Lived in Ramsgate from around 1875 - until death in 1917

Publication: The Z.Z.G., or Zig Zag Guide round and about the bold and beautiful Kentish coast…, 1897.

‘The New Pier, many years old by now, for entrance to which, as being something superior, twopence is charged, is an instance of that kind of half-fulfilled promise whereof Ramsgate generally offers several evident examples. But while there is a pier there is hope, and it may yet occur to its proprietors, or to the local authorities, to say, after the manner of Mr Wemmick, out of office-hours, in Great Expectations, “Hello! Here’s a pier! Let’s do something with it!”’ The Z.Z.G.

Sir Francis Cowley Burnand (knighted in 1902) is best known as the editor of Punch from 1880-1906, serialising the Grossmiths’ runaway success Diary of a Nobody in 1888. He was also a member of the ‘Boz Club’ inaugurated after the death of Dickens. In 1863 he had adapted David Copperfield as The Deal Boatman, moving the story to mid-eighteenth century Kent, changing the characters’ names and making no acknowledgement of his source. It may be this play Thomas Frost has in mind when he talks about the somewhat startling relocation of Emily’s reunion with Peggotty to the outside of Canterbury Cathedral. In 1897 he and Punch artist Phil May adopted the Dickensian personae ‘T’other Guv’nor’ and ‘T’otherst Guv’nor’ for their collaboration on the comic but informative Z.Z.G., or Zig Zag Guide round and about the bold and beautiful Kentish coast…. Despite Punch’s habitual disdain of Three Men in a Boat and its lower middle class author, May himself also worked with Jerome K. Jerome (who as editor of The Idler complained bitterly of the illustrator’s shoddy attitude to deadlines).

In the Z.Z.G. Burnand includes a number of knowing jokes about Ramsgate as well as Margate, Broadstairs and Sandwich as if from the standpoint of an itinerant tourist. In fact by 1883 he had ‘made his house at Ramsgate’, travelling to London once or twice a week. The 1887 Street Directory locates a Frederick Charles Burnand at 18 Royal Crescent (where Burnand died in 1917); the 1911 census shows that while Francis’s fifth son Philip was born in Middlesex (now part of London) in 1869, his fourth daughter Mary was born in Ramsgate in 1875.

Burnand died of bronchitis on 21 April 1917, and is buried in the cemetery attached to St Augustine’s Abbey church in Ramsgate.


Burnand, Frances Cowley, illustrated by Phil May. The Z.Z.G., or Zig Zag Guide round and about the bold and beautiful Kentish coast…[ellipsis in original]. 1897.
Stedman, ‘Burnand, Sir Francis Cowley (1836-1917). Dictionary of National Biography, 2008.

‘Births’. The Standard. 25 April 1885. GALE|DX1900562963.

‘In Pickwick Land’. 15 June 1901. Illustrated Mail. Thomas Kitton Scrapbooks vol 4. Dickens Museum, London.
Laird, Karen E. ‘Adapting the Seduction Plot: “David Copperfield’s” Magdalens on the Victorian Stage. Dickens Studies Annual 2011: 42 (2011). 193-215.
‘Mr F. C. Burnand.’ Bury and Norwich Post. 6 February 1883. GALE.

‘Mr F. C. Burnand in praise of Ramsgate as a winter resort’. Penny Illustrated Paper. 15 December 1888. p379. GALE.

Thanet Writers