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.
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.
‘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.
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.
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’.
To make Snow Cream recipe from Jane Loraine’s recipe book (Miscellaneous Manuscript, Misc MSS 5)
Fancy making ‘Snow Cream’ the 17th Century way. Well, here’s how;
Take thickcream of the eveningmilkput to it a little sugar and some rose water, thenput it into silver basin or a wooden bowl and with a little rod make a little brush and beat it with good strength and as you see it rising to froth put it with the rod into the other side of the bowl from the plate where youbeat it and when youhave a good deal made into froth take it up with a skimmer and as fast as you lay it into your cream bowls throw searced double refined sugar upon it, and when youhave taken up as much froth as you have that made, that fall to beats in yourcream again so do till you have made your dish of cream as big as you will have it that is done
This recipe is part of a larger recipe book that was created by a number of people including the manuscript’s owner, Jane Loraine. The recipes are culinary, medicinal and cosmetic. The manuscript is an excellent example of the kinds of knowledge and expertise that women in an early modern household needed during the 17th Century.
Find out more about Jane Lorraine’s recipe book here and find more recipes from the Jane Lorraine Recipe book in this digital edition.
Postcard from Katharine Trevelyan (CPT Uncat 62/19
This postcard was written to Kitty [Katharine] Trevelyan, daughter of Charles Philips and Lady Mary Trevelyan of Wallington, when she was four years old. The card sends Christmas greetings and is signed ‘Edie’. It was written at the Victoria Home for Invalid Children in Margate.
The Trevelyan family were a wealthy and important family who lived at Wallington Hall in Northumberland during the 19th and early 20th centuries. They played an important role in politics, culture and education.
The card was published by the German company of E. A. Schwerdtfeger & Co. Information on the reverse reveals that this particular card was ‘imperfect’ – likely relating to the slight misalignment of the print leaving a thin white band at the top, and some of the information missing at the bottom.
The Turtle Dove from ‘History of British Birds Vol I (Bradshaw-Bewick Collection, Bradshaw-Bewick 761BEW)
On the second day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
THE TURTLE DOVE
“…The female lays two eggs, and has only one brood in this country, but in warmer climates it is supposed to breed several times in the year.”
Extract from History of British Birds Vol I., page 273, by Thomas Bewick.
History of British Birds is published in two volumes. It was the first field guide for non-specialists and contains accurate illustrations of bird species. Aspects from the History of British Birds is used in poetry and literature.
Illustration from ‘Lady Tabitha and Us’ (Rare Books, RB823.912 AIN)
Lady Tabitha At Home Christmas Eve…Come and Play. So we all went –
‘Lady Tabitha and Us’ is an illustrated book that describes the adventures of Lady Tabitha and other wooden dolls at a Christmas Eve party. The illustration depicts peg dolls at home getting ready, putting on make-up, preparing hair and getting dressed for a Christmas Party. You join Tabitha as the others as they play games, including musical chairs, hunt the slipper and dumb crumbs.
Published by Castell Brothers Ltd: London and created by Kathleen Ainslie. Kathleen Ainslie was an illustrator, active in the years 1900-1911. She is best-known for her series of children’s books based on jointed Dutch peg dolls which were popular during the 19th and early-20th centuries (Florence Kate Upton’s The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg had been published in 1895).
Come back to see another Kathleen Ainslie illustration behind Door number 25 on Christmas Day!
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.