Ralph Whitworth

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For the American businessman, see Ralph V Whitworth.

Ralph Whitworth, born in Sheffield, UK on 29 May 1924, was a cartoonist for the Sheffield Telegraph.


Growing up in Sheffield, Ralph's family moved often but are known to have lived on Scotland Street and in Palm Lane, Crookes.

When Ralph turned 18 in 1942 he was conscripted into the army before volunteering for the elite Parachute Regiment. After training, Ralph took part in the D-Day Landings on 6 June 1944 and the Rhine drops the following year.

Following the war, Ralph worked as a freelance cartoonist while also working on building sites for much needed money.

He married Lois Stone in 1953. The following year they had their first son, Bill.

In the late 1950s he became the Sheffield Telegraph's news cartoonist.


The "Whitworth" cartoons quickly became a mainstay of Sheffield newspapers and Whitworth's fame quickly spread. Despite frequent requests to appear on television and in public, Whitworth remained a private man who maintained a distance from his increasingly famous cartoons.

Although he won an award for his work on the Profumo Affair and even got a vote in the newspaper's Man of the Century poll (he swore he didn't vote for himself), lifetime membership of the Playboy Club (never taken up) and gained a reputation as a cartoonists' cartoonist, the man himself remained private.

In January 1970, Ralph and Lois had a second son, the cartoonist and writer James Whitworth.

Throughout the 1970s Whitworth published a number of books, including the best selling Sheffieldish in which he illustrated local dialect sayings. It quickly ran into a second edition and remained a best seller for a number of years.

Ralph continued to work for the Sheffield Telegraph until its closure in 1986. He joined the weekly Telegraph in 1989 where he remained until his death from cancer in 1998.

Ralph died on April 19, 1998.

"Whitworth On..." a collection of cartoons was published in 2007 to much acclaim and much press coverage.

The Sheffield Telegraph published a 20th anniversary supplement in October 2009 in which current cartoonists Pete McKee and Gary Graham-Jenkinson paid tribute to Whitworth.