The British Cartoon Archive began it's life at the University of Kent as the Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, formally opened in 1975.
Inspired by a recent exhibition of political and social cartoons at the National Portrait Gallery in 1972, the Centre begun it's journey in 1973, supported by the University's Department of Politics. The first collections were established after a deposit of some 20,000 cartoons from the UK's national newspapers in the same year. Within a couple of years the Centre had collections of work by artists such as Will Dyson, Ronald 'NEB' Niebour, Arthur Ferrier, Wally 'Trog' Fawkes, Reg Smythe and many more. By 1983 the collection had grown to 70,000 artworks, and this has since expanded to well over 200,000 today.
There are four main types of material within the collections:
In addition, this material is complimented by a number archival collections containing personal papers, correspondence and objects (such as the Carl Giles Trust Archive).
Our collections cover all areas of British political cartoons and caricature but some themes are covered extensively:
The BCA collections are a fantastic source for academic and personal research (or just for fun). The collections can be used for social history, political history of Britain, art and design, popular culture, visual storytelling, comic relief, media studies, and much more.
If you would like to carry out research in the BCA collections please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment. Many items have been digitised and are available to view online through the BCA's online catalogue.
Books from the British Cartoon Archive's library are listed on the University's LibrarySearch catalogue and can be searched by selecting 'British Cartoon Archive' on the right-hand drop down menu. Click through on the item you wish to see, click on the 'details' tab and select 'Request this item from the British Cartoon Archive'.