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Some Christmas Cheer

Posted in This months highlight on 01 Dec 2012

This month we take a look back at a local newspaper for tips on Christmas in the modern Georgian era.

The Maidenhead Advertiser in December 1912 was full of traders promoting their festive wares. You could visit Gironimo’s for puddings, mincemeat and table decorations; Butler’s for holly wreaths and Christmas trees, as well as heathers in china pots; or Stuchbery’s for plums, Irish hams and crystallised fruits.

For gifts, how about a visit to McIlroy’s Christmas Bazaar for Toys! Dolls! Games! and other novelties for the kids. Coddington’s sold fancy leather goods or Thorne’s some slippers for the gents, while Phillips Salters offered the husbands a chance to buy fur stoles and muffs, or if they were feeling really adventurous ‘lace goods and underskirts etc’. And the local photographic studio suggested that a Christmas portrait card would be ‘just the thing’ for your absent friends.

The UK was experiencing a period of affluence and rising living standards in 1912. Both the Victorian and Edwardian periods had seen the country go from strength to strength, and this is reflected in the Advertiser’s Christmas editorial.

‘It may be said that there is no complaining on our streets’, it boasted. ‘Such a demand for provisions has never been experienced.’ Business was brisk and the towns’ shops were looking forward to a successful yuletide period.

In hindsight, the era can be seen as one of hope and optimism that was about to be torn apart. At the time, the good folk of Berkshire were too busy enjoying their purchasing power to worry about the future. As the Advertiser noted at the end of its Christmas message: ‘Not only is trade busy, but the ominous war clouds are dispersing.’