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Mel Calman

Mel Calman

Cartoonist and writer
Lived here 1931-1957
(64 Linthorpe Road)

“I was born in Stamford Hill, in North London.  Stamford hill was a sort of staging post for Jews on their way from Whitechapel to Hampstead and Golders Green.  Most of our neighbours were small business men, taxi drivers and musicians.  Harry Roy, who had his own band, had lived nearly opposite our house, before he made the big time and move up “West”.

It was a lovely place for a child; there was a pond for sailing small boats, a park for running about in, two cinemas, an ABC teashop, a public library, a Grodzinkski bakery in Dunsmure road which made the best jam doughnuts in the world, and a dry cleaner’s with a new fangled machine in the window, where you could watch (free of charge) clothes spinning round and round.”

Calman’s initial efforts at becoming a cartoonist were not encouraging.  In 1956, the editor of Punch advised him that “I rather doubt if ‘cartooning’ (as it is generally called) is really your line.”

Undeterred, Mel Calman joined the Daily Express and from there joined the Sunday Telegraph and then the Sunday Times.  Despite his success he wrote

“I still have the illusion that I might grow up and have a real job one day, instead of messing about with pencils and bits of paper.”

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Page updated: 15 Jun 2010 

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