NEWS

Historic Christmas Pictures Show 100 Years Of Yuletide In London

There have ALWAYS been crowds of Christmas shoppers.

23/12/2016 08:40

Fighting through the outer circle of hell that is Oxford Street to do your Christmas shopping. Pretending you’re good at ice-skating at Somerset House. Paying some exorbitant amount for a mulled wine at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.

There’s no time quite like Christmas in the capital.

Look back at pictures from the past century and you’ll see some things are drastically different, while others still look rather familiar.

Fox Photos via Getty Images
Father Christmas handing out presents to evacuees from Peckham in 1940.

The Regent’s Street lights have been around for decades, the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree is a regular fixture and Father Christmas always seems to pop up somewhere. 

But while Londoners have always flooded the shops at Christmas, you’ll notice the wares they are purchasing and the fashions they are sporting are rather different.

We’ve gone digging in the archives to find some intriguing images of the capital and its residents at Yuletide since 1900...

  • 1900
    Hulton Deutsch via Getty Images
    The 57 foot Christmas tree, annually donated to London by the people of Oslo is erected in Trafalgar square in 1900.
  • 1902
    Print Collector via Getty Images
    A Christmas dance at the German Gymnasium, London, circa 1902.
  • 1907
    Topical Press Agency via Getty Images
    Street hawkers selling Christmas gifts on Ludgate Hill in 1907.
  • 1911
    Topical Press Agency via Getty Images
    Piles of parcels at Euston Station, during the Christmas rush, ready to be loaded onto a train in 1911.
  • 1915
    Topical Press Agency via Getty Images
    Children carrying holly and mistletoe on the streets of London in 1915.
  • 1917
    Topical Press Agency via Getty Images
    Christmas preparations at the Eagle Hut, a YMCA centre for American servicemen in London, in 1917.
  • 1918
    Topical Press Agency via Getty Images
    A party singing old English, French and German Carols, to collect money for charity, in the hall at the residence of Sir Edgar Speyer, Grosvenor Square, London, in 1918.
  • 1918
    J. J. Lambe via Getty Images
    The Eagle Hut begins to look more festive, thanks to the hard work of those putting up decorations, 1918.
  • 1918
    Topical Press Agency via Getty Images
    Children watch a Punch and Judy puppet show at a children's Christmas party at the Savoy Hotel in 1918.
  • 1919
    Hulton Archive via Getty Images
    Turkeys hanging in butchers shop ready for sale at Christmas in 1919.
  • 1919
    Hulton Archive via Getty Images
    Christmas shopping crowds in Oxford Street in 1919.
  • 1922
    Topical Press Agency via Getty Images
    A coster driving a donkey cart loaded with holly, Nine Elms, London, in 1922.
  • 1922
    Topical Press Agency via Getty Images
    Christmas shoppers outside Gamage's department store in London in 1922. Signs in the window advertise the store's 'Christmas Bazaar', which offers 'Toys & Games', 'Xmas Cheer' and 'Parlour Fireworks'.
  • 1925
    Topical Press Agency via Getty Images
    A Christmas party at Queens Hospital, Bethnal Green, circa 1925.
  • 1926
    Adams via Getty Images
    The overflow of Christmas mails is dealt with at the Great Western Railway siding at Alfred Road, in 1926.
  • 1927
    General Photographic Agency via Getty Images
    An array of Christmas lights brightening department stores Bon Marche and Quin and Axtens on Brixton Road, in 1927.
  • 1928
    Planet News Archive via Getty Images
    Miss Agnes Nicks, the young London endurance swimmer, swam from Tottenham Bridge to London Bridge in the river on Boxing Day, 1928. Six other girls refused to enter the water because of the wintery conditions.
  • 1928
    Heritage Images via Getty Images
    The Christmas display at Swifts butchers, Smithfield Market, is well stocked in 1928. A nativity scene sculpted from lard stands in front of a Christmas greeting spelled out in offal.
  • 1929
    Planet News Archive via Getty Images
    The largest consignment of Christmas trees ever received before in London is unloaded at Fennings Wharf, London Bridge in 1929.
  • 1935
    Keystone via Getty Images
    American soldiers handing out presents to London children at a Christmas party in Paddington Town Hall in 1935.
  • 1936
    Fox Photos via Getty Images
    In London's West India Docks, boots are distributed at Christmas to poor children by the wife of the manager of the Docks in 1936.
  • 1938
    Gerry Cranham via Getty Images
    Children from the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society Home at Leytonstone, London, hauling in their Christmas tree in 1938.
  • 1938
    Keystone-France via Getty Images
    Father Christmas gives presents to children at Selfridge's department store in 1938.
  • 1939
    Parker via Getty Images
    A child visiting Santa in Hoxton in 1939 is unhappy despite her new teddy bear.
  • 1940
    Bettmann via Getty Images
    War-time Londoners pose under the mistletoe for a joke in 1940.
  • 1940
    William Vanderson via Getty Images
    The occupants of a beautifully decorated London bomb shelter enjoying refreshments, after working day and night to give their refuge a Christmas atmosphere in 1940.
  • 1940
    Planet News Archive via Getty Images
    Air raid wardens play the part of Father Christmas for sick children in the wards of two local hospitals in 1940. Nearly 200 toys, including dolls made by Czech refugees, were distributed.
  • 1940
    Planet News Archive via Getty Images
    One of the Father Christmases brings gifts in to the children circa 1940.
  • 1940
    Planet News Archive via Getty Images
    Two hundred women who are training to be munitions workers at the Westminster and Beaufoy Technical Institutes had a good time as the guests of the Ministry of Labour which gave them a Christmas party in 1940.
  • 1941
    Planet News Archive via Getty Images
    Children pose with Father Christmas in 1941.
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