A Grand Day Out: A Trip to London’s Cartoon Museum 

Photo courtesy Izzy World

Photo courtesy Izzy World

London’s Cartoon Museum is a great place to visit – and downthetubes reader Izzy World popped along recently to take a look…

Located in the heart of Bloomsbury, about five minutes from either Tottenham Court Road or Holborn tube, the Cartoon Museum is a great little place to visit. It even has its own artist-in-residence – Mark Stafford, co-creator of the graphic novels Cherubs! (with Bryan Talbot) and The Man who Laughs (with Dave Hine), amongst a fair few other things.

The Museum has been awarded £164,300 for its Comic Creators project by the Heritage Lottery Fund, part of their £5 million funding package to a range of museums, libraries and archives across the UK.

Under HLF’s Collecting Cultures programme, 23 organisations, from Glasgow down to Brighton, will be able to enhance the scope of their collections and the Cartoon Museum is one of them.

The only museum in Britain dedicated to collecting and displaying original British cartoons and comics, its collection has grown substantially over the last ten years, thanks mainly to the generosity of many artists and artists’ families.

Photo courtesy Izzy World

Photo courtesy Izzy World

For copyright reasons, we couldn’t take specific photos of artwork but it had some pages by artists such as Brian Bolland, Dave Gibbons and David Lloyd and pages from British comics including Krazy, Dandy, The Beano, Cor! and more.

The Museum – which usually runs three exhibitions at a time – is currently hosting an exhibition dedicated to Martin Honeysett, which runs until 16th April 2016, which takes up a lot of the ground floor, but it is interesting to see.

© The Estate of Martin Honeysett

© The Estate of Martin Honeysett

The exhibition marks the first anniversary of the death of the great gag cartoonist, who died in January 2015. He’s regarded as one of the sharpest and funniest British cartoonists of the last 50 years and the exhibition includes examples of his work from Private Eye, The Oldie and other publications.

Overall, the Cartoon Museum is well worth a visit if you’re passing through the West End.

Entry to the Museum is £7 for adults, but this is an independent set up that receives no government funding, with limited funds – and admission fees are less for concessions (£5), students (£3) – and free for under 18s and Art Fund members.

Coming soon is their “Great British Graphic Novel” exhibition (20th April – 24th July) looking at the rise of the British Graphic novel with works by William Hogarth, Kate Charlesworth, Dave Gibbons, Martin Rowson, Posy Simmonds, Bryan and Mary Talbot and many others.

To accompany the exhibition, they’re offering a limited series of free workshops to school groups. For more details see the Museum web site’s schools page.

28th April sees the start of their Doctor Who Target Book exhibition (more info here).

Photo courtesy Izzy World

Photo courtesy Izzy World

• The Cartoon Museum is at 35 Little Russell Street, London, WC1A 2HH, Tel: 0207 580 8155. Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday: 10.30 – 17.30 (including Bank Holidays); Sunday 12.00 – 17.30. Web: www.cartoonmuseum.org

Cartoon Museum future exhibitions

The Comic Creators Project

The Comic Creators project will enable the museum to purchase a large number original pieces of comic artwork for the Cartoon Museum collection and develop exhibitions, activities and events which will share Britain’s comic heritage with a wider public, not just in London but across the country.

• More about the Museum’s Comic Creators project on their blog, including highlights from the collection and updates on current events

• You can follow the project on Facebook and Twitter for regular news, view beautiful images of our expanding collection on Instagram and see photos from our latest events on Flickr


Izzy World is writer/artist for the fan project Avengers UK – find it on Facebook

Categories: British Comics, Creating Comics, downthetubes News, Events, Exhibitions, Features

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1 reply

  1. Interesting article. I happened to be in London in 2006 not long after the museum opened and toddled along to take a look. Although a lifelong comic fan I do have a few favourite cartoonists as well. It was a little bleak from what I recollect and I’m uncertain now if it was even in the present location?

    What I do remember was speaking to someone who worked there and asking them if they had any comic art or would they be acquiring any? I was told in no uncertain terms that the museum was for cartoonists and not comic stuff!

    I had posed the question because I had at that time recently acquired an extensive collection of comic art and thought I could donate some pieces, as I had already done with Dundee University. Anyway I still enjoyed the cartoon exhibition and so toddled off on my merry way.

    Over the next couple of years I heard from a couple of other major comic art collectors that they had been rebuffed also. Suddenly the next thing I know up pops DC Thomson with a large exhibition of their stuff at the museum. The exhibition must have been successful as the museum appeared to become more interested in acquiring comic artwork and clearly have now secured a collection, mostly by donation from various artists it would seem?

    Now comes the announcement that they are embarking on a course to purchase comic art with funding from the government. While obviously delighted to see that the museum is focusing not only on the work of Britain’s fabulous cartoonists but also comic artists, would now be the time for the board of directors of the museum to consider a name change to perhaps “The Cartoon and Comic Art Museum”? I proffer this suggestion, not only to better reflect the current interests of the museum but also to help promote the comic art side of the museum, as I regularly run into comic collectors who have no idea it is there?

    Perhaps with this small change comic/comic art bloggers out there would be happy to offer free advertising to the museum on their multitude of blogs to promote the museums collections, and who knows maybe comic scholars could be made aware and given access to the collection for research purposes, (if they aren’t already?). Surely such free marketing would result in more exposure and possibly more revenue 🙂

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