Vintage: Christmas on London’s Streets (1908-1967)

Vintage: Christmas on London’s Streets (1908-1967)


Commercial Christmas industry was borne by Victorians in 1848 when a British confectioner, Tom Smith, invented a bold new way to sell sweets. Inspired by a trip to Paris where he saw bon bons – sugared almonds wrapped in twists of paper – he came up with the idea of the Christmas cracker: a simple package filled with sweets that snapped when pulled apart. The sweets were replaced by small gifts and paper hats in the late Victorian period, and remain in this form as an essential part of a modern Christmas.

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A children’s Christmas party at the Hoxton Mission, London, 18th November 1933

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Father Christmas delivering presents to the Children’s Aid and Adoption Society at Leytonstone, 20th November 1931

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Father Christmas hands out presents to children at the Aid And Adoption Society home at Leytonstone, 1938

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Father Christmas walks on the streets of wartime London, 23rd December 1940

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Mod Christmas decorations on London’s Carnaby Street, 1967

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Sandbags are placed outside the shop window at Selfridges to protect it during the first Christmas of World War II, 1939

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Santa Claus drives a motorcycle past a bus through Oxford Street, London using the sidecar to hold his toys, 1949

December 1915: A soldier carrying a christmas tree. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

December 1915: A soldier carrying a christmas tree. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

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Christmas atmosphere on Electric Avenue, Brixton, London, 1908

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The Regent Street Christmas lights on evening, London, 1960

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A family look at the sparkling lights on the Christmas tree at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, 16th November 1938

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Christmas at night on Regent Street, 1960

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Christmas lights on Regent Street, 1955

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Christmas shopping on Oxford Street, London, 1937

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Christmas trees in Covent Garden Market, 1952


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