Punch and Judy artifacts saved

They are as central to British seaside fun as fish and chips and donkey rides - and now a wealth of Punch and Judy memorabilia has been saved for the nation.

An archive of rare books, scripts, music covers, prints and drawings, lantern slides, newspaper cuttings and research notes on the old-fashioned puppet show has been acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A).

It traces the development of the format from the earliest Restoration-era performances. Originating in the Italian "commedia dell'arte", Punch was first recorded in England in 1662 in London's Covent Garden by diarist Samuel Pepys.