Thursday, 24 December 2015

On Christmas Day

RCAMC brass button, CC Attribution-Share Alike licence, user Lx 121
Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps brass uniform button, taken at John McCrae House, Guelph, Canada, taken by Lx 121 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License
Follow the link below to read about Arthur Carr, a Hartlepool man born on Christmas Day, 1895, who moved to Canada and served with the Canadian Army Medical Corps (RCAMC). 

You can read more about the RCAMC here

Friday, 18 December 2015

Winter larks

After the dumping of snow some of us received on the 12th December, thoughts turn to the winter weather.  After the previous years spending the cold winter months in billets, camps, and trenches, by January 1919, the remaining men of 2nd Battalion, Durham Light Infantry found themselves in Lechenich, south west of Cologne, Germany.  

Many of the men had been demobilised, or were waiting to be. The battalion spent the month training, and playing football and games. They also found time to indulge in a spot of ice skating, or they at least tried to.
D/DLI 7/426/152(57) Second Lieutenant Hubert McBain and Lieutenant Arderne on ice skates, Lechenich, Germany, January 1919
D/DLI 7/426/152(58) Lieutenants Pratt and Arderne, not on ice skates, Lechenich, Germany, January 1919

Friday, 11 December 2015

Festive cheer

As Christmas moves nearer, we can once again look to the Durham Advertiser from 24 December 1915, for guidance on revelry in the city both teetotal and of a more spirited variety (despite government restrictions).  

Crop from 34th Division's Christmas card, 1916 (D/DLI 12/5/3/2)
D/DLI 12/5/3/2 Crop from 34th Division's Christmas card, 1916
Despite the restrictions that seem to be pouring on the devoted heads of the licensed victuallers like a shower of shrapnel, the Trade still comes up smiling for Christmas, and, if we judge from the roaring trade our good friend Boniface [general term for landlord] is doing, it is a smile that will not soon wear off...

...Before enumerating their varied stocks of Christmas cheer, we ought perhaps to draw attention to a few of the restrictions imposed upon the Trade by the Liquor Control Board, and to point out how it affects the Christmas purchaser...orders must now be left at the shop or sent by letter, and as no credit is allowed, a remittance must accompany each order.  We might also point out that following the recent relaxation of the licensing restrictions during Christmas week, spirits may be purchased for consumption off the premises from 12 o'clock noon until 5.30pm and ale, stout, and wine from noon each day until 8pm.  These restrictions apply only strictly to Christmas week, from the 20th until the 24th.  

Sarsfield & Co. shop front, 7 Market Place, around 1900 (D/CL 27/277/308; Clayport Library reference 120A; Durham Record no. DR 02238)
D/CL 27/277/308 Sarsfield & Co. shop front, 7 Market Place, around 1900
There is such an outcry nowadays about the drink evil that one is glad to turn to a good teetotal beverage, and we can strongly recommend a good drink of Swenden’s Seltzer Water as supplied by Messrs Sarsfield and Co. the well-known family and dispensing chemists, of the Market Place.

Although the whole of the local balls have this year been abandoned owing to the dark war cloud looming over the country, there is no reason why the delightful art of Terpsichore [one of the muses, delight in dancing] should be entirely neglected. Our little friends need to be instructed how to “trip the light fantastic” so that they may do themselves justice in the ballroom when peace again reigns, and we notice the classes held by Miss E. Smith at the Masonic Hall in Old Elvet, and those held by the Misses Balles at the Burlison Art Gallery, 49, Sadler Street, have been running merrily during the past term and that the second term is now announced.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Christmas shopping advice

Christmas wasn't put on hold because there was a war on.  The Durham Advertiser gives some advice for shoppers in 1915.  These extracts, however, are from the edition of 24 December so this must be for the last minute shoppers.  The piece titled 'Smart Footwear', shows that some gift ideas are enduring.

Embroidered postcard with Christmas image (D/DLI 13/2/210)
D/DLI 13/2/210 embroidered postcard
The following article showing the preparations made by the principal tradesmen of Durham to cope with the demands of Yuletide, is in continuation of that which appeared in our last week issue. Our advice as to early shopping appears to have had good results, and during the past week shopkeepers have been oppressed with the cheerful burden of attending to the wants of legions of customers desirous of selecting Christmas presents for those near and dear to them. Time is getting short and the Christmas shopper must busy about and complete his or her purchases before the pick of the bargains have been swallowed up. A further list of Durham tradesmen who are offering special facilities for securing gift articles at moderate prices is given below.

Mr W. Lightfoot is offering some smart floral and holly decorations for Christmas at his three well-stocked establishments at Nos. 1 and 79, North Road, and at the Avenue Corner, and there is also obtainable every kind of choice fruit, boxes of figs, dates, etc. for the dessert table.

War or no war, we must not forget the kiddies this Christmas, and the delights of Santa Claus must be present in every home where the merry, happy prattle of the little Toddles is to be heard. There are toys galore at Mr T.A. Middleton’s, and the juvenile stocking can soon be filled by a visit to No. 15, Elvet Bridge. Every description of toy, mechanical and otherwise, is on sale, and at prices which will readily admit these children’s delights into every home.

A smart pair of slippers, boots, shoes, or gaiters are always a most acceptable form of Christmas present, and the widest choice is to be had at “Stantonia,” No. 1, Claypath. Here we have a really smart display of seasonable stocks of footwear, and despite the prevailing high prices, the goods are very reasonably ticketed. A special line is made of ladies quilted satin slippers, which are offered in all colours at 1st 10d per pair instead of the usual price of 2s 11d. Men’s slippers in felt, carpet, Morocco, and glace kid, are also offered as Christmas presents, and surely a more useful gift for one’s gentlemen friend could not be given.