That’s the way to do it

We’d like to welcome our very first set of Punch and Judy dolls into the history collection at TWAM.

Just some of the puppets from Adam’s Punch and Judy collection

Just some of the puppets from Adam’s Punch and Judy collection

These are not just any Punch and Judy dolls. They were given to the museum by Ann Small, the puppets belonged to her father Adam Miller. Adam ran the Punch and Judy show in Whitley Bay after 1945 seven days a week during the summer months

Punch and Judy at Whitley Bay

Punch and Judy at Whitley Bay

The dolls were hand carved from wood and Adam’s wife Florence made the costumes from old scraps of clothes. In the winter Adam performed the Punch and Judy show at the Christmas parties of local firms like Swan Hunters.

The stars of the show: Punch and Judy

The stars of the show: Punch and Judy

Now it’s up to our volunteers to begin the task of adding all the details of the Punch and Judy collection to our computer system and packing them up in the store. Hopefully we will have the chance to use them in an exhibition in the not too distant future.

In the meantime I wonder if many people in the North East remember seeing the show?

8 Responses to That’s the way to do it

  1. john says:

    Punch and Judy at the seaside- back in 1947!

    • Hilary Marshall says:

      That’s probably the last time I saw Punch and Judy on seafront and Whitley Bay in 1947, aged 2!! Cannot remember to much about them but definitely saw them so maybe I was about 5, they would still be performing there then.

      • Kylea Little says:

        Hi Hilary

        Thank you for sharing your memory of Punch and Judy at Whitley Bay. It’s really nice to hear from someone who saw these puppets being used. I think it is interesting to think about how the way we use the seafront has changed.


  2. I remember watching Punch and Judy on the seafront as a small child many times. To me, as a child in the 1950’s Whitley Bay was such an exciting place to grow up in, The Spanish City seemed magical.

  3. Kylea Little says:

    Thanks for posting a comment. One of my colleagues lives in Whitley Bay and was just telling me about a great little exhibition that was recently on inside the Spanish City. It was all about the history of the site and the Spanish City. She said it was really interesting so I’m sad that I missed it.

    We had some photos of the Spanish City in an exhibition we did last year about the popular music scene in Tyne and Wear – we were mentioning that Dire Straits sang about it in the ‘Tunnel of Love’ song.

    • kevin says:

      Regarding the exhibition at The Dome, Whitley Bay, Mick Sharp, who produced the event along with his wife Cathy, has just published a book ‘The Dome of memories’ which captures the exhibition and the story of The Dome. I understand that currently it’s available from Chris Bishop at North Tyneside Council, but will be available more widley in due course. Also, if you look at this you tube link there is some footage of several old penny amusement machines which formed part of the Dome, Hertitage weekend exhibition –

      As to Punch and Judy, I got to see a performance of one a couple of years ago at the Great Dorset Steam Fair and there is more to these shows, if done right, than you might think. Fabulously humourous and a two edged humour which pleases children and adults. They are becoming an endangered species and a lost gem!

  4. Kylea Little says:

    I just had a quick look at the YouTube link – those games look great. Especially the helicopter one.

    Thanks for letting me know about the book. I’ll have to see if I can get one for the museum.

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