Nineteenth Century Periodicals

A collection of Punch, Fun and other nineteenth century periodicals

Covering cheaply produced weekly journals (such as The Working Man’s Friend, The London Journal) to monthly illustrated fiction volumes, featuring the work of Dickens and Millais (such as Once a Week, All the Year Round). A number of satirical titles also feature, including Punch (see below) and Fun, alongside journals aimed at women, containing colour plates of the latest fashions, such as The Ladies Treasury.

Volumes have been used to support teaching and learning across the School of Humanities and Social Science and to facilitate research at study days, such as ‘Dressed to Kill’ by the Victorian Popular Fiction Association held at LJMU.

Punch and the Victorian Periodical Press

The cartoons and satire of Punch magazine, also known as The London Charivari, are iconographic symbols of the Victorian era, making Punch a particularly rich source for studying mid-Victorian life and urban change. Published weekly from 1841, the main cuts provide a striking visual representation of current news and affairs. The popularity of the magazine endured throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century, finally ceasing publication in 2002.

Despite Punch being a ubiquitous source of contemporary humour and social commentary, the magazine has attracted little detailed research. The collection and the digital project that accompanies it are part of a series of ongoing projects started by Dr Clare Horrocks (Lecturer in Media, Culture, Communication) and the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals in conjunction with the British Library, where the Punch publishing archive is housed. 

The collection held at LJMU consists of a complete run of Punch from 1841 until 1936, along with a few additional volumes – a list of items in the Punch Collection is available.



Digtial Project - a database of Punch contributors

The accompanying Digital Project is an interactive database of the contributors to Punch currently only recorded in the Punch Archive at the British Library.

In December 1842, Bradbury and Evans became sole owners of the magazine, introducing the Contributor Ledgers in 1843, which started to detail who were regular contributors on the salaried staff, the title and length of their work for each week. Given the anonymous authorship characteristic of much of the periodical writing of the Victorian period, this project, in identifying these contributors, will provide crucial data for understanding not only the character of the magazine but also the social network of writers and illustrators who worked in the literary marketplace of the nineteenth century.

The digital images from the Punch ledgers have been made available under licence from the British Library Board, which retains copyright.

The pilot year of 1843 has been completed by Dr Horrocks with the assistance of a Curran Fellowship from the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals.

Internal links

The following resources are available to LJMU students and staff through Databases.

  • 17th and 18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers
  • British Library Newspapers 1732-1950
  • Illustrated London News Historical Archive
  • Nineteenth Century British Library Newspapers
  • Nineteenth Century UK Periodicals: New Readership
  • Punch Historical Archive 1841 - 1992
  • Times Digital Archive 1785 - 2010
  • Victorian Popular Culture

External links

British Association for Victorian Studies
Research Society for Victorian Periodicals
Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP)
The Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition
Victorian Research Web