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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
20th November 1906 George Bernard Shaws Doctor's Dilemma, premieres in London
20th November 1898 John Fowler, English engineer (London Metropolitan Railway), dies
20th November 1852 Charles Reade/Tom Taylor's Masks and Faces, premieres in London
Punch and Judy Birthplace
The birthplace in England of the Punch and Judy puppet show.
Location: St Pauls Portico, Westminster
Description: On the 9th May 1662 Samuel Pepys was coming back from visiting a nearby ale-house when he stopped to watch a puppet show that was performing in Covent Garden.
It was the month that King Charles II (recently restored to the throne) was getting married and hordes of entertainers from all over Europe had thronged to the city hoping to make some money.
The Italian puppet play that Pepys saw was presented by puppetmaster Pietro Gimonde - or 'Signor Bologna' as he was known to his audience - and starred one of the great comic characters of all time.
The star puppet came originally from Naples, where he was known as Pulcinella, then toured across Europe to France - where he was called Polichinelle - and finally came to captivate English audiences who settled for calling him Punchinello.
Pepys' diary entry for 9th May reporting that he had seen the show is taken by today's performers as marking Punch's 'birthday'.
Tagged in this Tour: Elizabethan & Stuart London