Source 14 - A drop of London Water

This cartoon was originally published in 1850 in Punch, a weekly magazine founded in 1841. The magazine was one of the most successful periodicals of its day, perhaps because of its satirical and humorous yet inoffensive interpretations of topical subjects, events and debates.

The image depicts a cartoonist's impression of a drop of water, from the River Thames, under a microscope. It reveals what 'creatures' might live there and, in turn, what Londoners could be swallowing on a daily basis.

  • Look at sources 14 and 15. How effective is the use of political cartoons and imagery in communicating a campaign message?
  • Which cartoon do you think has a stronger impact? Why? How?

Taken from: Punch
Date: 1850
Copyright: By permission of the British Library Baord
Shelfmark: p.p.5270.ah