This resource is the fully text searchable online archive of Punch, or, The London Charivari, a celebrated weekly magazine of humour and satire. It was founded in summer 1841, ceasing publication in 1992. From its early years as a campaigner for social justice to its transformation into national icon, the heavily illustrated Punch played a central role in the formation of British identity – and how the rest of the world saw the British.
It is useful for the study of 19th and 20th century political and social history on key themes such as World War I and World War II; Wars and Conflicts; Colonialism, Imperialism and End of Empire; Impact of New Technology and Modernity; Public Health, Conservation and Environmentalism; Social Change; and The Role of Women. It is worth looking at the Essays and Resource section where a list of case studies showcase the use of Punch as a source material in many different ways.The resource includes approx. 7,900 issues as well as almanacs, other special numbers, prefaces, epilogues, indexes and other specially produced material from the bound volumes.
While some adverts are included in the digitised Punch they are not complete as the sets which were used for digitising had largely had the advertising removed. It is worth knowing that the British Library’s set of Punch (shelf mark C.194.b.199, Chairman’s set) includes the original advertising for vol. 1 (Jul.-Dec. 1841) – vol. 277 (Jul.-Dec. 1979); vol. 282 (Jan.-Jun. 1982)- vol. 289 (Jul.-Dec. 1985); Jan.-Dec. 1986 and 1988-1989 (all issues).
Between 1842 and 1899 almanacks were included in Punch, but were issued separately thereafter. Like adverts and special issues, they can be searched separately in Advanced Search.
Images in colour are also reproduced in colour.
Please send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org by 28 February.
Also of interest
- Find the hard copies of Punch, or, The London Charivari in Oxford
- Other online availability:
- Selected bibliography on the history and reception of Punch:
- Leech, John, Punch’s twenty almanacks, 1842-1861 
- Spielmann, M. H., The History of “Punch” (1895)
- Graves, Charles L., Mr. Punch’s history of modern England. 4 vols. (1921-22)
- Higham, C. S. S., ‘Punch’, in History, 10:38 (July 1925), 124-131.
- Price, Richard Geoffrey George, A history of Punch (1957)
- Rover, Constance, The Punch book of women’s rights (1967)
- Huggett, Frank Edward, Victorian England as seen by Punch (1978)
- Doran, Amanda-Jane, Punch lines : 150 years of humorous writing in Punch (1991)
- Mellini, Peter, ‘Not the Guilty Men? : Punch and Appeasement’, in History Today, 46:5 (1996), 38-44
- Altick, Richard D., Punch : the lively youth of a British institution, 1841-1851 (1997)
- McNees, Eleanor, ‘Punch and the Pope : three decades of anti-Catholic caricature’, in Victorian Periodicals Review, 37:1 (2004), 18-45
- Cross, Anthony Glenn, ‘The Crimean War and the Caricature War’, in Slavonic & East European Review, 84:3 (2006), 460-80
- Crystal, David, We are not amused : Victorian views on pronunciation as told in the pages of Punch (2017)
- Useful subject searches in SOLO:
English wit and humor
Caricatures and cartoons
Punch (London, England)