The History of the Punch and Judy Show

The history and tradition of the "Punch and Judy" show is a long and varied one, the following is a very brief introduction...

In 1662 the famed diarist Samuel Pepy's wrote in his diary that he’d been “mighty pleased” by an Italian puppet show that he had seen near London’s Covent Garden. One of the entertainments seen by Pepy’s may have been by the Italian puppeteer, Pietro Gimonde known as Signor Bologna..

His marionette show took place inside a large tent and among his characters was a beak-nosed hunchback called Punchinello. To English audiences he became plain old Mr. Punch. Over the next century, puppeteers adopted the popular Mr Punch and toured England with their shows. By the 1800’s however people had grown tired of marionettes, but who ever first ”snipped” the strings from Mr. Punch and turned him into a glove puppet is lost in the mists of time…

The cumbersome marionette theatres, needing many hands to operate, became a simple one man show with a cast of just Mr. Punch, his wife Judy, their baby, a policeman and eventually a crocodile. Mr. Punch’s squeaky voice or call is a traditional part of the show and is usually considered incomplete without it…!


Punch Image

I've Come a Long Way!