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Author Topic: First Editor of Punch ( Sheerness)  (Read 4673 times)

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Re: First Editor of Punch ( Sheerness)
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2015, 22:37:12 »
The Life of Douglas Jerrold, by his son W. Blanchard Jerrold. Published 1859.
Available as a free e-book @

Pages 6-21 will be of particular interest to Sheppey readers as it details his early life in Blue Town, where his father ran a theatre.
Joining the Royal Navy, Douglas Jerrold served on board HMS Namur, parts of which were recently discovered at Chatham Dockyard, and then on HMS Ernest, from where comes this little story. Pages 24-25.

The weather presently became heavy, and the Ernest took advantage of her proximity to the good harbour of Cuxhaven to anchor there on the 29th of June. (1815. Douglas Jerrold was aged just thirteen and a half.) It was here at Heligoland, I suspect, that the midshipman of the brig, in whom we are interested, fell into disgrace. He had gone ashore with Captain Hutchinson, and was left in command of the gig. While the commander was absent two of the men in the midshipman's charge, requested permission to make some trifling purchase. The good-natured officer assented, adding.
 -"By the way, you may as well buy me some apples and a few pears."
"All right, sir," said the men; and they departed.

The captain presently returned, and still the seamen were away on their errand. They were searched for, but they could not be found. They had deserted. Any naval reader whose eye may wander over this page will readily imagine the disgrace into which Midshipman Douglas Jerrold fell with his captain. Upon the young delinquent the event made a lasting impression, and years afterwards he talked about it with a curious excitement which lit up his face when he spoke of anything he had felt. He remembered even the features of the two deserters; as he had, most unexpectedly, an opportunity of proving.

The midshipman had long put his dirk aside, and washed the salt from his brave face. He had become a fighter with a keener weapon than his dirk had ever proved, when, one day strolling eastward, possibly from the office of his own newspaper to the printing premises of Messrs. Bradbury and Evans, in Whitefriars, he was suddenly struck with the form and face of a baker, who, with his load of bread at his back, was examining some object in the window of the surgical-instrument maker, who puzzles so many inquisitive passersby, near the entrance to King's College. There was no mistake. Even the flour dredge could not hide the fact. The ex-midshipman walked nimbly to the baker's side, and, rapping him sharply upon the back, said, -
"I say, my friend, don't you think you've been rather a long time about that fruit?"
The deserter's jaw fell. Thirty years had not calmed the unquiet suggestions of his conscience. He remembered the fruit and the little middy, for he said.-
"Lor! is that you sir?"
The midshipman went on his way laughing.

Offline CDP

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First Editor of Punch ( Sheerness)
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2011, 21:16:23 »



He was the son of an actor-manager, when he was four ,his family moved to Sheerness ,his father having acquired the lease of a theatre in the High Street Bluetown ,the oldest part of  Sheerness .The theatre ,a wooden building was later demolished and its site used for dock extensions .In 1807 Sheerness was an important naval centre ,its dockyards kept busy by the Napoleonic wars ,so audiences at the Bluetown theatre were largely composed of sailors. Douglas Jerrold attended a local school but finished his formal education by December 1813,when he enlisted  on the Namur, a guard ship in the Nore ,later transferring to a gun-brig used to transport wounded soldiers from France .Quite possibly disenchanted by this experience ,Jerrold left the Navy for good when the ship paid off in October 1815.The family then moved to London ,where Douglas became a printers apprentice and set out to complete  his education .This eventually led to his successful career as a  journalist and playwright whose early acclaimed plays had a nautical theme.

He joined the staff of the newly formed “PUNCH”  in 1841 and contributed until ten days before his death.
His “ Black-eyed Susie “ (1829) and “The Mutiny at the Nore “ (1830) were extremely popular
His keen wit and liberal views –he was a firm opponent of the death penalty- helped to give PUNCH its distinctive character.
Charles Dickens was a close friend and they acted together and had similar views on society.
He wrote to Charles Dickens in 1843  from his holiday visits in   a rented house on the outskirts of Herne Village “ My dear Dickens – I write from  a little cabin built up of ivy and woodbine ……………………………

Jerrold began at Herne the work which some contemporary critics considered among the best prose-writing of the day .”The Chronicles of Clovernook (1843).But he was forced to interrupt his work by yet another attack of rheumatism so severe that, on his return to London ,he had to be carried aboard the boat which departed from Herne Bay.
( Charles Dickens 1812-1870 in 1817 moved with his family to Sheerness where his father John who was a naval clerk had a temporary posting .They rented a small house next to the theatre before moving to Chatham four months later, The theatre may well have been the same one as that leased by Douglas Jerrold between 1807 and 1815 )



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