Monday, 28 June 2010


The pundits, presenters, experts, call them what you want, seem to be of the opinion that apart from England having a singular lack of talent, they also appeared to lack any conviction. This didn’t seem to be a problem back in the 1920’s, as illustrated by this cartoon from Leslie P Marchant!

Transcript below:


STRANGER: "What's that rough fellow doing in the team? He doesn't seem to know much about football."
NATIVE: "Oh, they allus play ole Ginger against the bobbies. E's 'ad sixteen convictions."

Friday, 25 June 2010


Travel to distant and often exotic locations were a luxury few could afford in the early 1920's and 1930's but, as before, cartoonists brought out the excitement of such travel, highlighting the possible thrills and exhilaration of such a trip. Leonard Raven-Hill's (1867-1942) cartoon from the late 1920's illustrates such a scene.

Transcript below:


VISITOR TO THE WEST INDIES: (who has been warned against bathing in the river because of the alligators, but has been told by the boatman that there are none at the river's mouth). "By Jove, this is ripping! But, I say, how do you know there are no alligators here?"
BOATMAN: "Well, you see, Sah, de alligator am so turr'ble feared ob de shark!"

Wednesday, 23 June 2010


Now that the night and day has turned, it's time to think of holidays and sunshine before the Christmas cards start appearing in the shops. European Community travel nowadays involves no great hassle as you progress through customs, as we are all one happy family allegedly. However border control was a different story in the early 20th century and all travellers were subjected to a full search. Ernest H. Shephard's (1879-1976) cartoon below depicts a scene at a French Customs point.

Transcript below:

CUSTOMS OFFICER: "Have you anything to declare?"
OLD LADY: (very slowly and distinctly). "I'm joining my husband at Vichy. He is suffering from rheumatism."

Monday, 21 June 2010


Carnivals were thought to have been initially based around a religious festival held mainly in Catholic countries. In the days before Lent, all rich food and drink had to be disposed of. The consumption of this, in a giant party that involved the whole community is thought to be the origin of Carnival. The most famous ones being the Venetian Carnival first recorded in medieval Italy, spreading throughout Europe, and then the other most notable ones being the Caribbean Carnivals, the Brazilian Rio Carnival and of course the Lerwick Summer Carnival. Charles Harrison’s cartoon from 1933 captures the local spirit of the event.

Transcript below:

RAILWAY PORTER: (to Jones, who has arrived at seaside resort on carnival day) "It'll be a narrer squeak, Sir, but I'll do my best to git your luggidge to the hotel before I takes part in the procession."

Friday, 18 June 2010


The trouble sometimes with trying to trace ones ancestors was the tendancy up until very recently to name the newborn after their father, grandfather, mother, grandmother etc. etc. While I wouldn't have had it any other way, four of our own family with exactly the same name were alive and kicking at one time, which was not unusual at all, but did cause the occasional confusion especially at Banks, Building Societies and Christmas time. This was in the days long before computer ID's, PIN numbers or Passwords and the cartoon by A. Wallis Mills (1878-1940) chosen for today highlights a similar circumstance.

Transcript below:


                                STRANGER: "Can you tell me where Mr. Tooley lives?"
                                NATIVE: "There's fifteen families o' Tooleys."
                                STRANGER: "Mr Samuel Tooley?"
                                NATIVE: "There's twenty Sam Tooleys."
                                STRANGER: "He is, I believe, a carpenter."
                                NATIVE: "Ten o' em's carpenters."
                                STRANGER: "His age is seventy-eight."
                                NATIVE: "Ah, that must be me. What can I di fur ee?"

Wednesday, 16 June 2010


In the early years the emigrants wrote home to their families, telling of their success or otherwise as they tried to make a new life in a far and distant country. Quite a few worked hard and did well, sending back occasional unusual and exotic gifts. Many a Shetland home had a few items similar to the one referred to in this cartoon by Stan Terry from 1926.

Transcript below:

SQUIRE'S DAUGHTER: (after reading letter from cottager's son abroad). "And what will you do with the striped kimono your son says he's sending home?"
RUSTIC MOTHER: "You may well ask, Missie. I suppose I'll have to put it in one o' the pig-sties; but what I'm goin' to feed it on goodness only knows."

Monday, 14 June 2010


The number of Britons indulging in foreign travel in the 1920’s and ‘30’s was small – being confined almost entirely to those wealthy enough to afford the cost and time to travel. In these modern days all that has changed and holidays abroad are a common occurrence. But those early 20th century cartoonists invited you to spend time with them in exotic locations around the world, as well as onboard the main transport of the day, passenger steamers and liners plying their trade across the oceans. Charles Grave (1886-1944) often chose marine travel for his excellent cartoons.

Transcript below:

THE MERCHANT: "But, your 'Ighness, look. Ver' good, ver' real, dam genooine antique!"
THE PASSENGER: "You're wasting your time, Willie. Ah coom from Wolverhampton, where they make them things."

Friday, 11 June 2010


The media hype surrounding the forthcoming tournament in South Africa might do well to realise that really it’s "only a game" ….. as can been seen from this cartoon by Inder Burns from 1923. 

Transcript below:

CAPTAIN OF THE ROVERS. " ' Erbert, w'y can't yer keep up wiv the uvver forwards ?"
'ERBERT. " 'Cause they adn't ter blow up the blinkin' ball afore the game started, 'ad they?"

Wednesday, 9 June 2010


These ones have no relation to any current events as such and are just random choices simply because they make me smile and you might like them too.  This one by Norman Kay from 1921.

Transcript below:

THEATRICAL BOOKING AGENT (to Contortionist). "Have you ever done your stunt for the Radio?"

Monday, 7 June 2010


In both the ancient and modern world, the tradition of breaking a bottle over the bows of a new ship has very strong ties to religious traditions of blessing and protection. Many ancient cultures had a tradition of sacrificing wine or other liquids (blood, milk, water) to the gods for protection or favour. Champagne became more and more popular throughout the 18th and 19th centuries as a symbol of luxury and richness. As such the ordinary seaman had little chance to sample their delights, as alluded to in this Charles Grave (1886-1944) cartoon.

Transcript below:

BLUEJACKET: “Pull yerself together, ‘Erbert. We licked all the champagne off ‘er bows when she was launched.”

Saturday, 5 June 2010


Motoring in the early 20th Century was an exciting if dangerous pastime. No driving tests were introduced until 1935 and accidents were common. Hand signals were the norm; indicators had yet to be invented. The ubiquitous Ford Model T was first built in 1908 and by 1920 half of all the motor vehicles in the world were Model T’s. By 1927 production ceased after 19 years and 15 Million vehicles. Many elderly folk had never seen or travelled in a motor car before and the experience was a huge novelty, as in this cartoon by Henry M Brocks (1875-1960) depicts.

Transcript below:

DEAR OLD LADY (having a lift - her first motor ride - as chaffeur signals a turn) "Look here, young man - you keep both hands on the wheel. I'll tell you when it begins to rain."

Thursday, 3 June 2010


To start this blog sharing the fun and humour of old 'Punch' style cartoons from the early 20th century I have chosen one relating to the performers from the Music Hall era. The Music Hall brought together a huge variety of different acts, which together formed an evening of light hearted entertainment. By the late 19th century there were around 400 large halls spread around the UK, and at its peak the Music Hall was the television of its day.

It's stars were enormously popular and provincial tours around the country became very fashionable, visiting the smaller towns and cities. This in turn led to touring 'variety concert parties' who performed in country villages and parishes. This cartoon by George Belcher (1875-1947) depicts a country hall variety concert, where the visiting urban magician is upstaged by a local.

Transcript below:

CONJURER AT VILLAGE CONCERT. (to native who has volunteered to assist him) "And now I think I will surprise you, for I am going to produce a live rabbit from your right-hand coat pocket"
NATIVE. "Oi certainly 'ull be surprised if yew do. Oi've had my ferret in un all evening."
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