Bernard Hollowood was born in Burslem, Staffordshire, on 3 June 1910. The son of Albert Hollowood, clerk and amateur cricketer, he was educated at Hanley High School and St Paul's College, Cheltenham. He was an accomplished local cricketer, and captained the Burslem side which included his two brothers Roy and Tom. From 1930 to 1946 he also played cricket for Staffordshire.
In 1934 Hollowood went to read economics at London University, and after graduating in 1936 taught commerce, economics and geography at the City School of Commerce, Stoke-on-Trent. In 1941 he moved to Loughborough College, where he was Head of the Commerce Department. A self-taught artist, Hollowood was never a good draughtsman, but he sold his first drawings to Chambers Journal, Lilliput and Men Only in 1942, and then began contributing drawings and articles to Punch. After leaving Loughborough College in 1944, he joined the staff of the Economist, working there until 1945, and becoming Assistant Editor. An expert on industrial ceramics, he was also editor of Pottery and Glass from 1944 to 1950, and from 1946 to 1947 was Research Officer at the Council of Industrial Design.
Hollowood was elected to the Punch Table in 1945 and in 1957 became the magazine's editor, succeeding Malcolm Muggeridge. An admirer of the work of Pont and Paul Crum, he divided joke drawings into two classes, according to their impact. The first were "immediate", as in the work of Langdon, but the others were part of a "continuous performance" by the cartoonist, as shown by Pont, Emett, Bateman, and Heath Robinson. Hollowood set very high editorial standards at Punch, and would often return cartoons to the artist several times for revision before they were accepted for publication. As he told them, Punch had to maintain its reputation because "most of the newspapers have become comic magazines."
Under Hollowood's editorship Punch's circulation remained stable at around 115,000 copies, but he never became as well known as his predecessor. Miles Kington, who worked at Punch under Hollowood, recalled that his appointment as editor led not to fame, but only "to an obscurity that he already occupied." From 1957 to 1960 Hollowood also worked as pocket cartoonist for the Sunday Times, and he was a regular contributor to The Times, Geographical Magazine, Socialist Commentary, Surrey Advertiser, News Chronicle, Cricketer, London Opinion, New Yorker, Evening Standard, Daily and Sunday Telegraph. He left Punch in 1968, being succeeded as editor by William Davis, who lost 30,000 in circulation over the next ten years.
A member of the Court of Governors of the London School of Economics, Hollowood was elected FRSA in 1949, and was awarded the RSA Silver Medal for his lecture on humour in 1962. He used a mapping pen and indian ink on Whatman paper, and also wrote and drew as 'Mammon'. Bernard Hollowood died in Guildford, Surrey, on 28 March 1981.
- Marjorie Hollowood "Letter: Packing A Punch", The Guardian, 8 April 1992, p.20.
- Miles Kington "The week Punch really had kick", The Independent, 13 February 1996, p.18.
- Mark Bryant Dictionary of Twentieth-Century British Cartoonists and Caricaturists (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2000), pp.115-6.
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