Although it quickly gained recognition for quality, Punch struggled to survive until taken over by printing firm Bradbury and Evans in December 1842. By 1845, now under the sole editorship of Lemon, Punch had distanced itself from political radicalism in favour of a more respectful approach, which garnered a wide audience in the emergent Victorian middle classes. By the end of the nineteenth century Punch was firmly established as an iconic publication which conveyed a striking literary and pictorial record of British life.
Punch continued to grow in the 20th century, adapting its approach and image to the contemporary landscape and continuing to employ Britain's top cartoonists including F. H. Townsend, Frank Reynolds, Jack B. Yeats and George Morrow. In 1969, Punch was bought by United Newspapers, it suffered a rapid decline in readership in the 1980’s, and eventually closed in 1992. In 1996 the magazine was revived but this renewed venture ultimately proved unsuccessful and Punch closed again in 2002. An extensive Punch archive is available from the British library.