Mr Punch on Fleet Street: walking through Punch's social and political influence
This guided walk will explore the impact and legacy of the celebrated satirical magazine Punch, which was based on Fleet Street for most of the Victorian era, until its move to nearby Bouverie Street. We follow the familiar processional route along the Strand, before dashing down side streets in pursuit of a hidden history of scandal and satire.
Celebrating its 175th anniversary in 2016, Punch magazine was founded in 1841 by a group of journalists, printers and engravers, among them its first editor Mark Lemon and the pioneering urban explorer Henry Mayhew. From its Victorian heyday to its role on the Home Front of two world wars and after, Punch’s legendary staff of artists and humourists persecuted politicians, scandalized celebrities and ridiculed royalty.
Occasionally radical, more often reactionary, Punch was embedded in the complex print, theatrical and political networks (and the gossip and slander) of Victorian London. Come and learn how Punch reflected and informed public perceptions of key events, from the expansion of empire to the emergence of feminism, from rebellion in India to Irish Home Rule, and from the trial of Oscar Wilde to the rise of Hitler.
BRIAN H MURRAY is Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century English Literature at King’s. He has recently published articles on Dickens’s travel writing, the literature of African exploration, and the reception of early Christian martyrdom in Victorian Britain and Ireland.
HELEN WALASEK works for Punch Ltd and was curator of the Punch Archive and Collection until its sale to the British Library. She has edited a number of books of Punch cartoons, including the bestselling The Best of Punch Cartoons, and regularly speaks on the history of