Bernard Cookson was born in Manchester on 3 January 1937, the son of Richard Cookson, an engineer. From 1953 to 1956 he attended Manchester Art School, and was a visualizer in an advertising agency before doing his National Service as a Photographic Interpreter with the RAF in Cyprus.
Cookson's first cartoon was published in the Daily Mirror in about 1965, the year in which he contributed his first drawing to Punch. In 1966 he took over the TV strip "The Niteleys" from the late Eric Burgin on the Daily Sketch, and in the following year became a full-time freelance cartoonist. In March 1969, after David Myers resigned from the Evening News, Cookson took his place as social/political cartoonist, remaining full-time with the paper until 1976.
In 1982 Cookson replaced Clive Collins as Franklin's deputy on the Sun. "Those were heady days", he later recalled: "Wapping riots, IRA bomb threats and the Falklands war, all provided the perfect foil for the long, wine-fuelled lunches in El Vino’s, which were practically compulsory for any self-respecting journalist or cartoonist of the day." In 1996 Cookson became Griffin's deputy on The Express.
Influenced by Eric Burgin, Cookson also contributed to Spectator, Daily Express, Sporting Life, Today and the Sun. With Stan McMurtry (Mac) he has also written comedy sketches for The Two Ronnies, Tommy Cooper and Dave Allen. In 2009 he published "The Fifth Day", a novel about a plan to steal the Turin Shroud. Cookson draws with a Pentel pen on cartridge paper.
- Mark Bryant Dictionary of Twentieth-Century British Cartoonists and Caricaturists (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2000), pp.51-2.
- Bernard Cookson's website at http://cooksonscartoons.com/about.html
27 uncatalogued originals [PU0261 - 0287]
2 unaccessioned originals (Drawer 15)