Mark Bryant takes a look at a pioneering magazine that acted as a school for a whole generation of cartoonists.
This year marks the seventieth anniversary of the launch of a pocket-sized literary and humorous magazine which was so successful that within six months it was outselling its larger rival Punch and during the Second World War had a record-breaking circulation of more than a quarter of a million copies. Founded by a Hungarian refugee from Nazi Germany who later set up Picture Post, it revolutionized the magazine world in the way that Allen Lane’s Penguins had transformed book publishing two years earlier and its list of distinguished contributors reads like a Who’s Who of the twentieth century. As well as stories, articles, poems and photos it also published cartoons, including the first drawings by Gerard Hoffnung (then a schoolboy), and the first St Trinian’s cartoon by Ronald Searle amongst many others. Its name was Lilliput.