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The Punch and Judy Fellowship

The Punch & Judy Fellowship (PJF) was founded on 8th September 1980, by the late Percy Press II, along with several other well known Punch & Judy performers in order to preserve, promote and protect the traditions of Britain's much loved national puppet show.

Percy was asked by Courage to invite other prominent Punch & Judy Professors to attend the opening in 1980 - John Alexander, Max Alexander, Joe Beeby, Glyn Edwards, John Styles and Charles Macdonald (known as Mac who had made booths for Percy). Jay Marshall from America was unable to attend, but sent a letter of support.

John Alexander reads out a letter from Jay Marshall of America (Sept 1980)

Percy used the opportunity of this gathering to discuss with the others an idea he had been considering for some time - the formation of a Punch & Judy organisation.

The aims and workings of such an organisation were discussed and it was agreed to meet a few weeks later to form the first Committee of the Punch & Judy Fellowship.

At the first meeting there were no elections as such, more a matter of who would like to carry out each position within the PJF. IJohn Alexander became the first Chairman, because he already owned a gavel! Percy became President and as Charles Macdonald was not a Punch Professor, he became the Honorary Beadle.

A key part of the redevelopment was a Public House which was established by the Courage brewery. John Alexander, one of the PJF’s founding Members, is convinced it was Percy's show that gave the brewery the idea of calling the pub “The Punch & Judy” as he believes they were probably unaware of Covent Garden’s connection with Samuel Pepys’ historic first sighting of Punch in 1662.

The late Percy Press II, Founder of the Punch & Judy Fellowship

In the late 1970’s Covent Garden Wholesale and Flower Market moved to a new site in London, better suited to its needs. For a time the question of demolishing the old market buildings was considered.  It was decided to preserve the buildings and Covent Garden underwent redevelopment and opened as a major retail outlet in 1980.

While the development was taking place market traders in the remaining Jubilee Market invited Percy Press II to entertain visitors with his show on the adjacent cobbles. Percy was a very well known personality who became something of a permanent feature in Covent Garden.

Founding members of the Punch & Judy Fellowship (Sept 1980)

Everyone brought their puppet of Mr Punch to add to the celebrations and with Courage providing their finest cocktail mixer to hand out a specially named Punch & Judy cocktail, the grand opening proved to be quite a boozy occasion!

History of the Punch & Judy Fellowship Max Alexander The late Joe Beeby The late Joe Beeby with John Alexander and John Styles Glyn Edwards and John Styles The late Percy Press II with Glyn Edwards and John Alexander