Cholera scrapbook – drinking on Christmas Day, 1831

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Door No. 19

Newspaper cutting and handwritten account of the Cholera outbreak, 1831 from ‘Collection relative to the cholera at Gateshead, in the county of Durham Vol I (Rare Books, RB 616.932 BEL)

This page from the Cholera scrapbook details circumstances around George Foster Smith, who sold some of his spirits to people on Christmas Day. It explains that nearly all of those that consumed the liquor from Smith’s establishment were those with whom Cholera first broke out in Gateshead. The Cholera outbreak occurred in Gateshead and lasted from 1831-2.

See another page from Cholera scrapbook Volume I, in Door No. 9 of the Special Collections Christmas Calendar.

Transcription reads;

George Foster Smith, then a considerable linen draper NoG(?)4. side, Newcastle with his spare cash began a cheap spirit shop in Tyne Bridge End Buildings in the last week of November 1831. – to gain custom with cheap spirit drinkers he gave to a number of persons some of his spirits, particularly on Christmas day, and strange to say the whole or very nearly the whole of the persons with whom the Cholera first broke out in Gateshead were proved to have been at, and partaken of this cheap spirit, the day before. – he and his spirits were much blamed. – the expected great trade of the spirit shop became nought, and his large linen drapery concern dwindled down to a Haberdashery shop, when he took himself drinking and died at his house in Leazes Terrace the 22. September 1846 aged 57 years

Find out more about our Cholera scrapbooks here.

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

Christmas Entertainments Prologue

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Door No. 18

Prologue from ‘Round about the coal-fire: or Christmas entertainments’ (19th Century Collection, 19th C. Coll 398.268 CHR)

To get you in the Christmas spirit, here’s the Prologue from ‘Round about our coal fire, or, Christmas Entertainments’ “wherein is described abundance of Fiddle-Faddle-Stuff, Raw-heads, bloody-bones, Buggybows and such like Horrible Bodies; Eating, Drinking, Kissing & other Diversions…” produced in 1734.

Find out more about the 19th Century Collection.

Courier ‘Coping with Christmas’

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Door No. 17

Article titled ‘Coping with Christmas’ from 12th December 2011 edition of The Courier

Sometimes it isn’t always all carolling out in the snow. Here’s what to do when festive spirit runs low, reality takes a bite and there isn’t a treble close at hand…

Article taken from the Courier, 12th December 2011. View the full issue here.

The Courier is Newcastle University’s student newspaper and has always been a voice for students to express their news, views, and opinions relating to campus life and the operation of the University. Its first issue was released in 1948, when the University was still known as King’s College (Kings College later split into Newcastle University and the University of Durham in 1963). The Courier is still being published today.

Find other issues from the Courier Archive online.

Christmas Card from John and Pauline Dower

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Door No. 16

Image from the uncatalogued Trevelyan Collection, CPT Uncat 56/4

This Christmas Card from John and Pauline Dower was sent in the second year of their marriage, and its clean, uncluttered style reflects the fashion of 1930. This card was likely sent to Pauline’s parents, Charles Philips and Lady Mary Trevelyan of Wallington (find out more about Charles Philips Trevelyan here).

The Dowers were both instrumental in the establishment and implementation of National Parks in England and Wales.

Grainger Street Local Illustration

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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.

Shakespeare’s Comedy of Twelfth Night

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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.

William Brewis Christmas Day, 1843 diary entry

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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.

Illustrated London News Christmas Supplement, 1855

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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.

Outbreak of Cholera in Gateshead, 1831

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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.

‘The Girl Who Killed Santa Claus’ by Val McDermid

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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.