A Victorian joke book

victorian joke book index page 001Found at Jot HQ the other day a small scrapbook containing pasted in humorous cuttings from magazines and newspapers that once belonged to the late prankster Jeremy Beadle (1948 – 2008). The date 1897 on the cover was very likely the year in which the compilation was begun, since many of the jokes and anecdotes are clearly of a later date. The high quality of much of the material strongly suggests that the compiler may have been a comedian of some sophistication who was prepared to devote a long period in search of the best gags.


The jokes are classified into several groups thus:

Ugly faces, dress-makers and milliners, photographers, tailors, bicycles, tramps and beggars, servant-girls, Irishmen, small boys, babies, mean people, love and love-making, mashers, teachers and scholars, country bumpkins, cats, dogs and other animals, singers and musicians, weddings and parties, married men & women, soldiers and the army, ‘tall’ stories, railways, ships & seasickness, conundrums, puns,   ‘new ‘ women, comic rhymes, watches and clocks, definitions, boosey jokes, doctors, shops and shopkeepers, bits of advice, deaf people, hotels and lodgings, actors and the stage, fat people, girls and their doings, ‘ catch ‘ jokes, football, hairdressers , churches & clergymen, mothers-in-law, prisons & prisoners, man & his doings, or unclassifiable jokes, hens and eggs, restaurant, Jews, jokes for twoperformers, swimmers, country yokels, fish tales, patriotic, sailors & ships, dentists.


Some favourites


George III wondering how the apple got into the dumpling is nothing to the small boy who, looking between two uncut leaves of a magazine, said” Mammy, how did they ever get the printing in there?”


A recruit was brought up for medical inspection and the doctor asked him, “ Have you any defects ?”

“ Yes, sir; I am short-sighted.”

“How can you prove it?”

“Easily enough, doctor. Do you see that nail up yonder in the wall ? ”

“ Yes.”

“ Well, I don’t.”




Bertie: “ Are you dining anywhere on Thursday?”

Appleby (eagerly) “Thursday—no”

Bertie: “ How hungry you’ll be on Friday !”


He who laughs last is a bachelor.


Scottish school inspector (examining class):

“ Now, my little man, tell me what five and one make.”

No answer.

Inspector: “Suppose I gave you five rabbits, and then another rabbit, how many rabbits would you have?”

Boy: “Seven”.

Inspector: “Seven!” “ How do you make that out ?”

Boy: “ I’ve a rabbit o’ ma ain at home.”


“This”, said the little boy who was showing some country friends the sights of London,“ is the square that the Battle of Trafalgar was named after.”


Hojak :“I hear that you are building a new house”

Tomdik: “ I couldn’t very well build an old one, you know “


More antique jokes to come..


One thought on “A Victorian joke book

  1. Amber

    That’s great! I perform as a 1920s Vaudevillian character sometimes, and as such, have started to find myself collecting material like that joke book. I try to use the classic comedy techniques but without the awful racist stereotyping. Good find!


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