Colonel Sibthorp: A Festival Centenary

Christopher Sykes on an influential, eventful - though entirely fictional - parliamentary career.

This year a clique of which I am member celebrates a man and an event. The man’s name was Colonel Charles de Laet Waldo Sibthorp, and in the middle years of the nineteenth century he was one of the best-known political figures in England. He did not die in 1851, but in this year and the one preceding it he passed through his finest hours, which we of the Sibthorp following remember today. A word about us. We are for the most part the readers of old Punches, those who delight in this magazine when it has lain in the cellars for a long time. One of the things we most relish in early numbers are sketches by four of the greatest of Punch draughtsmen: Thackeray, Leech, Doyle and the young Tenniel, of a cross little bearded man wearing strange clothes and an enormous quizzing glass. He is usually called C—1 S—p, Hon. Member for L—n. He is our hero of whom I now treat.

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