To celebrate Christmas in the archives this year we have created two festive displays using a selection of documents chosen from four separate collections. We decided on two seasonal themes: Christmas Cards & Greetings and Christmas Entertainment. In our first display cabinet we show a selection of Christmas cards ranging from the early 1900s through to the 1970s – this display shows how styles, sentiments and greetings have changed over the decades.
My personal favourites here are the postcard-style cards sent between members of the Hutchinson family during the early years of the 20th Century. Many of these cards have an equine theme and reflect the Hutchinson brothers’ passion for horses!
Our second display cabinet shows various programmes, tickets and leaflets produced for Stand Independent Church and Sunday School to advertise their Christmas events. In January 1903 the church magazine reported a marked increase in numbers at the Children’s Christmas Tea Party – a total of 144 children and 60 parents and teachers came to enjoy the festivities! It must have proved a huge success as the report described it as ‘the most delightful party of the whole year’.
While selecting material for the display on Stand Church I came across an amusing reminiscence written by the Rev B Nightingale in an unpublished history of the church circa late 19th century. It describes the activities of the choir on Christmas Eve and for me invokes the true Lancashire spirit of ‘Christmas Past’:
“Carol singing on Christmas Eve was undertaken when the choir, accompanied by the orchestra would serenade members of the congregation. Hospitality was proffered and accepted to such an extent that the double bass player was at times unable to shepherd his unwieldy instrument to its fold. It is related that old Walker Allen would raise his bedroom window disclosing his head, capped with a pointed variety of night-cap, having a bob at the apex, and enquire “What lot are you?”, “Chapelfielt” would be the answer. “Aw reet, I’ll see owd John during t’week” (Old John was the double bass player).”
Our display cases will change regularly so please follow our blog to receive regular updates.