This gruesome cartoon is by the caricaturist and portrait painter Robert Cruikshank (1789-1856). It reflects the generally negative feeling that people in this country harboured towards doctors during the cholera outbreak of 1831-32. The cartoon contains many references to death, reflecting the lack of knowledge amongst doctors the world over about the cause and cure of cholera. It also highlights the ineffectiveness of the newly created Board of Health in preventing the spread of cholera.
The cartoon is part of a collection of broadsides, cartoons and other archival material relating to the cholera epidemic of 1831-32 in Gateshead, where two hundred and twenty people lost their lives to this horrific disease. Along with other sources from Special Collections, it is currently being used as part of Newcastle University Library’s education project, which aims to promote Special Collections materials to teachers and school children through visits, structured learning activities and the development of online learning resources using original sources. This particular source will feature in an online cholera-based resource which will tell the story of the cholera outbreak – from how it got here to the grisly symptoms, from ineffective quarantines to praying for miracle cures – through primary sources, interactive games, audio and much more.
A volume of printed ephemera, broadsides, posters, cartoons, referring to elections in Northumberland, Newcastle and Tyneside divisions, 1826-1931: including a series of cartoons of Joseph Cowen which were collected by R.W. Martin, Rhondda House, Benton, Northumberland
This cartoon depicts the three candidates who stood for election in Newcastle upon Tyne (1880).
Joseph Cowen (1829-1900) is on the left. His family owned a brickworks factory in Blaydon Burn hence the play on words: “Who’ll have a go with the political egg warranted not te brik”. The hat he wears possibly illustrates his sympathies with revolutionary movements on the continent – Cowen promoted revolution and was friends with several revolutionaries, such as Mazzini. He also sympathised with the Chartists. When he had been elected as Liberal Member for Newcastle in 1873, the Liberal Party in Newcastle was split into a radical and a moderate faction.
Ashton Wentworth Dilke (1850-1883) also stood as a Liberal candidate in the 1880 election and won a seat. He was perceived to be an advanced Liberal and radical and is depicted on the right.
The defeated Conservative candidate, in the middle, was Charles F. Hamond. The woman’s cry of “Cum inte the hoose Charlie, an divvent play wi’ bigger lads than yorsel” summarises the political climate – Hamond is portrayed in other cartoons as an old man who has had his day and who cannot compete against the Liberals.