Fleet Street/ William S. Brunton (fl. 1859-71), artist. Fun (17 November 1866): 102. Signed with a monogram lower left. Engraved by the Dalziels. Courtesy of the Suzy Covey Comic Book Collection in the George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida. Click on image to enlarge it.

Note the offices of Fun at the top of the picture.

The accompanying text

When Doctor Johnson — The Surly Doctor” as the literary duffer delights to call him — remarked to his friend, “Sir, let us take a walk down Fleet-street," Fleet-strect must hare been a very different sort of promenade from what it now is. The man who would select it for a stroll in our day would be a bold man indeed — the kind of man who would bathe in the Maëlstrom, or take a light for his cigar from the burning crater of Vesuvius, not but what there are many shops whose display of wares might, could, would, should, and, what is more, does attract the passer-by. Is not Fun’s own window daily and hourly besieged? But Fleet-street is no place for idlers: you wust not flaner there unless you want an indignant and busy public to jostle you, a crowd of newsboys to press the daily journals on you, and a City policeman to move you on firmly, but respectfully

It ia a street of old associations and present stories. It is intimately connected with the history of past worthies, including Doctor Johnson, but it is also connected with the present and the future, being the street wherein Fun is published every week. And, by the way, if the idler shuns it, or should shun it, generally unless he wishes to be mobbed into unwonted activity, we would specially recommend him not to try a saunter in it on a Wednesday; for that is Fun’s publishing day, and the chances are he may be crushed flat under a few hundred reams of that popular paper, borne hastily along to supply a craving public. If the idler takes our advice he will quit on that day the Fleet thoroughfare, and seek a more congenial locality — the Temple, where there are lots of other idlers, and where he can loiter in the gardens, or look at Goldsmith’s tomb.

All the noted men of the day are to bo met with in Fleet-street. An hour’s study outside the window of the Stereoscopic Company, and an hour in Fleet-street, make one acquainted with most of the notabilities. Yon golden-haired youth, with the poetic eye, is, perhaps, the editor of The Morning Advertiser; the tall thin gentleman a little behind him may be the editor of the Times; the short, stout gentleman with the bald head and spectacles is, possibly, the editor of Fun. Nor is the nobility of intellect the only one represented in Fleet-street. Lord Derby’s carriage may at times be seen waiting outside the office of his favourite journal, the Star, while Mr. Disraeli’s wiry little Caucasian nag may occasionally be observed at the Telegraph office, and Mr. Bright’s Hansom may be noticed at the Standard office about six times a week on an average. At one time the Fun office used to bo besieged daily by the carriages of the whole aristocracy, the entire House of Commons, and Society in general, but the interference with the traffic of the narrow street was so serious that Fun, at the entreaty of the Lord Mayor and a deputation of Aldermen, has been compelled to insist on his noble and distinguished admirers visiting him on foot.

Time and space — two rather important things in their way —will not admit of our surveying Fleet-street under two interesting aspects — by night, and on Sunday. The extraordinary calm which replaces the ordinary hustle in the latter case, and in the former the classic beauty of the noble architecture of the street bathed in the silver light of the moon and peopled by a solitary City policeman are themes on wdiich it would need columns to enlarge.

When Doctor Johnson, we repeat, remarked to his friendy “Sir, let us” — but, to quote the words of the author of the drama untitled Flying Scud, “no matter.”

Last modified 5 June 2018