Glamorgan’s Christmas Past

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

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As we enter the final few Christmas shopping days it’s interesting to look back at what our forebears were buying for their Christmases. The papers of Sybil Rolley of Fairwater, Cardiff (ref.: D790), held at Glamorgan Archives, shows what one family were purchasing for their Christmas celebrations.

One volume records their budgets for every Christmas from 1951 to 1965, documenting their meal and the cost of ‘extras’ such as decorations and presents! Of course it also records the increase in the price of Christmas over the period, and the variety of food and presents people received. The Christmas food recorded included, among other things, Ideal milk, tins of tongue, blancmange, and Turkish Delight. More familiar to our current Christmas shopping lists would be Cadbury’s Chocolate Biscuits, Tango and boxes of Milk Tray.

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Presents that are shown on the list include chisels, the record ‘Mary’s Boy Child’, cigarettes, and a nylon slip with a £1 note. There are none of the more familiar items we might ask for nowadays, like toys or electronics.

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This is not the only Christmas themed archive we hold. Amongst others are the records of the David Morgan Department Store (ref.: DDM), which include many photographs of the shop during the festive season. From the themed ‘Old Woman who lived in a Shoe’ of the 1930s, to the bunny girl elves and burly Santa of the 1960s, and the famous ‘wall of crackers’, we have a selection of photos documenting the history of the store at Christmas.  They illustrate the changing styles and fashions of the Christmas period while David Morgan traded in Cardiff.

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We hope all our followers have a wonderful festive season.

Merry Christmas!

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