A Brief History of the Cartoonists’ Club

A Brief History of the Cartoonists' Club

Cartoonists are solitary performers, if calling them such is not a contradiction in terms. A cartoonist will invent jokes in solitude, those published in the national press will each morning be seen by several million readers, and the combined laughter of these readers could well be loud enough to blow the roof off the London Palladium… but the cartoonist will never hear it. He or she is denied the adrenaline charge created by applause and will therefore live a life of abject insecurity, even if fully employed – and hansomely rewarded.

That is the way things are today, but they were much worse before 1960 when only the few cartoonists who were under contract to papers and magazines worked in Fleet Street or its environs, and were known only to one another. The rest of us, the small army of freelancers who lived and worked in attics throughout the length and breadth of the British Isles, wouldn't have recognised a fellow cartoonist if he or she tripped over one in the street! No-one knew anyone and we all craved some sort of a club where we could spend a little time finding out how we stood in the great scheme of things.

Then, sometime during either February or March of 1960, every cartoonist recieved a printed invitation to the inaugural meeting of a cartoonists' club that was to take place at 'The Feathers' in Tudor Street, just off Fleet Street, at two o'clock on the afternoon of Friday, APRIL THE FIRST.

From It's All Here in Black and White by Les Lilley

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