Ally did like to be beside the seaside

Ally Sloper's Half Holiday comic'Sent in by Kevin Carpenter, from Germany
Ally Sloper's Half Holiday comic'Sent in by Kevin Carpenter, from Germany
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Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Ally Sloper was well-known to enjoy a visit to Blackpool.

The popular comic character, star of the weekly publication Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday, was often depicted paddling in the resort sea, or strolling along the Promenade.

These editions, dated August 9, 1890 and September 5, 1903 – costing one penny – were sent in by Blackpool ex-pat Kevin Carpenter from his collection. Both feature Blackpool on the front cover.

Former Arnold School pupil Dr Carpenter is now living in Germany and has set up an online exhibition of British comics from the 1870s through to the 1930s.

Ally Sloper – and his Half Holiday comic magazine – was extremely popular during the turn of the 20th century.

In one these editions of the publication, he can be seen swimming in the Blackpool Sea, at the start of a “remarkable feat of endurance” – swimming around the British Isles “without stopping”. His challenge was starting in Blackpool and he does not look like he would last very long – indeed the text reads: “The hero promised to finish his swim at the place he started from – and will probably do so in about five minutes.”

In another edition, he is depicted setting up a rifle range on North Beach in the resort.

And a comic strip is featured entitled A Seaside Boarding House Romance, in which two love rivals Bodgers and Codgers compete for the affections of “the fair Amelia.”

The weekly also includes a fashion section, with Miss Sloper and this edition includes a picture of the “Blackpool bathing costume.”

Dr Carpenter said: “Ally Sloper is the tall, bald-headed character with the bulbous nose.

“I thought these comics might interest and amuse Gazette readers.”

To view Dr Carpenter’s exhibition and find out more about Ally Sloper, visit www.wonderfullyvulgar.de