Spirit Drinkers Beware – #ChristmasCountdown Door no. 23

Door no. 23

Notice entitled ‘Spirit Drinkers Beware!!!!‘ (Rare Books, 616.932 BEL)

Cholera broke out in Gateshead on Boxing Day 26th December 1831. This notice was issued by the Gateshead Board of Health, in response to the outbreak of cholera, warning people that drinking spirits has been linked to the caused of the disease and that New Year’s Day is approaching and warning of the DANGER of drinking on this day.

Find out more about our Cholera scrapbooks here.

The scrapbooks are part of the Rare Books Collections. Find out more about it here.

December’s calendar – #ChristmasCountdown Door no. 22

Door no. 22

Page from Kate Greenaway’s Almanack for 1892 (19th Century Collection, 19th C. Coll 020 GRE)

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 verses and 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 out more about Kate Greenaway’s almanacks in Education Outreach’s Amazing Archives online resource.

Joseph Swan’s incandescent lightbulbs – #ChristmasCountdown Door no. 21

Door no. 21

This letter was written by Joseph Swan to Rothbury photographer John Worsnop on 9th November 1897, in which he describes the first use of his incandescent lightbulb in a private residence other than his own, at Lord Armstrong’s house, Cragside. He writes, “…the effect was splendid and never to be forgotten”.

Sunderland-born physicist and chemist Sir Joseph Wilson Swan (1828-1914) is world-renowned for his invention of an early electric incandescent lightbulb, which became the very first to light public spaces and private residences. Swan conducted many of the experiments in perfecting this landmark technology at his home in Low Fell, Gateshead. He personally supervised the installation of lightbulbs at Cragside, the Northumberland residence of his friend, industrialist Lord William Armstrong, in December 1880. In this letter, he gives a vivid account of that momentous occasion.

Spiral Nebula in the Snow – #ChristmasCountdown Door no. 20

Door no. 20

Here’s a snowy and wintery image from our University Archives.

Photograph of Geoffrey Clarke’s sculpture, in the snow, in front of Sir Basil Spence’s Herschel Building at Newcastle University, for the Department of Physics, taken 1963.

‘Spiral Nebula’ (also known as ‘Swirling Nebula’) was designed by noted post-war sculptor Geoffrey Clarke in 1962. It is a leading example of post-war public art. It is one of the few from this period that is situated in Newcastle.

It was commissioned by the architect Basil Spence as part of the design of the Herschel Building for the Physics Department of Kings College, University of Durham (which later in 1963 became Newcastle University). It reflects the scientific advances being made at this time,  such as Britain’s first satellite, ‘Ariel 1’, which was launched in 1963 (the same year as the building was opened and sculpture unveiled).

Read more about the sculpture’s history and its revival here.

‘Spiral Nebula’ was one of five pieces of post-war public art in the North East to be given listed status at Grade II by Historic England in August 2016 (announced by Historic England September 2016). Read more here.

This photograph is part of the photographic section of the University Archives. To see more images of ‘Spiral Nebula’ in situ and being constructed, visit CollectionsCaptured.

Me and Catharine Susan earns an honest penny – #ChristmasCountdown Door no. 19

Door no. 19

The story starts with peg dolls sitting at a dinner table…

Page from 'Me and Catharine Susan earns an honest penny' showing two peg dolls at the table with empty plates

Page from ‘Me and Catharine Susan earns an honest penny‘ showing two peg dolls at the table with empty plates (Rare Books, RB 823.912 AIN)

“Empty plates!!
and not a penny left.

Something must be
done at once.”

You join two peg dolls on their journey trying to earn some money, through setting up (with varying successes) different businesses, such as a sewing and clothes alterations shop, a tea shop in their garden, becoming market gardeners and growing their own vegetables, selling buttonholes and teaching other peg dolls to dance.

Page from 'Me and Catharine Susan earns an honest penny' showing one of the peg dolls create buttonholes to sell

Page from ‘Me and Catharine Susan earns an honest penny’ showing one of the peg dolls create buttonholes to sell (Rare Books, RB 823.912 AIN)

Page from 'Me and Catharine Susan earns an honest penny' showing one of the peg dolls showing the 'Buttonholers' to dance

Page from ‘Me and Catharine Susan earns an honest penny’ showing one of the peg dolls showing the ‘Buttonholers’ to dance (Rare Books, RB 823.912 AIN)

Explore another Kathleen Ainslie book that we have in Special Collections; ‘Catherine Susan and Me’s Coming Out’, in our February 2017 Treasure of the Month Feature

Trevelyan Rounton Xmas 1919 – #ChristmasCountdown Door no. 18

Door no. 18

'Rounton Xmas 1919'

Page showing ‘Rounton Xmas 1919’ from Trevelyan photo album, Volume 9 (Charles Philips Trevelyan Archives, CPT-PA-8)

Page 14 from the Trevelyan photo album, Volume 8, ‘Rounton Xmas 1919’.

The Trevelyan family were a  wealthy and important family who lived at Wallington Hall (a large country house) in Northumberland during the 19th and early 20th centuries. They played an important role in politics, culture and education.

Included in the photographs above:

Sir Charles Philips Trevelyan was a was a Liberal and then Labour M.P. and a wealthy landowner. He donated Wallington Hall to the National Trust in 1942, which is now open to the public.

Molly Trevelyan was the wife of Charles Trevelyan. She was the half sister to Gertrude Bell, who was an English writer, traveller, political officer and explorer.

Charles and Molly had six children; Kitty, Geoffrey, Patricia, Marjorie, Pauline and George.

Photograph annotations from top left to right:

  • Two top photographs annotated ‘K’, ‘P’, ‘Alisa?’, ‘MFR’, ‘HWR’, ‘MLB’, ‘GLT’, ‘Val’, followed by ‘BHR’, ‘Elsa’, ‘HB’, ‘FB’, ‘Molly’, ‘Marjorie’, ‘Bill’, ‘FPT’. The photographs show a large grouP of people posing outside for photographs. There are several generations of both Trevelyans and Bells represented.
  • Photograph annotated ‘a party of ragamuffins’, ‘F.P.T.’, ‘Killy’, ‘Marjorie’, ‘Biddy’, ‘George’. The photograph shows some of the children standing outside posing for the photograph, with a football at George’s feet.
  • Photograph annotated ‘B’, ‘P’, ‘K.B.’, ‘M’, ‘G’, ‘M’, ‘V’, ‘F’, showing the children sitting on one of the steps outside the house, posing for the photograph.
  • Photograph annotated ‘a roar of grandchildren’, ‘F’, ‘M’, ‘V’, ‘B.B.’, ‘M’, ‘K, ‘G’, ‘P’. The children have arranged themselves in height order, from smallest to tallest, against one of the walls outside the house.
  • Photograph annotated ‘Charles after a hot game of hockey’ , showing Charles sitting in his study.

The photograph albums belonged to Molly Trevelyan. This volume, alongside 38 others are part of the Trevelyan (Charles Philips) Archive.

Flick through the full 1919-1921 photograph album that this page is taken from, along with others from the Philips (Charles) Archive on Page Turners.

Life at San Remo – #ChristmasCountdown Door no. 17

Door No. 17

Page from Illustrated London News (19th Century Collection, 19th C. Coll ILL 030)

Page from Illustrated London News, Volume 92 (19th Century Collection, 19th C. Coll ILL 030)

Page from Illustrated London News, Vol. 92, dated 7th January 1888.

Image depicts ‘Life at San Remo – The Crown Prince and family in the billiard room, Villa Zirio : The Christmas Tree’

Crawhall’s Couple Kissing – #ChristmasCountdown Door no. 16

Door no. 16

Print of Couple Kissing from 'Impresses Quaint', 1889

Kissing Couple from ‘Impresses Quaint’, 1889 (Joseph Crawhall II Archive, JCII/7/96)

Is kissing under the mistletoe a Christmas tradition for you?

Joseph Crawhall II was born in Newcastle in 1821 and was the son of Joseph Crawhall I, who was a sheriff of Newcastle. As well as running the family ropery business with his brothers, he also spent his time illustrating, making woodcuts and producing books.

Interested in more from Joseph Crawhall II? Find more in the Joseph Crawhall II Collection and Joseph Crawhall II Archive.

A Day in Newcastle – #ChristmasCountdown Door no. 15

Door no. 15

Spending a day in Newcastle doing some Christmas shopping? What’s changed since the description in this 1887 guide to enable visitors to the town to see as much of it as possible in a few hours? Maybe there’s something new that you’ve never noticed before…

Back and front covers of 'A Day in Newcastle and its Jubilee Exhibition'

Back and front covers of ‘A Day in Newcastle and its Jubilee Exhibition‘, 1887 (Edwin Clarke Local Collections, Clarke 298)

“To the visitor,
It is assumed that you have arrived in Newcastle by rail and find yourself standing outside the portico of

Directly opposite are situated the Inland Revenue, Bankruptey, and Post and Telegraphic Offices; also the extensive offices of the River Tyne Commission, where until recently stood one of the towers of the old TOWN WALL. Turn to the left, past St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral to the CATTLE MARKET.

Pass down between the two divisions of the Sheep Market. The large building on the left is the INFIRMARY. Go straight on to Scotswood Road, on the left side of which is that portion of the market appropriate to oxen, etc…”

Text take from pages 9-10

Illustration of Central Station taken from 'A Day in Newcastle and its Jubilee Exhibition'

Illustration of Central Station taken from ‘A Day in Newcastle and its Jubilee Exhibition‘ (Edwin Clarke Local Collections, Clarke 298)

Read the full book on CollectionsCaptured.

Christmas dinner in the trenches – #ChristmasCountdown Door no. 14

Door No. 14

Letter from Thomas Baker Brown to his father, 29th Dec 1917 (Thomas Baker Brown Archive, TBB/1/1/1/1/248)

This letter from Thomas Baker Brown to his father is written from France. He describes his Christmas dinner, and remarks that there were ’30 men to a turkey’. See transcript below…


My dear Father

Just a few lines to let you know that things are all ok and going strong.

Today we had our so called Xmas diner and gee wiz it was some dinn. There were 30 men to a turkey so you can imagine how much we saw of it after the Sergt Major and the NCOs had a dig in. So I made up with Nestles Choc afterwards.

I don’t know whether I told you that the razor blade (singular) arrived all right.

I’ve had a letter from Mr Drew and he proposed drinking my health this Xmas.

Have just to move so will now pip-pip

Love to all

Your loving son

(SB) – Tommy”

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’.

This letter is from the Baker Brown (Thomas) Archive.

Read more about Thomas Baker Brown’s story in this Treasure of the Month blog post.