William Brewis Christmas Day, 1843 diary entry #ChristmasCountdown Door no. 9

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.

Illustrated London News Christmas Supplement, 1855 #ChristmasCountdown Door no. 8

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.

Lady Tabitha and Us – At Home Christmas Eve #ChristmasCountdown Door no. 6

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).

Thomas Baker Brown’s Christmas Pantomime Programme – #Christmascountdown Door no. 3

Inner pages of Consists 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)

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’.

‘The Girl Who Killed Santa Claus’ by Val McDermid #ChristmasCountdown Door no. 2

‘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.

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

#ChristmasCountdown
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.

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

#ChristmasCountdown
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

Life at San Remo – #ChristmasCountdown Door no. 17

#ChristmasCountdown
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’

A Day in Newcastle – #ChristmasCountdown Door no. 15

#ChristmasCountdown
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

THE CENTRAL STATION
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.

The Hospital at Rounton, New Years Eve – #ChristmasCountdown Door no. 13

#ChristmasCountdown
Door No. 13

Photograph of nurses outside the auxiliary Hospital at Rounton Grange, New Years Eve, 1916 (Charles Philips Trevelyan Archive, CPT/PA/6)

Photograph of nurses outside the auxiliary Hospital at Rounton Grange, New Years Eve, 1916 (Charles Philips Trevelyan Archive, CPT/PA/6)

Photograph of soldiers and nurses around a table at the auxiliary Hospital at Rounton Grange, New Years Eve, 1916 (Charles Philips Trevelyan Archive, CPT/PA/6/)

Photograph of soldiers and nurses around a table at the auxiliary Hospital at Rounton Grange, New Years Eve, 1916 (Charles Philips Trevelyan Archive, CPT/PA/6)

Photograph of wounded soldiers outside the auxiliary Hospital at Rounton Grange, New Years Eve, 1916 (Charles Philips Trevelyan Archive, CPT/PA/6)

Photograph of wounded soldiers outside the auxiliary Hospital at Rounton Grange, New Years Eve, 1916 (Charles Philips Trevelyan Archive, CPT/PA/6)

Nurses outside the auxiliary Hospital at Rounton Grange, New Years Eve, 1916 (Charles Philips Trevelyan Archive, CPT/PA/6/)

Nurses outside the auxiliary Hospital at Rounton Grange, New Years Eve, 1916 (Charles Philips Trevelyan Archive, CPT/PA/6)

Playwright Florence Bell, stepmother of Gertrude Bell was an active Red Cross nurse during the First World War. These images, from her daughter’s (Mary Katharine Trevelyan, nee Bell [Molly]) family photograph album, show soldiers and nurses celebrating New Years Eve at the auxiliary hospital at Rounton Grange, 1916.

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

Flick through the full 1911-1916 photograph album that this page is taken from, along with others from the Philips (Charles) Archive on Page Turners.