11 Rubbish Victorian Jokes About London

M@
By M@ Last edited 21 months ago
11 Rubbish Victorian Jokes About London

Much as today, Victorian newspapers leavened their serious reportage with a good helping of humour. Most papers found room for a regular comedy section, under headings like "Wit and Wisdom" or "Mirth and Amusement". The jokes fall flat today, but they're still of interest as a window on the times. Here are 10 with a particularly London flavour.

1. So bad, they have to explain it.

1831


2. Could this be the first printed joke about the Metropolitan Police (founded in 1829)?

1831


3. A painful gag about London's wealthiest banker, Nathan Mayer Rothschild.

1831


4. We're not sure we quite get this one.

1846


5. This one needed explaining then, and needs even more annotation now. Dustmen used to carry bells; Bellona was a Roman goddess of war.

1870


6. Worst. Pun. Ever.

1871


7. Crappy one-liner about a Holborn thoroughfare.

1871


8. Think about it... (but not too much)

1877


9. Cutting-edge satire.

1877


10. Arf, arf.

1882


11. Let's end on a dramatic note.

1896


With thanks to Lee Jackson, who supplied a couple of these. Lee regularly tweets Victorian japery via @VictorianLondon.

Note for pedants: yes, we know that the first three are pre-Victorian, but "19th Century" looks cumbersome in headlines. Deal with it.

All excerpts (c) the British Library Board, from the British Newspaper Archive.

Last Updated 05 January 2017