The Yorkshire joke shop still dishing out all the old laughs on its 90th birthday

IT may be the most famous shop in Hull – but no one knows its name. To most people it is simply “the joke shop”.

But it has legions of fans - everyone from John Prescott to Reece Shearsmith.

And this year the third generation family-run shop in Hull's Hepworth Arcade is celebrating a major milestone in its long history - its 90th birthday.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“Buy A Joke And Have A Good Laugh” declares the antique sign in curly handwriting above the door of the Hull institution, which has barely changed over the decades.

Old fashioned service in his own inimitable style: Graham Williams, the joke shop's manager

Over 3,500 items, from jokes and conjuring tricks to wigs, beards and moustaches can all be found in what is a “dazzling showcase of merriment”.

Inside boxes are stacked to the ceiling, Chatting Teeth and Retractable Daggers sitting together cosily alongside Foaming Lighters and Squirt Water Pens.

Politicians have always made people laugh, and currently Donald Trump is a best-seller, available in rubber masks, talking pens and a stress ball.

“Every little kid four years and up knows Donald Trump – it’s the name,” said Graham Williams, a familiar, beaming face behind the counter.

Dinsdale's Famous Joke & Trick Shop in Hepworth Arcade. Pictured Angela Dinsdale, third generation of the family-run business Picture: James Hardisty

Mr Williams has worked here since 1978 and is known for his wacky humour and frequent appearances “being silly” on Instagram.

As a schoolkid he was always getting told off for messing about – and he still does, to the delight and amazement of customers.

He said: “I do stuff they are not used to. It’s like being on stage. I’ll just mess about and get people to laugh.

“We are in a bit of a time capsule because nothing has changed. We still sell the stuff from the 60s, the seasidey, politically incorrect, chauvinistic stuff.

George and Shirley Dinsdale, parents of Angela Dinsdale, third generation of the Dinsdale business

"We don’t sell much to be fair. The humour has changed.”

Mr Williams can reel off a list of famous people who come in - including BBC Look North newsreader Peter Levy.

He said: “Peter Levy is always popping in – he’s a good laugh. I’ve been teaching him magic – he’s not very good at it.

“Jon Campling, the Death Eater from the Harry Potter movies, he’s from Hull, is another.

"John Prescott is a good customer - he's been coming in for years.

“Reece Shearsmith used to look in here when he was a boy and get ideas.”

George William Dinsdale aka The Record King started his business in Midland Street in 1926 before moving to the arcade in 1930.

It started as a record shop selling a selection of 78s as well as musical instruments - it still sells harmonicas - before branching out into jokes.

Mr William's Uncle - GW Dinsdale's son George Alfred - carried on the business.

Uncle George was a professional magician and his wife Shirley acted as his assistant, touring as Ricardo and Shirley.

Their daughter Angela Dinsdale does a day a week. As a youngster she spent a lot of time in Scarborough with her mum, where they had another shop.

She said: “The same stuff makes people laugh – you get people coming in who were kids, now buying stuff for their kids and grandkids.

“It’s history repeating itself. The tin of nuts has become Pringles, the dog poo is now sticky and the whoopee cushions self-inflate. Before you had to blow them up manually.

"You get people on their annual trip, from the ferries, wherever, they are visiting family here but they always come back in."

Online shopping has been hard on the business, but she hopes unique niche shops like theirs will survive into the future.

She said: "We follow America and apparently there the small shops are opening up again.

"I try to be optimistic - but you are not going to be rich on it."