25 December 1840, The London Evening Standard: A Report

Regular readers of my blog know that I often draw inspiration from the British Newspaper Archives. This does involve a small subscription, however, you can search and view a permitted three articles for free here. As it is the season of goodwill, I decided to share with you part of a report published on Christmas Day 1840 showing the festive food the poor of London were … Continue reading 25 December 1840, The London Evening Standard: A Report

Christmas Cards: the Royal Selection

What are your family Christmas traditions? The British royals, like all families, have their own. They exchange inexpensive presents on Christmas Eve and go to church on Christmas Day morning. They then sit down to a traditional Christmas turkey dinner before watching the Queen’s speech at 3 p.m. One of the big royal family traditions that everyone looks forward to, is the release of their personal Christmas … Continue reading Christmas Cards: the Royal Selection

The Royals: Christmases Past

With only three more sleeps until Christmas Day here are some pictures of Britain’s royal family’s Christmases past. I’m loving the vintage vibe of this shot. The Queen is more in focus than Prince Philip (order of precedence anyone?) and as usual, the Queen’s hair is perfectly coiffed and she is wearing a set of her beloved pearls in her ears and around her neck. The … Continue reading The Royals: Christmases Past

@HistorianRuby: Social Media Links UPDATED and with a NEW FaceBook Page

We all know that social media is increasingly important in many peoples lives. We check our stats, notifications, likes, follows and friend requests etc. and it’s no different for amateur and professional bloggers: we use social media to publicise our work. For public historians, it is crucial that they promote their latest TV programs, books and magazine articles using modern social media platforms to engage … Continue reading @HistorianRuby: Social Media Links UPDATED and with a NEW FaceBook Page

Christmas Day Tudor Style

Attendance at mass was a must whether you were rich or poor, religion was a serious business and observance of the holy days and a reverence of the holy family would ensure you a comfortable afterlife. Once their duties to God were performed the Tudor citizen could then enjoy the day as their status befitted. If you lived in the country (as did most) you would probably … Continue reading Christmas Day Tudor Style

The Victorian Christmas

Christmas was barely celebrated in the early part of the nineteenth century. It was not considered a public holiday and traditionally the giving of gifts was practised at New Year. However, come the end of the century, it was the biggest annual celebration in the British calendar. Workers had gained a two-day break (including the 26 December, Boxing Day) and the advent of the railways … Continue reading The Victorian Christmas

George I’s Christmas Pudding?

I’ve been tempted to research recipes from Christmases past for a #Blogmas post or two but my big fail is that I’m not an enthusiastic cook and maybe I would feel forced to enter the kitchen! Nevermind, with the help of BBC History Magazine (of which I’m a subscriber), I can share this recipe. My family aren’t big on Christmas pudding so it is generally … Continue reading George I’s Christmas Pudding?

Christmas 1950: Stolen, the Stone of Scone

In 1296, King Edward I, who earned himself the nicknames, ‘Hammer of the Scots’ and ‘Longshanks’, deposed Scottish King John Balliol and brought the ‘Stone of Scone’ from Scotland to London where it was given pride of place under a specially made Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey.  It stayed in Westminster Abbey for over 650 years until Christmas Day 1950, when it vanished. The Stone … Continue reading Christmas 1950: Stolen, the Stone of Scone

In the News: Lost Bletchley Park Christmas Card Found

A Christmas card sent to one of the codebreakers at Bletchley Park has been discovered.  The card reads ‘Wishing you a very happy Christmas & New Year, Evelyn Sinclair’, it was sent to workers at Bletchley Park in 1938 by the wife of the head of MI6, Admiral Hugh Sinclair, known as ‘C’. The card is not at all festive, it is a photograph of … Continue reading In the News: Lost Bletchley Park Christmas Card Found

Christmas Cards: Season’s Greetings from Edwardian New Zealand

I’m delighted to share with you these colourful Christmas cards from the antipodes! This brief selection dates from 1900 – 1919 and the originals are stored in various repositories in New Zealand. A parrot instead of robin redbreast? A parrot is not usually associated with the northern hemisphere Christmas. The exotic bird on this card would give a shot of brightness to the grey and dreary … Continue reading Christmas Cards: Season’s Greetings from Edwardian New Zealand

The Christmas Coronation of William the Conqueror 

William the Conqueror was crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1066. He was born the illegitimate son of Robert I, Duke of Normandy, and his mistress Herleva in 1027.  His invading Norman army defeated King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings to take the English crown on 14 October 1066. It is pretty definite that 1066 is THE most famous … Continue reading The Christmas Coronation of William the Conqueror 

The National Archives: a Selection for On and Under Your Tree this Christmas

I live a short drive from the National Archives in Kew. Whilst I don’t get to research there as much as I’d like these days, it’s still a great place to explore for unusual Christmas gifts for the historian! Trees I couldn’t resist this suffragette decoration – it doesn’t go with my theme so it isn’t hanging on my tree (maybe next year I’ll go with … Continue reading The National Archives: a Selection for On and Under Your Tree this Christmas

Queen of the Forest: the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree

I researched a little of this post last week and then sitting on the top deck of a London bus in Trafalgar Square this weekend two girls sitting in the row behind me started talking. ‘That’s a massive Christmas tree. They must import it,’ said one. ‘Where does it come from?’ asked the other. ‘Dunno,’ the first girl replied. I couldn’t resist and turned around … Continue reading Queen of the Forest: the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree

The Science Museum: What’s in Their Shop this Christmas?

I was lucky enough to visit the Science Museum this weekend to explore their fantastic Romanov exhibition. As common with such presentations, there is no photography permitted, so I explored the Science Museum’s gift shop!  I LOVE a museum gift shop! In a museum, I’m excellent company when in the presence of non-history lovers. I usually have an agenda and go to see something specific … Continue reading The Science Museum: What’s in Their Shop this Christmas?

The Hyde Park Serpentine Christmas Swim

Dedicated people have been getting up early on Christmas morning and swimming in a freezing cold lake in the centre of London for over 150 years! The Serpentine Swimming Club held its first Christmas Day race in 1864, an H Coulter won that race and took home a gold medal.  The SSC holds a weekly race throughout the year and its Christmas Day event is … Continue reading The Hyde Park Serpentine Christmas Swim