Penny Toys and Poverty: Christmas in Edwardian London

By beverley cook on 15 Dec 2015

Christmas always provides us with an excuse to dig out from the stores objects relating to the festive season. This year, on display in our temporary Show Space until the beginning of January, are a few of our favourite Christmas things. These range from items related to the traditional Christmas entertainments of the pantomime and ballet to a collection of humble tinplate toys. Every one of these was imported from Germany and sold on London’s streets for a penny in the early years of the 20th century. Let’s see what’s inside the Museum of London stocking…

Penny toy from 1906- sweet container in the shape of Santa Christmas.

Penny toy from 1906- sweet container in the shape of Santa Claus.

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The Journey of the Magi… from Cologne to London

By jackie keily on 29 Dec 2014
Detail from pilgrim badge depicting the three kings.

Detail from pilgrim badge depicting the three kings.

The 6th of January is the feast of the Epiphany, celebrating the visit of the Three Magi, Kings or Wise Men to the infant Jesus in Bethlehem, bearing their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. In medieval times this was a very important feast day, as it marked the twelfth day after Christmas and the official end of the Christmas period. This idea lives on in the tradition of taking down Christmas decorations by the 6th. Read the full postRead the full post

A very merry Victorian Christmas

By dominika erazmus on 24 Dec 2014

Sailortown_Grotto

Christmas time with its festive atmosphere, long-kept traditions and joyful merrymaking is such an essential part of our calendar that it’s difficult to imagine things have not always been this way. However, before Queen Victoria’s rule, Christmas was hardly celebrated in Britain. Read the full postRead the full post

Christmas in the Sainsbury Archive

By laura outterside on 23 Dec 2014

Christmas poultry and game display at 14 Cranbrook Road, Ilford  [190-1920s] (SA/BR/22/I/1/1/5)

Christmas poultry and game display at 14 Cranbrook Road, Ilford [190-1920s] (SA/BR/22/I/1/1/5)

Christmas is a time for indulgence in festive foods, with turkeys and puddings, party foods and mince pies. The Sainsbury Archive at Museum of London Docklands demonstrates how one family business turned supermarket giant supplied the nation with food at Christmas time. So much has changed since the company’s beginnings in London in 1869, but, as the archive shows, the traditions and tastes of Christmas remain the same. Read the full postRead the full post

The origins of Christmas pudding

By sarah madden, blog editor on 22 Dec 2014
© Simone Walsh via Flickr

© Simone Walsh via Flickr

Christmas pudding has long been a staple of Londoners’ festive tables. Traditionally incorporating dried fruits, spices, sugar and alcohol this festal favourite is a representation of extensive British trade – and of the exotic bounty brought through London’s docks at the peak of Empire. Read the full postRead the full post

Celebrating Saturnalia

By meriel jeater on 12 Dec 2014

Roman motto beaker of black colour-coated ware

The Roman mid-winter festival of Saturnalia started on 17 December each year and lasted for seven days. In many ways the Roman festivities were similar to our modern Christmas traditions, featuring drinking, eating, decorating houses, present giving, singing and playing games. I wondered whether it would be possible to celebrate Saturnalia using objects from our Roman collections. I had a little hunt and here’s what I found… Read the full postRead the full post

Christmas in the City? It’s all here…

By annie duffield on 20 Nov 2014
Victorian Christmas Card: c.1890

Victorian Christmas card, c.1890 showing a girl skating on a pond

Planning a festive visit to the museum see our critically-acclaimed Sherlock Holmes exhibition? We’ve put our detective hats on to discover the best the City of London has to offer this Christmas to turn your cultural trip into a full festive experience in the heart of the city! Read the full postRead the full post