Door No. 15
Illustration of Grainger Street, Newcastle upon Tyne (Local Illustrations, 030 ILL)
This illustration depicts Grainger Street during the 19th century, showing the hustle and bustle of central Newcastle with horse pulling carriages, looking down towards Grey’s Monument.
Find out more about our Local Illustrations.
Door No. 14
Page 11 from ‘Old Aunt Elspa’s ABC’ (Joseph Crawhall II Collection, CRAW 50)
For Fox, Fruit,
and Flower, for
Fiddle, and Fun.
This item was picked for Door No. 14 as F is for Fun to be had during the festive season!
Old Aunt Elspa’s ABC is an alphabet book containing woodblock printed letters, with associated images, detailing the alphabet, created by Joseph Crawhall II.
Joseph Crawhall II (1861-1913) was the second son of Joseph Crawhall II (a local rope-maker, wood-block engraver, humorist and patron of the arts in Newcastle). Although from Morpeth, Northumberland; he trained in Glasgow and associated with the group of painters which came to be known as ‘the Glasgow Boys’.
Find out more about the Crawhall (Joseph II) Collection.
Door No. 13
‘Winter’ illustration from Kate Greenaway’s 1883 Almanack (030 GRE)
Extract from the 1883 almanack:
I journey on, and ever bear with me
Much that has been, and much that is to be:
Roses for some, for others thorns: ah, well
Old Time is passing, ring along the bell!
Catherine Greenaway (1846 – 1901), known as Kate Greenaway, was an English children’s book illustrator and writer. Her almanacs ran from 1883 up until 1897, with no 1896 issue being published. Each almanacks included a Jan-Dec calendar, beautifully drawn illustrations and short poems. Her almanacs were sold throughout America, England, Germany and France and were produced with different variations and in different languages.
Greenaway’s Almanacks are from the 19th Century Collection. Find her 1892 almanack and others here.
Door No. 12
Reproduction print depicting Duke Orsino first seeing Olivia, from ‘Shakespeare’s Comedy of Twelfth Night or what you will’ (Rare Books, RB822.33 SHA)
The reproduction illustration by W. Heath Robinson is from Act I, Scene I; ‘DUKE. O, when mine eyes did see Olivia first’
Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is reference to the twelfth night after Christmas Day (6th January). This is called the Eve of the Feast of Epiphany and prior to Shakespeare’s play, had become a day of revelry. Servants often dressed up as their masters, women dressed as men and men as women, and so forth. This Carnivalesque reversal is the basis of the play’s gender confusion-driven plot.
Twelfth Night is a Shakespearean comedy of mistaken identity. Twins, Viola and Sebastian, who are separated in a shipwreck. Viola fears Sebastian is dead and disguises herself as a boy, calls herself Cesario, and takes up service with Duke Orsino, falls in love but can’t do anything about it due to her disguise. Orsino falls in love with a girl called Olivia but rejects him. Orsino sends Viola (Cesario) to Olivia to try and win her round, but Olivia falls in love with Cesario. Meanwhile Olivia’s steward, Malvolio, is trying to keep order in the house but her uncle Sir Toby Belch and his friends have other ideas. They convince Malvolio that Olivia is in love with him and make him look extremely foolish – Olivia thinks her servant has actually gone mad. When she sees Sebastian, who has survived the shipwreck, she naturally thinks he is Cesario and promptly marries him. Orsino is furious when he finds out but once Viola and Sebastian meet and reveal their true identities there is a happy ending – for everyone but poor Malvolio.
Find out more about the Rare Books Collection.
Door No. 11
25th December 1843 diary entry from William Brewis’ diary (Brewis Diaries, WB/1/9)
Christmas Day diary extract from William Brewis’ 1843 diary,
The Old year wears away and has been the finest autumn, the oldest person living never saw such another, we have scarsely ever had a shower of Rain, since the great fall in May & June, the Harvest proved the finest weather ever known, we never had a lost Hour, the corn was got in so well not a spoiled sheaf, and the small is equally as fair and sound as the very best, only the overwhell rainy wet that fel during the spring, caused the gift to be very bad
The diaries of William Brewis (1778-1850), farmer, of Throphill Farm, Mitford, Northumberland, cover the years 1833-1850 and are a fascinating compilation of information and anecdotes about farming matters and the local Mitford community. Alongside daily notes of the farming year, Brewis has added comments on local and national events of a political and societal nature.
Find out more about the William Brewis Diaries.
Door No. 10
Front cover of Christmas Supplement to Illustrated London News (19th Century Collection, 19th C. Coll 030ILL)
“While shepherds watched their flocks by night, – All seated on the ground”
Front page from the Christmas Supplement to the Illustrated London News, 22nd December 1855. Illustration drawn by J. Gilbert and printed by George C. Leighton Red Lion Square.
The pages of the Christmas Supplement consisted of an 8 page insert, containing a full colour cover and 3 additional full page colour images printed from woodblocks by George C. Leighton (who was seen to be the most prolific graphic artist of his day). Leighton’s production of these colour images demonstrated that colour printing could be done in large quantities to meet the high circulation of the Illustrated London News at a low cost.
Illustrated London News is found in our 19th Century and 20th Century Collections.
Door No. 9
Letter describing the outbreak of Cholera in Gateshead, 1832 from ‘Collection relative to the cholera at Gateshead, in the county of Durham Vol I (Rare Books, RB 616.932 BEL)
This letter is contained within the first of two scrapbook volumes containing information about the outbreak of cholera in Gateshead in 1831-2. It was written on Boxing Day, 26th December 1831. It details that Cholera had broken out in Gateshead, with the death of 6 persons in Beggars entry, 2 in Hillgate, 1 in Jacksons Chair and several more falling ill in Gateshead.
Cholera is a bacterial infection caused by contaminated water or food, but at the time of this outbreak people didn’t know that! Throughout the 1831-2 outbreak, no cure was found, nor would it be until the English physician, John Snow, proved that it was a water borne disease caused by infected water during an 1854 Cholera outbreak in London.
Find out more about our Cholera scrapbooks here.
The scrapbooks are part of the Rare Books Collections. Find out more about it here.
Door No. 8
‘It was the night before Christmas, and not surprisingly, Kelly Jane Davidson was wide awake. It wasn’t that she wanted to be. It wasn’t as if she believed in Santa and expected to catch him coming down the chimney onto the coal-effect gas fire in the living-room. After all, she was nearly eight now…’
Front cover of Stranded (Flambard Press, 823.914 MCD)
So goes the opening of the short story ‘The Girl Who Killed Santa Claus’ by renowned crime writer, Val McDermid. The story can be found in her collection Stranded which was published by Flambard Press in 2005. The book itself can be found in the Flambard Press Collection here at Special Collections and Archives, Newcastle University Library and you can request it here.
Flambard Press was a North East-based independent press which published a range of poetry and fiction, as well as some non-fiction and visual-art books. It was particularly focused on publishing new and neglected writers in the North of England, as well as promoting live literature.
You can listen to Flambard Press publishers, Margaret and Peter Lewis discussing the publication of the book on our Oral History Interface found here.
Door No. 7
From the Pybus (Professor Frederick) Archive, FP/3/1/7
Written during World War Two, this Christmas card was sent from Major Saviour of the 53 General Hospital, a Royal Army Medical Corps hospital which formed part of the Middle East Land Forces.
The recipient was Frederick Charles Pybus, Professor of surgery at Newcastle Medical School. Major Saviour congratulate Pybus on his appointment and chair. In addition to Pybus’ research into surgical methods and the causes of Cancer, he also amassed the internationally important Pybus Collection. The collection consists of around 2000 books on aspects of medical history, spanning nearly 700 years.
Find out more about the Pybus (Professor Frederick) Collection.
Door No. 6
From the Baker Brown (Thomas) Archive, TBB/1/9/1-1
This is a programme for a 1917 Christmas pantomime, ‘Dick Whittington’, produced by army troops and directed by Lieutenant Walter Thomas.
Thomas Baker Brown, born 22nd December 1896, a soldier who fought in World War I. In December 1915, he was serving in the ‘Clerks Platoon’ for the 6th Northumberland Fusiliers at a training camp at Scarcroft School, York. As a soldier, or “tommy”, training would begin with basic physical fitness, drill, march discipline and essential field craft. Tommies would later specialise in a role and Brown received training in bombing, signalling and musketry. He suffered from poor eyesight and was issued with glasses. After failing to be transferred to the Royal Flying Corps, Brown was placed into the signalling section and later drafted to France alongside his brother George, as part of the 2/6th Northumberland Fusiliers, 32nd Division.
By the 1st August 1916, Brown was moved to the 21st Northumberland Fusiliers (2nd Tyneside Scottish 37th Division) and was sent on his first journey to the front line trenches. Later, in March 1917, Brown was awarded the Military Medal for his ‘heroism’ and ‘bravery’.
Find out more about the Baker Brown (Thomas) Archive.