Merry London Christmas!
Season's Greetings and Merry Christmas to you, one and all! A few festive glimpses of the city are gathered around the fireplace here for your seasonal enjoyment; please do share them with friends and family (that's what Christmas is all about after all), and feel free to tell us your thoughts on our Facebook page! And perhaps you have some Christmas film of your own? We're urgently seeking more films about daily life in London, especially from London's outer boroughs - if you or someone you know has a filmed record of Christmas celebrations, do get in touch!
What a fine looking turkey! This lovely film of daily life for a comfortably off Bexley family in the 1930s shows a traditional Christmas lunch with all the trimmings being served to the family by the maid. Toys, chocolates, happy children - it's like Christmas in a story book. Home movies like this that show the insides of houses are not common in this period, as getting sufficient light indoors could be problematic - we're very lucky to have this glimpse of London life, courtesy of Bexley Local Studies and Archives.
Trafalgar Square . . . . doesn't change much, though it's not every day you see a horse drawn carriage drive through! All the ingredients for a London Christmas are here: the famous Christmas tree from Norway, a nativity scene, tempting shop windows, the glorious lights of Oxford Street and if you look closely, there's even a Bond film! (There's a poster for Thunderball, which suggests this is 1965). Although these are well-known central London locations, this amateur film feels very different to standard views of the area - more personal, wondering and wandering.
London - Something Old, Something New
Although not strictly-speaking a Christmas film, the lovely shots of children pressing their faces longingly to the toyshop window seem very much in keeping with the festive season. This film was shot by the toyshop owner, Mr Meiklejohn, whose stock certainly seems to be the stuff that Christmas dreams are made of - do you recognise any of the toys?
Lambeth Walk I
A glorious 'Topical Budget' newsreel from the 1920s, complete with a Christmas cracker finale! There is something very special about the awkwardness of this Sutton Christmas fairy's waving of her magic wand; this isn't a glossy Hollywood movie but a very real, human production with a real attempt to cheer up real children, in real hospital. And the magic seems to be working - there are lots of smiles from the little beds, and the nurses, of course, are clearly working incredibly hard for their small patients. It's a very different sort of children's ward to those of today however - where are all the parents?
Surrey. Rays of Sunshine
An amateur film of a Christmas party for the children of the Brandon Estate. Southwark.
Kiddies Xmas Party 1962
Amateur film of a Christmas party for the retired residents of the Brandon Estate, Southwark.
An Old Time Christmas 1965
A Christmas party for neighbours on the Becontree Estate quickly turns wild as one grey-haired guest show the camera her bloomers and later dresses up in a makeshift Playboy Bunny Girl outfit. Well-oiled guests roar with laughter, belt out songs, wear daft hats and turn increasingly ruddy faced as the fun continues. Taken from the Boulter Family Films archive – the Bunny Girl is the mother of Tony Boulter, who donated the films.
Neighbourhood Christmas Party
Granny’s bloomers and a makeshift Bunny Girl costume are among the eye-popping highlights from this Christmas party on an East London estate in the 1960s.
Family and Friends Christmas Party