Mr PUNCH! The UK's national Puppet for 360 years
The Punch and Judy show’s roots are Italian, but over it’s time in the United Kingdom it has evolved into something very British. The first show recorded was in May 1662 by Samuel Pepys in his diary, the show that was seen then was very different to what we are used to today, the show that Pepys saw was a marionette show, with Punchinello (as mr Punch was known by then) dressed in a white costume. Whereas the modern show that came into fashion in the late 18th and early 19th centuries was a hand puppet show, and Mr Punch (his name ended up getting shortened) dressed in the more familiar red and yellow.
When we think about Punch and Judy we usually think of it being at home on the seaside, but this wasn’t always the case. Punch shows were commonly seen on city streets or part of touring fairs; then the boom in railways and victorians started to take summer holidays, so Mr Punch and the professors followed to seaside resorts up and down the country.
VISIT WEYMOUTH PUNCH & JUDY
Dorset is the only county in the country with 2 full time summer Punch and Judy shows still operating. Why not also take a trip to see the historic Punch and Judy show at Weymouth? Run by my mentor and good friend Professor Mark Poulton.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MR PUNCH
You can read about the history of Mr Punch in this V&A archive piece here.
THE PUNCH & JUDY CLUB
Professor Joe Burns is proud to be a member of the Punch & Judy club. Click the logo for more information.