Historic Christmas Pictures Show 100 Years Of Yuletide In London

There have ALWAYS been crowds of Christmas shoppers.

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.

<strong>Father Christmas handing out presents to evacuees from Peckham in 1940.</strong>
Father Christmas handing out presents to evacuees from Peckham in 1940.
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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
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The 57 foot Christmas tree, annually donated to London by the people of Oslo is erected in Trafalgar square in 1900.
1902
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A Christmas dance at the German Gymnasium, London, circa 1902.
1907
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Street hawkers selling Christmas gifts on Ludgate Hill in 1907.
1911
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Piles of parcels at Euston Station, during the Christmas rush, ready to be loaded onto a train in 1911.
1915
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Children carrying holly and mistletoe on the streets of London in 1915.
1917
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Christmas preparations at the Eagle Hut, a YMCA centre for American servicemen in London, in 1917.
1918
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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
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The Eagle Hut begins to look more festive, thanks to the hard work of those putting up decorations, 1918.
1918
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Children watch a Punch and Judy puppet show at a children's Christmas party at the Savoy Hotel in 1918.
1919
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Turkeys hanging in butchers shop ready for sale at Christmas in 1919.
1919
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Christmas shopping crowds in Oxford Street in 1919.
1922
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A coster driving a donkey cart loaded with holly, Nine Elms, London, in 1922.
1922
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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
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A Christmas party at Queens Hospital, Bethnal Green, circa 1925.
1926
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The overflow of Christmas mails is dealt with at the Great Western Railway siding at Alfred Road, in 1926.
1927
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An array of Christmas lights brightening department stores Bon Marche and Quin and Axtens on Brixton Road, in 1927.
1928
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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
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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
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The largest consignment of Christmas trees ever received before in London is unloaded at Fennings Wharf, London Bridge in 1929.
1935
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American soldiers handing out presents to London children at a Christmas party in Paddington Town Hall in 1935.
1936
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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
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Children from the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society Home at Leytonstone, London, hauling in their Christmas tree in 1938.
1938
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Father Christmas gives presents to children at Selfridge's department store in 1938.
1939
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A child visiting Santa in Hoxton in 1939 is unhappy despite her new teddy bear.
1940
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War-time Londoners pose under the mistletoe for a joke in 1940.
1940
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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
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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
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One of the Father Christmases brings gifts in to the children circa 1940.
1940
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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
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Children pose with Father Christmas in 1941.
1942
AP
American soldiers, with the assistance of US nurses, celebrate Christmas in the traditional manner by decorating a Christmas tree, with ping pong balls forming part of the ornament plan, in 1942. On the right is a giant Christmas card to the folks back home.
1942
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Young winter sports enthusiasts tobogganing on Hampstead Heath in 1942.
1944
AP
More than 200 children are guests of Canadian soldiers at a Christmas party in Acton in 1944. Above the youngsters are waited on by the soldiers. All the children either had been bombed out or had fathers who were prisoners of war.
1949
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Two-year-old Jennifer Martin in tears during a visit to Santa at Harrods in 1949.
1950
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Pupils of Argyle School, St Pancras, London, during a rehearsal of their Christmas operetta, 'The Pirouette Princess' in 1950.
1953
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Children enjoying themselves at a Christmas lunch in Selfridges department store in 1953.
1953
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The Trafalgar Square Christmas tree is seen on a foggy London day in 1953.
1955
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Children dancing round a Christmas tree in Kennington Park in 1955.
1955
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Christmas decorations in Regent Street, consisting mainly of snow crystal stars made of aluminium, give the effect of a snowstorm in 1955.
1959
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Regent Street packed with traffic as new Christmas chandeliers hanging from the middle of the street are turned on in 1959.
1960
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Passengers at Waterloo Station in 1960.
1960
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The Regent Street lights in 1960.
1960
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Crowds milling around the market stalls in Petticoat Lane in the run up to Christmas 1960, trying to pick up a bargain.
1961
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Regent Street decorations in 1961.
1962
AP
The scene in Farringdon Street in 1962, as light snow fell on the capital on Boxing Day, a day late for a white Christmas.
1966
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Christmas shopping scenes in London's West End in 1966.
1967
PA Archive/PA Archive
Fairy castles in the clouds is the theme of the year in 1967 for the Regent Street lights.
1970
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Father Christmas takes a quick cigarette break in 1970.
1970
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The city's West End shopping center begins to take on signs of the Christmas spirit with these festive lights just switched on in Oxford Street in 1970.
1971
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And again in 1971.
1973
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Customers at a London store do their Christmas shopping in semi-darkness during an electricity strike in 1973. Hurricane lamps provide a scant amount of illumination.
1974
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The moment of decision for 8-year-old Deborah Brown from Averley, Essex, as she shops for a Christmas present for her mum. With her money she stops at a trinket stall in London's Petticoat Lane in 1974.
1976
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A classic Christmas traffic jam on Oxford Street in 1976.
1978
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Police keep an eye on Harrods as the last minute shoppers buy their Christmas presents in 1978.
1983
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Soup and bread is the fare on the menu in Vauxhall for the homeless going into a warehouse where they will be given food and shelter for five days over the Christmas holiday in 1983. Their hosts are 400 young volunteers of the Crisis at Christmas Campaign. Also on the menu, traditional turkey dinners on Christmas evening.
1984
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Bob Geldof and Midge Ure pictured outside SARM Studios in Notting Hill, London, during the recording of the Band Aid single 'Do They Know It's Christmas?', in 1984.
1985
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A Christmas party on board a train in 1985.
1986
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British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher stands in front of number 10 Downing Street, with two reindeer who arrived on motorcycles, in 1986. The two riders represent the Christmas tree association who present the prime minister with the traditional tree.
1989
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Christmas holiday ice skaters at Hampton Court Palace in 1989.
1994
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A shortened perspective view northwards up Bond Street in 1994.
1995
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A man standing by a ticket barrier at Piccadilly Circus underground station in 1995. Crowds of Christmas shoppers fill the station in the background.
2000
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Christmas shoppers and commuters crosses Brompton road in front off an illuminated Harrods department store in Knightsbridge in 2000.
2000
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Christmas shoppers appear stressed as congestion outside Harrods causes problems as shoppers try to avoid the weather and the stress of Christmas in 2000.
2000
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Christmas shoopers crowd outside the world famous Hamleys toy store in 2000.

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