMS. Notable Luncheon Given, to Which 1,000 Notable Vainly Ask to be Bidden.
Special Cablegram. Copyright, 1907, by THE NEW YORK TIMES CO.

LONDON, June 25. - Mark Twain will go back to America duly certificated [sic] as a humorist. Punch, which regards Americans generally as lacking in the sense of humor, does not consider Mark Twain deficient in that respect. He is one of their own kind. The Punch people think, and they are kittening to him with their whole hearts. They exhibit their feeling for him in a full page cartoon in today's issue, which is dedicated to him. Mark Twain appears seated at a table, on which stands a big steaming punch bowl. Mr. Punch, who is placed in the foreground, drinks to Mark Twain's health, the toast being:

"Sir, I honour myself by drinking to your health. Long life to you and happiness and perpetual youth."

Mark Twain expects to have a grand time at a dinner which The Punch people will give to him. They asked him which he would rather do, "Go to a hotel and have something decent to eat," or dine at the famous Long Table in Punch's office. He voted unanimously for the Long Table."
            - The New York Times, June 26, 1907.

Some Notable Contributors

Kingsley Amis,
Joan Bakewell,
Sir John Betjamin,
Maeve Binchy,
Basil Boothroyd,
Malcolm Bradbury,
Melvyn Bragg,
Fenton Bresler,
Alan Brien,
Alan Coren,
Paul Dehn,
E.M Delafield,
Peter Dickinson,
Margaret Drabble,
Mary Dunn,
H.F. Ellis,
Michael Frayn,
Clement Freud,
David Frost,
Virginia Graham,
Robert Graves,
Benny Green,
Joyce Grenfell,
Alan Hackney,
Roy Hattersley,
A.P. Herbert,
Quintin Hogg,
Richard Hoggart,
P.M. Hubbard,
Barry Humphreys,
Clive James,
Anthony Jay,
Ludovic Kennedy,
Eric Keown,
Miles Kington,
E.V. Knox,
C.S. Lewis,
R.P. Lister,
Humphrey Lyttleton,
Joy Melville,
A.A. Milne,
Angela Milne,
Richard Mallett,
Kingsley Martin,
Robert Morley,
Sheridan Morley,
Malcolm Muggeridge,
Frank Muir,
Michael Parkinson,
J.B. Priestly,
Libby Purves,
Stanley Reynolds,
Jonathan Sale,
Harry Seacombe,
R.C. Scriven,
Ned Sherrin,
Muriel Spark,
James Thurber,
Hugh Trevor-Roper,
E.S. Turner,
Keith Waterhouse,
Hugh Weldon,
Geoffrey Willans (Molesworth),
P.G. Wodehouse (Our Man in America),
Woodrow Wyatt,
D.B. Wyndham Lewis,
B.A Young.

Francis Burnand (F.C. Burnand) – Dramatist, humourist, writer of burlesques and Punch Editor from 1880. Wrote more than 200 works outside of Punch; one of the most prolific dramatic writers of his time. His play "The Colonel" was the first royal command performance attended by Queen Victoria in twenty years, was hugely successful and based on Punch regular cartoonist George du Maurier's series featuring "the Colonel" character. Started writing for Punch in 1863. The Colonel-type character remained popular in Punch and could be argued as a main influence for cartoonist David Low's Colonel Blimp in the 1930s.

Tom Taylor – Playwright of 'Our American Cousin' which was the wildly successful play on both sides of the Atlantic from 1858 until the end of the Victorian era and was attended by President Abraham Lincoln at his assassination in 1865. Tom Taylor later became Punch Editor in 1874.

A.A. Milne – When We Were Very Young, first published in Punch, introduced Winnie the Pooh, or Edward Bear as he was then known in 1924.

Eric Keown – His 'Sir Tristram Goes West' first appeared for Punch in 1932 and was made into a highly successful Hollywood film 'The Ghost Goes West' (1936) starring Robert Donat and Elsa Lanchester.

A.P. Herbert – A trained barrister, M.P., novelist, law reformer and thoroughly clever chap who, through his humorous 'Misleading Cases' series in Punch highlighted the archaic laws and judgements of English jurisprudence and managed through a private members bill to reform divorce in his Matrimonial Causes Act (1937), making it possible to divorce for the first time without proof of adultery. His 'Cases' were made into three BBC series in the late 1960s.

Major John McCrae'In Flanders Fields' was first published in Punch in 1915 and composed at the 2nd Battle of Ypres after McCrae's friend Lieutenant Alexis Helmer was killed and McCrae, a Brigade Doctor, had to conduct the burial service.

Patrick Barrington – Famous around the world for his 'I had a hippopotamus' as well as the 'Songs of a Sub-Man' poems in the 1930s.

Alan Coren – Excellent humourist and Punch editor. Prolific contributor to Punch amongst which the 'Idi Amin' letters in the 1970s were hugely popular.

Miles Kington – A broadcaster, journalist, humourist and jazz musician. Together with Alan Coren the mainstay of Punch's written work from the 1960s, to the 80s and laugh-out-loud funny such as Kington's 'Let's Parler Francais' series.

Arthur Reginald Buller'There was a young lady named Bright / Who could travel far faster than light / She set off one day / In a relative way / And returned on the previous night.' His famous limerick first appeared in Punch in 1923.

Harold Frank Hoare – Known as "Acanthus" when cartoonist for Punch, as an architect won the competition to design the first Gatwick terminal in 1935 at the age of 25, a circular design dubbed "The Beehive" which still exists. Many of his cartoons include architectural themes such as stately homes and new modern buildings but he was an excellent documenter of the Home Front during WW2.

John Michael Ward Bingham, 7th Baron Clanmorris – Wrote some articles and verse for Punch in the 1930s and 40s and was a thriller writer. However, he was also employed by MI5 in the counter-intelligence section, "M", and was the model for John le Carre's leading man George Smiley. Michael Jago's new biography "The Man Who Was George Smiley - The Life of John Bingham" illuminates his secret life as spy during WW2 and the Cold War and his influence on le Carre. Punch readers would not have known his humourous short story "Telephone Conversation, 1943" was based on his actual work.

Celebrity Guest writers

Dave Brubeck,
Noel Coward,
David Dimbleby,
Graham Greene,
Sir Hugh Greene,
Edward Heath,
Julian Huxley,
Terry Jones,
Joanna Lumley,
Paul McCartney (interviewed in Nov 1966 and contributed a piece in 1973),
Yehudi Menuhin,
Spike Milligan,
Michael Palin, J
ohn Steinbeck,
Auberon Waugh.


John Tenniel – Illustrator of 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'Through The Looking Glass'. Lewis Carroll specifically chose Tenniel because of his allegorical, grown-up fantasy 'Big Cut' political cartoons from Punch – another layer of meaning to his readers already familiar with Tenniel through Punch.

Bernard Partidge – A worthy successor to Tenniel as the chief cartoonist, the political protagonists in his Big Cuts were theatrical send-ups brilliantly observed, but always focussed on the real message with a bold urgency. If in Tenniel's cartoons the message could be obscured by the fine detail, Partridge brought it to the fore with at times startling effect, and his work is one of the best examples of British propaganda in media.

Fougasse – Kenneth Bird discovered the name Fougasse while on active service in WWI (a landmine) and used it to differentiate between W. Bird (Jack Butler Yeates). Famous for government posters such as 'Careless Talk Costs Lives'.

David Langdon – Popular during WW2 for his public information posters 'Billy Brown of London Town'. Contributed to Punch for over 60 years.

George Adamson – Illustrator of Ted Hughes' books and winner of the P.G. Wodehouse Centenary Illustration Award, he drew hundreds of cartoons and many front covers over 50 years from 1939.

Norman Thelwell – Many published book collections including 'Angels on Horseback' and specialising in cartoons of girls on ponies and the countryside.

Trog (Wally Fawkes) – A renowned jazz musician and collaborator with Humphrey Lyttleton's band he drew beautifully realised, almost photorealistic colour caricatures of celebrities and politicians as well as front covers, which took over from the Big Cut political cartoon, in the 1970s.

Rowland Emett – Inventor of kinetic sculptures and designer for the machines in film 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang'. His Punch 'Far Tottering' railway cartoons came to life at the Festival of Britain and at The Globe stage production 'Between The Lines' in 1951.

Alfred Bestall – Creator of Rupert the Bear and many great social cartoons in Punch. Drew the prototype for Winnie the Pooh in Punch for A.A. Milne before he decided on E.H. Shepard's version.

Caran d'Ache (Emmanuel Poire) – The pioneer of the first ever comic strip cartoons which later inspired Bateman and Fougasse, he drew one or two cartoons for Punch in the 1890s.

H.M. Bateman – Master of the strip cartoon that with bold and rounded line work brought his characters to life. Brilliant series of 'The Man Who' along with hundreds of laugh out loud sporting and leisure cartoons.

Jack Butler Yeats – Irish Modernist Expressionist artist. Drew several cartoons for Punch as W. Bird.
du Maurier
George du Maurier – Author of Trilby and Punch society cartoonist par excellence. Wonderful cartoon visionary of future inventions. Captured the absurdities of the Victorian middles classes.

Linley Sambourne – Great graphic cartoonist influenced by photography and a pioneering street photographer, or 'street blogger' of un-posed Edwardian women and their fashion with the use of a special periscope. Drew the political Big Cuts following John Tenniel's reign as Chief Cartoonist.

Leslie Illingworth – One of the best cartoonists and illustrators of the 20th century, with some truly epic backdrops for the Punch Big Cuts and savagely biting satire during WW2 and into the 1950s. Although ultimately an editorial decision by Malcolm Muggeridge, it was his 1954 cartoon that offended Winston Churchill, showing him at his desk with drooping mouth and fat hands.

Harry Rountree – A fine illustrator of children's books by Enid Blyton, and H.G. Wells. Also illustrated an edition of Alice in Wonderland and Aesop's Fables.

Arthur Rackham – One of the greatest fairytale illustrators of all time, his richly detailed cartoons for Punch convey his skills brilliantly. He illustrated editions of Aesop's Fables, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Gulliver's Travels, Peer Gynt by Ibsen, The Valkyrie by Wagner, Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Anderson, and The Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Grahame.    

Quentin Blake – Knighted in 2012 and illustrator for several Roald Dahl books. Drew several excellent Punch covers.
Quentin Blake

 Humphrey Lyttleton – Renowned jazz musician and also cartoonist for Punch.

Ralph Steadman – Won several awards for illustration and worked with Ted Hughes, Hunter S. Thompson and Will Self. Produced some very interesting colour cartoons and front covers for Punch in the 1960s.

Gerald Scarfe – Influenced by Ronald Searle, Scarfe illustrated for Punch in the 1960s and went on to work with Pink Floyd for their 'The Wall' album, film and tour as well as the 'Yes Minister' TV series.

Ronald Searle
Ronald Searle – Possibly the greatest and most celebrated cartoonist of the 20th century, creator of 'St Trinians' and collaborator with Geoffrey Willans for the Molesworth series of books. Drew some truly magnificent illustrations and cartoons for Punch such as the double spreads 'Heroes of Our Time' (1956-1957) featuring Sir Malcolm Sargent, Laurence Olivier and Vivian Leigh, Bertrand Russell, Princess Margaret etc and the savagely funny 'How To Kill A Man In Six Efforts'.

Andre Francois (Andre Farkas) – A unique talent and a painterly cartoonist he produced some of the best looking colour work and front covers for Punch, and designed theatre sets for Gene Kelly and Peter Hall.

Michael ffolkes – (Brian Davis). Wonderfully funny modern burlesque cartoons of naked ladies running about and surreal situations covering art, literature, business, leisure, the aristocracy and film reviews. A cartoon legend who contributed to Punch for five decades, from the 1940s until his death in 1988 and whose work is always fresh with the youthful vigour of life.

Mike Williams – A modern master of the cartoon with lovely line work including colour washes and off-kilter humour. His work is among the best examples of cartooning in Punch from the 1970s and 1980s.

Anne Harriet Fish - Very popular female cartoonist from 1920s, working for Vanity Fair and Vogue magazines and illustrating adverts. Her illustrations for the 'Eve' series of books were turned into silent films and her drawings about the middle classes in the 1920s are a good pre-cursor to Pont's British Character series of the 1930s. She was not the only female artist in Punch and not the earliest: Georgina Bowers was an excellent cartoonist from the 1860s and 1870s, and we find other great contributors continuing into the 20th century such as Antonia Yeoman (Anton), Sally Artz and Riana Duncan.

Famous guests interviewed in 'Passing Through':

Roger Moore,
Sean Connery,
Michael Cain,
Zsa Zsa Gaboor,
Mel Brooks,
Alice Cooper,
Gore Vidal,
George Cukor,
Shirley Maclaine,
Sidney Sheldon,
Lee Marvin,
Margot Fonteyn,
Marcel Marceau,
Henry Fonda,
Richard Harris,
Richard Chamberlain,
Ella Fitzgerald,
Charles Aznavour,
Telly Savalas,
Susannah York,
James Mason,
Billy Wilder,
Henry Mancini,
Arthur Ashe,
Dirk Bogarde,
Rod Steiger,
Victor Borge,
Michael York,
Jacqueline Bisset,
Jackie Collins,
Patricia Highsmith,
Ingrid Bergman,
John Wayne,
Engelbert Humperdinck,
Roy Orbison,
Jackie Stewart,
Robert Shaw,
Tony Curtis,
Jack Lemmon,
Tony Bennett,
Otto Preminger,
Graham Sutherland,
Joe Louis, T
hor Heyerdahl,
Eartha Kitt,
Sir Oswald Mosley,
Gracie Fields,
Luciano Pavarotti,
Robert Graves,
Alfred Hitchcock,
Frank Zappa,
George Best,
Bing Crosby,
David Attenborough,
Arthur C. Clarke,
Carl Sagan,
Christiaan Barnard,
John Mortimer,
Malcolm Muggeridge,
Frederick Forsyth,
Joseph Heller,
Norman Mailer,
John Updike,
Dave Allen,
Sophia Loren,
Andy Warhol,
Spike Milligan,
Charles Bronson,
Dustin Hoffman,
Herbert Lom,
Peter Ustinov,
Richard Branson,
Mikhail Gorbachev.

Andre Gailani,
Punch Limited


·        Thanks in the main to the excellent book 'The Punch Brotherhood' by Patrick Leary. The British Library (2010).
·        'Thoughts and Adventures' by Winston Churchill (orig. 1932; edited James W. Muller, ISI books 2009).
·        'A History of Punch' by R.G.G. Price. Collins (1957).
·        Thanks to for quoting 'Drawing the Line - Using Cartoons as Historical Evidence' Edited by Richard Scully and Marian Quartly (2009)
·        Thanks also to quoting 'Sophocles: The Plays and Fragments', with critical notes, commentary, and translation in English prose. Part III: The Antigone. Sir Richard C. Jebb. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press. 1900.
·        Adolph Menzel - 1815-1905: Between Romanticism and Impressionism Yale University (1996)
·        Chris Beetles Gallery

My huge thanks once again to Andre of Punch ( for the brilliant article above.

Lastly, if I may urge you all to go forth into your local antique bookshop or eBay and seek out an old edition of Punch I know it will be worth your while! For quite little money you can pick up a century-old piece of work full of great humour and magnificent drawings!