The other John Bulls

Horatio Bottomley

Other publishers had used John Bull – a name that had personified the typical Englishman since the 1660s – before Horatio Bottomley. There was a John Bull newspaper published in London, from 1820 to at least 1869; The Northern John Bull; or, The Newcastle Pocket Magazine, published in Newcastle-upon-Tyne from 1829; The Theatrical John Bull in Birmingham from 1824; and John Bull's Magazine, Conducted by his Son, John, in London from 1882. Finally, Arthur William À Beckett brought out his John Bull in 1903 – dated April 1 – having been forced to resign as deputy editor from Punch the year before.

The masthead for the first issue by W. Reynolds, shown above, shows a fabulous cast of contributors: A.W. carries a bull on his back ahead of: A.P. Graves (Irish writer, assistant editor of Punch and inspector of schools); caricaturist Max Beerbohm; cartoonist Harry Furniss; lyricist and writer Adrian Ross; Louis Wain – renowned for his anthropomorphised cats; Cyril Pearson as a sphinx; Percy Fremlin; adventure writer Sir Gilbert Parker; Sir William Robinson; and the Welsh poet Sir Lewis Morris.

A.W. died in 1909, but John Bull appears to have predeceased him, with the British Library holding just one volume, with the final issue dated 25 June 1903.

After is prison release, Bottomley tried to launch another magazine, John Blunt, but this soon failed.