Mr. Punch at the Seaside

Yesterday & Today

There is a long tradition, in Britain, associating the Punch & Judy Show with The Seaside: coastal holiday resorts to which the whole population would flock during the Summer months. Greater affluence, easier global travel and more flexible holiday arrangements have decreased the popularity of the traditional seaside holiday and consequently it is much harder for a punchman to make an adequate living on these pitches, and the numbers of seaside professors are dwindling.

Here are some pictures of seaside Punchmen of the past, and also some who are still performing on beach and promenade today.

Click to enlarge this 2003 Weston Super Mare poster
advertising Punch shows throughout the summer.

Mark 2
Prof. Mark Poulton appeared on Goodrington Sands, Paignton, Devon.

1. Goodrington Sands 1989 .. 2. Weston Super Mare 1990
3. Lusty Glaze Beach, Cornwall .. 4. Goodrington Sands 1999

1. Teignmouth Beach 2002
2. Goodrington Sands 2002 (with TV presenter Bradley Walsh)

Prof. Basil (Punchman, author and theatrical historian Michael Byrom) at Paignton 1981

Mr. Bimbamboozle (Chris Somerville) on the seafront at Llanfairfechan, North Wales.

Prof. Bruce
Swanage Professor Paul Bruce was for many years the resident punchman at Swanage,
following veteran Punchman Jock Armitage.
He was followed by a lady Punch Professor, Wendy Wharham.

The late Sergeant Stone provided Punch at Brighton

The late Prof. Guy Higgins at Weymouth Sands, Dorset. The tradition is continued by Prof. Mark Poulton.

Prof. Alexander Prof. John Alexander performed at Broadstairs, Kent. Click the picture to go to his own website.

Prof. Jingles Prof. Jingles(Bryan Clarke) appeared at Lowestoft. Bryan is still active and is the leading maker of Punch & Judy puppets for professors who do not make their own.

Prof. Davey Prof. Davey appears at Lyme Regis. He also makes puppets and equipment for fellow puppeteers.

from Mark Poulton
(A) shows a young Mark Poulton outside Prof. Guy Higgins' booth in circa 1975.
(B) shows Rod Burnett's show at Weston-Super-Mare, 1988.
(C) shows Mark Poulton and Guy Higgins outside the Higgins' booth at Wemouth, September 1999.

from Mark Poulton
Mark Poulton once again, with Prof. Guy Higgins, Weymouth 2001

on clacton beach on clacton beach on clacton beach


Peter and Miraiker Battey present Punch and Judy on the beach at Clacton through much of the summer each year. They can be contacted by telephone: 01473 831365 or visit their website

Click a picture to enlarge

on exmouthsands


Malcolm presents Punch and Judy on Exmouth Sands, Devon, near the Octagon, throughout the summer. He can be contacted by email or telephone: 01626 891328

Click a picture to enlarge

mark poulton 2003


Mark Poulton's new booth and proscenium for his 2003 season at Goodrington Sands, Paignton, Devon. Now he has taken over the pitch at Weymouth. You can Email him or visit his website.

Click a picture to enlarge


Ted Green performed for many years on the promenade at Rhyl, and many visitors remember his pitch, by the clocktower. Ted died in the mid nineteen eighties.

Now Prof. Magico (Eddie Hughes) presents Punch throughout the summer at the children's village on the promenade at Rhyl.

eddie hughes eddie hughes

And here are some Rhyl cards from the wonderful Geoff Felix Archive

Punch on Rhyl Promenade in 1910

Punch on Rhyl Promenade in 1919

Punch on Rhyl Promenade in 1929

Punch on Rhyl Promenade circa 1970

Prof Ted Green's Punch Show in its familar clocktower site. Circa 1982

Almost identical to the previous picture - by rival postcard company. Circa 1982

If you know a punch performer appearing on a seaside beach, pier or promenade site please encourage them to send their details for inclusion on this site. If they are on the web then they should initially email webmaster Chris Somerville Otherwise they can write to Chris Somerville, Harlequin Puppet Theatre, Rhos-on-Sea, Colwyn Bay, North Wales LL28 4EP, UK.


Click this small picture to enlarge. Prof Smith on Margate Sands, 1895. Postcard courtesy of Prof Mark Poulton.