Saturday, October 27, 2007


The image on the left is a classic 1933 advert for Skegness.

It was a poster produced for the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) to promote rail travel to the Lincolnshire coastal resort town and it shows the ‘Jolly Fisherman’ dancing along the beach.

The 'Jolly Fisherman' poster is one of the most famous English holiday posters. First published in 1908 by the Great Northern Railway (GNR) which paid twelve pounds for it, since then the 'Jolly Fisherman' has been caricatured and re-drawn over and over again.

It was an outstanding poster for its time, because most Victorian and Edwardian posters were restrained and factual.

The artwork is by Frank Newbould (1887-1951) after John Hassall (1868-1948), who first drew the character.

I believe the image on the right is the original version.

Yes indeed. It has certainly been caricatured. I have on my bathroom wall a framed version of it produced by the comic Viz in 1996. A much better version!

This was the January page of its calendar. A famous calendar because I believe it was that year which inadvertently had the 31st of April listed, thereby throwing out every date after that and rendering the calendar useless!

Anyway, the January image is shown on the left and it features not the Jolly Fisherman dancing along the beach, but one of the Fat Slags from Viz bouncing along a litter-strewn beach.

In case you can't make out the small text at the bottom it says "Issued by the Mablethorpe Tourism Association. Mablethorpe - Not as bad as Skegness". Mablethorpe is a nearby coastal town.

Not on the image on the left, but on the original calendar, was the text underneath which said:

Popularly known as the Jolly Slag, this design became a classic of the poster advertising genre. Commissioned by the Mablethorpe Tourism Association as a spoiling tactic against their East Lincolnshire coast rivals, the design backfired. Rather than drawing visitors away from the more popular resort and to neighbouring Mablethorpe, holidaymakers flocked to Skegness in their tens of thousands to see for themselves exactly how shit it was. Skegness later retaliated with a series of its own watercolour posters, among them the classic "Mablethorpe stinks of piss", "Mablethorpe is for puffs" and the highly collectable "Mablethorpe can suck my cock".

A classic, and one I felt I had to remove from the calendar 11 years ago and keep framed.

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