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December 2015.  Member's talk at the Christmas meeting.

Gwynne Morris introduced his own collection of Victorian Christmas Cards

The uniform Penny Post began on 10th January 1840.  Postage stamps came into use on 6th May.This letter was posted in Ruthin on 9th November

Editor's Note:

Ruthin has more than one Victorian letter box. Do you know where they are?

Before the arrival of the first Christmas Cards, and also for many years after,  greetings were often sent in the form of business cards – the cost of cards being prohibitive.



The card had three panels.  The outer two showed people caring for the poor. The centre panel illustrated a wealthy family enjoying a Christmas feast as they all toast the festive season by sipping wine and it was all set within a woody, rustic border hung with ivy, grapes and vine leaves (holly did not appear on Christmas cards until 1848). 
Some people did’nt like the card because it showed a child being given a glass of wine


Indeed, Henry Cole was responsible for the whole idea of sending Christmas cards through the post when he decided to surprise his friends with a novel and colourful card at Christmas time instead of the usual Christmas letter.

The world's first Christmas Card was a simple idea, born out of desperation! It came when the thought of writing the traditional Christmas letter to relations and friends proved too much for Henry (later Sir Henry) Cole, a young London civil servant, in December 1483. (He later became the first director of the Victoria and Albert Museum.)

Very few of the early Victorian cards illustrated the religious meaning of the festival, and they rarely show landscapes blanketed in snow or warmly clad skaters on ponds or even reindeers pulling Father Christmas’s sleigh over the countryside which are all so common today on our cards.

Anthony Trollope, now more famed as a novelist, was, in the 1850s working as a Surveyor’s Clerk for the Post Office. 

The first boxes began appearing on the British mainland from 1853. 

Here are a few from my ‘religious’ collection

The early Vicorians  were, however, passionately fond of the countryside, which they glorified in colourful cards which depicted flowers, birds and plants.

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Finally,  the sending of New Year cards also became fashionable.

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