The "half holiday" referred to in the title was the practice in Victorian Britain of allowing the workers home at lunchtime on a Saturday, a practice that also established the kick-off times of football matches.
The black-and-white weekly comic paper Ally Sloper's Half Holiday, typically of eight tabloid pages and priced one penny , was first published on 3 May 1884, a short time after Ross, had sold the rights to the character to Gilbert Dalziel, an engraver and the publisher of Judy. Initially launching the paper with proprietor W. J. Sinkins, Dalziel was soon in full control, publishing it from "The Sloperies", 99 Shoe Lane, EC. Alongside the strips featuring Sloper, the magazine also featured prose stories and cartoons and strips of other characters.
Sales of the magazine have been estimated as being as high as 350,000, the magazine describing itself as "the largest selling paper in the world". The paper found a mixed audience: aimed at adults it captured both a loyal working class, male base, as well as attracting a cult following amongst the middle class of the time.
Although the weekly initially ceased publication on September 9 1916, after 1,679 issues, it was later revived between November 5 1922 and April 14 1923 , again from 1948 to 1949, and finally from 1976 to 1977, each attempt failing to capture the imagination of the British public as the original once had.
William Fletcher Thomas became the artist on the Ally Sloper strips following Baxter's death in 1888.
James Gibbins contributed his expertise in the field of handwriting, a skill he put forward to the police at the time of the Jack the Ripper murders, offering to analyse items thought to be authored by the ripper.
Thomas Burke contributed stories.