Cub, the Queen Mary College magazine, ran a new feature in November 1949 called ‘Introducing…’ which used satire and caricature to profile members of the Queen Mary community. The profiles tended to feature students who were heavily involved in Student Union activities, and were occasionally written about Union staff members. The gallery shows a selection of the profiles written between 1949 and 1954.
The profiles were written for comic effect, with profiled students sometimes referred to as the ‘victims’ of the Introducing column. Written by a variety of Cub contributors, some tease their subjects more than others (one student was deemed too well-rounded to caricature effectively) but the overall tone was always good-natured.
Despite the frequently surreal digressions of the Cub writers, the profiles give an insight into the lives of students at Queen Mary in the post-war period. For example, many of the male students profiled had come to Queen Mary after completing their National Service, and there are allusions to clashes with the police at Communist and Trade Union demonstrations organised in 1950 in defiance of the Labour Home Secretary’s ban on political processions. London as a place to live and study has a strong presence in many of the profiles, and the condition of student lodgings was a topic of debate. Reflecting the strong tradition of performance at Queen Mary (see the exhibition Arts in the Archives), a large number of profiled students were active members of the drama society. The profiles also demonstrate the vast array of activities that students were involved in, and comment, with varying degrees of seriousness, on students’ political affiliations, relationships, backgrounds, job prospects and ambitions.
The Cub ‘Introducing’ feature has long since ended, with the magazine today focusing on arts and culture rather than day-to-day life at Queen Mary. However, profiles for current students are still being written and can be read on the university website, although featuring neither satire nor caricature they are of course a little more serious in tone.
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