Time for some more funnies from the early 20th Century, cartoons published in Mr Punch in London Town from the New Punch Library.
I was in the Red Lion in Crown Passage, St James’s on Saturday evening and noticed they had framed cartoons on the wall. Closer inspection showed that they were not originals but cut from books, I believe the same set from which these come, that is to say The New Punch Library. I always wince when I see that books have been butchered in this way. You see this in many pubs and countless thousands mounted on board in dealers and on street traders’ stalls up and down the land. Old prints can mean tidy business. The NPL seems to be common enough if you look on eBay, ABE Books and so on, so in this case, no real harm done, I suppose. And one can argue that the overwhelming majority of old book illustrations will never be seen by anybody, ever. So why not chop them out and display them? Mmm… still doesn’t seem right, somehow. What do you think?
Anyway, back to the cartoons. The first one was originally published in Punch on 24 June, 1908 and involves something known as a “Flip-Flap”. It’s some sort of cage, in this case occupied by well-to-do folk who are being goaded by some characters further down the social scale. But what is a Flip-Flap? At first I thought it might be some kind of lift apparatus on the Underground, at the time going through rapid expansion. But no. A few minutes’ Goolging reveals that the Flip-Flap was a sort of funfair ride at the Anglo-French Exhibition of 1908 held at White City. The Flip-Flap obviously became a widely-publicised highlight. There is a good illustration of it here (scroll down a bit).
More working-class wit here:
Put-upon cabbies and waitering staff were a common source for amusement.