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

King George V: the First Christmas Speech 

King George V gave his first Christmas speech to the nation just after 3 p.m. on Christmas Day 1932, however, the King, a reluctant speaker, had previously rejected the idea for almost 10 years! With radio being the new and exciting medium for entertainment in homes, in 1923 the King was asked by John Reith, Director of the BBC, to broadcast to the citizens of … Continue reading King George V: the First Christmas Speech 

A Forces Christmas Card: 1917

Seated is my grandfather, William James Gray, not to be confused with my uncle of the same name who you can read about here. Nearly every photograph we have of grandad Gray (and there aren’t many), show him seated. He was almost 6 foot 4 inches tall according to his Attestation Paper, although my mother always said he was 6 foot 5 inches. He was often … Continue reading A Forces Christmas Card: 1917

6 December: the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas

The feast day of Saint Nicholas is celebrated in many European countries on 6th December, but who was Saint Nicholas? And why is he associated with Christmas? Saint Nicholas was born around 280 A.D. in Patara, in what is now Turkey. He was from a wealthy family and his parents died young, bequeathing him their riches. He used his money to help the poor and … Continue reading 6 December: the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas

Hampton Court Palace: Baubles, Gifts and Posh Nosh this Christmas

I’ve been to Hampton Court Palace to take a look at their sumptuous Christmas collection of decorations, gift ideas and luxurious and tempting Christmas treats! It’s HistorianRuby’s first ever bitofgiftguide but also a howmuchforabauble? chinhitsthefloor sort of post! I love a bit of royal decadence but thankfully the shop carries budget-friendly gifts as well as items that require a more princely purse. I’ve bought presents … Continue reading Hampton Court Palace: Baubles, Gifts and Posh Nosh this Christmas

Christmas Cards: 1905 – 1910

Here’s another selection [box] of Christmas cards dated from 1905 – 1910. If you would like to see cards dated the turn of the twentieth century, click here. The above card unsurprisingly has no snow! It’s from a collection archived at the State Library of Queensland, Australia. It depicts the Post Office, St George, Queensland – and its workers and their families? Or are the … Continue reading Christmas Cards: 1905 – 1910

Christmas Nostalgia: all I want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth

This week in my little corner of the universe I got walloped with a big dose of nostalgia. Every year the Rotary Club comes up our street collecting for Christmas. They have Father Christmas on the back of a float, Christmas music, lots of lights and a small army of charity collectors waving collecting tins on peoples’ doorsteps. I always like to contribute as one … Continue reading Christmas Nostalgia: all I want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth

Queen Elizabeth II’s First Christmas Speech

On 25 December 1952, Queen Elizabeth II made her first Christmas broadcast to the nation as sovereign on BBC radio. The tradition of the Christmas broadcast began in 1932 with the Queen’s grandfather, King George V. In 1952, at 15.07 p.m. the Queen broadcast from the study at Sandringham House, Norfolk. Families around Britain would listen to the Queen huddled around their radios, for some … Continue reading Queen Elizabeth II’s First Christmas Speech

Christmas Cards: Circa 1900

It’s December! Season’s greetings! Christmas is coming and I thought I’d share some charming Christmas cards to begin the festivities. I’m going to attempt an historically themed #Blogmas – but we’ll see how that progresses throughout the month. Above is an English language Christmas card in the early art nouveau style – there is no reference to country of origin, however, it is included in … Continue reading Christmas Cards: Circa 1900