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
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
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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
I’ve had a lot of fun researching my #Blogmas posts this past week. I had to hit the ground running as it was a spur of the moment decision to participate and I had no planned posts! My first port of call was to Wikimedia Commons, a site I use for free photos when I haven’t taken my own snaps to illustrate a blog post. … Continue reading Postcards: Jenny Nyström’s Christmas Art
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
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
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