Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

England's Illustrated Police News: Fun, murder & mummified nuns for the whole family!

Posted in Curiosa & Forteana, Historia & Memoria, Horror / Goth, Illustration by Suzanne on June 7th, 2011 | BBC Wikipedia

From the Illustrated Police News - click to enlarge

I first stumbled upon the absolutely hilarious one-penny weekly that was the Illustrated Police News (first published in 1864, publication ended just before WWII) in the British Library (sadly no free access to the documents) and recently posted about "The Girl Eaten By Rats".

From the Illustrated Police News - click to enlarge

From the Illustrated Police News - click to enlarge (slightly)

I was delighted to find a feature article about the IPN in ForteanTimes and it immediately reignited my love for the publication and once again confirmed my suspicion that i) L-Town hasn't changed in the slightest and ii) the IPN was basically a Victorian version of the Hackney Gazette with headlines being very similar in nature (I must admit that as horrible and unjournalistic the latter is, it really does brighten up my days in the (North) East End).

From the Illustrated Police News - click to enlarge

From the Illustrated Police News - click to enlarge

From ForteanTimes:

"George Purkess [the proprietor] defended his IPN artists, who he thought were as good as those working for any rival journal, including the Illustrated London News and the Graphic. He had half a dozen artists on his staff in London, and occasionally employed 70 or more freelance artists in all parts of the country. Whenever a high-profile crime was committed, Purkess was able to dispatch one of his artists to the scene. Several times, he claimed, criminals depicted in the IPN had written back to offer their compliments on their excellent likenesses in the paper."

From the Illustrated Police News - click to enlarge

The feature stories presented here are from around 1885 to 1900, i.e. the time the IPN experienced a huge surge in popularity due to the Jack the Ripper murders of 1888, with the following recurring themes: Evil children, rats/cats/dogs eating people, skeletons and nuns. Oh, and skeleton nuns. Some of my favourite things.

I do apologise for the small size of the bottom three images that cannot be enlarged and would welcome anyone who knows a database for the IPN with better/bigger pictures to come forward. Thank you. x

From the Illustrated Police News

From the Illustrated Police News

From the Illustrated Police News

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16 comments to " England's Illustrated Police News: Fun, murder & mummified nuns for the whole family! "

  1. Gravatar

    klav says:

    Nuns Duel! Arousing.

    June 7th, 2011 at 8:34 pm

  2. Gravatar

    Suzanne says:

    Haha. On a related note, this thread is going as strong as ever (just sayin'!): http://wurzeltod.ch/wurzelforum/index.php?topic=19.495

    June 8th, 2011 at 3:20 pm

  3. Gravatar

    substrom says:

    "frightful position of a somnambulist"

    Great title...sounds like something Coil would have used for a song ~_~

    June 8th, 2011 at 4:59 pm

  4. Gravatar

    Suzanne says:

    Very true dat!

    There are LOTS of frightfully floating damsels in the IPN, btw.

    I thought to myself: "Oh, a comment from Substrom?! He will point me in the direction of a high-res archive of these images!"

    So BOOOOO! for not doing that.

    No, not really. :D


    - S.

    June 8th, 2011 at 5:05 pm

  5. Gravatar

    Diab'Olo-Menthe says:

    Supernuns duelling made me smile
    I like. A lot :-)

    June 8th, 2011 at 5:45 pm

  6. Gravatar

    Suzanne says:

    I first thought they were holding dildos in their hands. Well, they're not. (._.)

    June 8th, 2011 at 8:03 pm

  7. Gravatar

    klav says:

    You are too much biased by your forum thread. :-P

    June 8th, 2011 at 8:55 pm

  8. Gravatar

    Suzanne says:

    I think what you truly meant to say was that I'm too much of an authority in the field / I have too much expertise.

    June 8th, 2011 at 8:58 pm

  9. Gravatar

    klav says:

    I see no contradiction. re-:-P

    June 8th, 2011 at 9:00 pm

  10. Gravatar

    Suzanne says:

    @substrom: While I have your attention here and on a completely unrelated note: I saw that the photograph of the girl with the huge cut, the razor blade, the pearl and the pins in her face is making the Tumblr rounds again and neither TinEye nor my brain could remember who it's by. I just know that you posted it first. Any leads?

    June 8th, 2011 at 9:24 pm

  11. Gravatar

    Suzanne says:

    Hmm.. maybe you didn't post it after all? While going through your archives was an aesthetic pleasure as always, I couldn't find it. It's this one here: http://www.ljplus.ru/img4/m/a/marta_kauffmann/_____t.jpg

    I don't know what "Marta Kuaffmann" has to do with it, tbh.

    June 8th, 2011 at 9:43 pm

  12. Gravatar

    substrom says:

    Think I posted it on my old livejournal.
    It's Slawomir Rumiak.

    June 8th, 2011 at 10:14 pm

  13. Gravatar

    Suzanne says:

    That's it! Thank you!

    You are a true hero of Communism and you have shown yourself worthy of this medal: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/54/Mutterkreutz_silver.JPG

    No. Wait. That's the wrong one. Give it back.


    June 8th, 2011 at 10:35 pm

  14. Gravatar

    substrom says:

    Thank you, I will pin it to my milchig brüste ~_~

    June 8th, 2011 at 11:09 pm

  15. Gravatar

    Suzanne says:

    There's a disturbing thought for another peaceful night's sleep. o_O

    June 8th, 2011 at 11:17 pm

  16. Gravatar

    hack says:



    February 28th, 2013 at 6:54 pm

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