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Duty and Dissent: Satire

Running from Monday, January 12, 2015 until Friday, June 5, 2015


Satire was a broadly anti-war magazine, containing grimly humorous cartoons, announcements from sympathetic movements and reports of government activity, both journalistic and satirical. It began publishing in December 1916, and each of its thirteen monthly issues was inspected and blacklisted by the Official Press Bureau, but neither the editor nor the printer were informed that it was thus regarded as a suspicious publication. Indeed, no action was taken against the magazine until November 1917, when the police raided the London office and seized over 2,000 copies of various issues, which were subsequently ordered to be destroyed by the Home Office's Advisory Committee on Leaflets. Simultaneously, the printer, the National Labour Press in Manchester, was also raided, and the linotype and printing blocks for Satire seized and destroyed. This indirect and rather opaque procedure demonstrates very well the manner in which the formidable authority of the Defence of the Realm Act, which allowed for such censorship along with many other measures, was implemented. The editor of Satire, L. A. Motler, unwisely advertised a lottery for readers in 1917, in an attempt to continue to finance his operation, and was swiftly prosecuted under a nineteenth-century gambling act, and fined £25. Whatever the motivation for this prosecution, it seems to have permanently silenced the magazine. 

As a result of all of this activity, Satire now survives only in a very few examples of individual issues, and so visitors are invited to read the issue surviving in Senate House Library digitally.  


  1. Grimly humorous announcements - page 2
  2. Execution of Christ, after Goya - page 3
  3. Cartoons and satiric book reviews - page 4
  4. Satire's own account of the police raid - page 5
  5. Government for the people - page 6
  6. Cartoons for sale - page 7
  7. The year's casualties on land and sea -page 8