Tuesday, 8 May 2012

That’s The Way To Do It!


Tomorrow marks the 350th birthday of Mr Punch! He arrived in London at the time of Samuel Pepys, and has been delighting families ever since. Here’s the plaque in Covent Garden marking where the great diarist first witnessed the puppet show.


The BBC has some great archive photographs and information about this colourful character.

I do have a few  friends who are unhappy about him, and prefer their children not to watch his shows. They argue, quite reasonably, that he’s thoughtless towards his baby, cruel to his wife, and generally forever in trouble. Rather a lot of violence and mischief seems to surround him. Well yes – but that applies to Homer Simpson too!!


My childhood holidays frequently included visits to Mr Punch at Southend on Sea. I think my loving parents – who were against violence, misbehaviour, and sin generally – still regarded the puppet show as harmless fun [after all, they made sure I knew what was right and wrong] and they laughed along with the children as the string of sausages was flung about and the Policeman raced by with his truncheon.

Mr Punch speaks with a strange voice, and professionals use a ‘swazzle’ to make the sound. [I understand it is a sort of split reed device held in the back of the mouth] One of my mother’s rather more bizarre talents was the ability to speak in a proper Mr Punch voice without a swazzle!  What a woman she was!

Happy Birthday Punchinello!


  1. What a fantastic post!! I haven't thought about Punch and Judy for years, I remember sitting cross legged in front of the stripy hut at Bournmouth with my little brother waiting what felt like days for the show to begin.
    I also have a delightful image of Mr.Punch and Judy appearing on, can you imagine how that would go? Especially when the crocodile comes on lol.
    x x x

  2. Oh we love Puncha nd Judy shows! Haven't seen one in a while now though, unfortunately! Loved the Willows posts! Very exciting. Address list is nearly ready to be emailed for the big envelope x

  3. I'm pleased ad Punch that he's lasted so long.
    Here's to him.
    Love from Mum

  4. I'm going to be the dissenting voice here...ever since childhood I've found Punch and Judy creepy.
    Jane x


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