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.
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.
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.
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).
Inner pages of a programme for a Christmas pantomime, ‘Dick Whittington’, produced by army troops and directed by Lieutenant Walter Thomas (Thomas Baker Brown Archive, TBB/1/9/1)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’.
‘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.
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.
These 3 postcards consist of images taken on the wards of the 1st Northern General and feature both patients in flannel suits and ties, Royal Army Medical Corps personnel in uniforms, nurses, and the matron.
During the First World War the building that now houses the Hatton Gallery was requisitioned to house the 1st Northern General Hospital. This was normal practice throughout the war years, as army hospitals were needed across the country and on a large scale. The Fine Art building in which you are now standing was then part of Armstrong College, Durham University.
A note on the back of all 3 tell us they were taken around Christmas 1915 on wards on the ground floor of the Armstrong Building and were sent by a ‘D. Robinson’ to an address in Corbridge, Northumberland.
Door No. 6
Page from Old Aunt Elspa’s ABC (Joseph Crawhall Collection, Crawhall 50)
Is this something that you’ll be doing on Christmas morning?
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 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.
See the full book online via CollectionsCaptured.
Interested in more from Joseph Crawhall II? Find more in the Joseph Crawhall II Collection and Joseph Crawhall II Archive.
Door No. 24
HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVE!
The Newcastle University Special Collections team
would like to wish you all a very
What does your Christmas Eve consist of? Do you play games just like Kathleen Ainslie’s peg dolls, to get you in the mood for Christmas?
Illustrations taken from ‘Lady Tabitha and Us’ by Kathleen Ainslie (Rare Books, RB 823.912 AIN). You join Tabitha, a peg doll and her friends on Christmas Eve. They play party games, such as tug of war and drop the handkerchief, along with musical chairs, hunt the slippers, hide and seek, orange and lemons, blind man’s buff, guessing games and the Sir Roger dance. They then finally eat supper and “we didn’t go home till morning, till daylight did appear”.
Visit Door number 1 to find out a little bit more about Kathleen Ainslie.
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.
Door No. 22
Letter from Geoffrey Washington Trevelyan to Father Christmas, 1917 (CPT Uncat/30)
This letter to Father Christmas was written by Geoffrey Washington Trevelyan, the youngest son of the politician Charles Philips and Lady Mary Trevelyan of Wallington (find out more about the Trevelyan Charles Philips Trevelyan here). Written at his grandparents’ house Rounton Grange on Christmas Eve 1917, when he was seven years old. Geoffrey requests that Father Christmas decorate the tree and bring presents for the children.
Geoffrey later became an engineer at de Havilland, and the 5th Baronet of Wallington.