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The Children’s Newspaper
A long-running newspaper published by the Amalgamated Press (later Fleetway Publications) aimed at pre-teenage children founded by Arthur Mee in 1919. It ran for 2,397 weekly issues before being merged with Look and Learn in 1965.
A 12-page, tabloid-sized ‘Children’s Newspaper’ which debuted on 22 March 1919, priced 1½d, which was considered quite expensive at the time.
At its peak, The Children’s Newspaper sold 500,000 copies a week. Sales began to fall after the Second World War as rival publications, notably the Eagle, Junior Mirror and Junior Express began to appear. It was not until the mid-1950s that The Children’s Newspaper began to modernise, adding features on television and sports and including interviews with popular sporting personalities.
Peter Puck was an almost forgotten ‘one scene’ cartoon character who appeared every week under the heading “Peter Puck wants to know.” These usually took the form of silly, amusing questions that had no obvious answer.
Peter Pucks first appearance was on the 22nd March, 1919, were he asked “What do the Bolsheviks Really Want?” and continued to appear every week until at least 1954.
These drawing from the 1930’s were produced by JH Dowd, a well-known children’s illustrator.
In later editions, he seemed to be drawn by various in-house artists and often appeared wearing a top hat. The individual drawings were exquisitely done and followed what appeared to be a ‘house-style.’
Other witticisms appearing under Peter Puck’s Advice included:
“Rubber pavements are coming into vogue, ought to be useful for the pavement artists.” (1926)
“There are fewer pavement artists; those there are get down to business.” (1935)
“Even pavement artists are going all patriotic, drawing on flags!” (1937)
“A pavement artist has given an exhibition in a picture gallery, because he is tired of people looking down on his work.” (1938)
“A London pavement artist will draw your portrait if you don’t mind being looked down on.” (1940)
“A Writer says he knows a pavement artist whose pictures are above the average, perhaps he only works when the road is up.” (1945)
“A pavement artist says he is proud of his work, and does not mind if people look down on it.” (1952)
Peter Puck’s original illustrator: James H Dowd was born in 1884. He worked as a draughtsman, etcher and painter. He was a regular contributor to “The Graphic” and in 1906 began to have his work published in “Punch Magazine”.
In 1925 he created the illustrations for a story which appeared in the London Evening News on December the 24th. The story was entitled “Winnie The Pooh” – this was later to become the first chapter of AA Milne’s book (though the illustrations in the book were not drawn by Dowd). He provided drawings for several books including “Important People” (1930) and “People and Importance” (1934).
Written & researched by Philip Battle
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