Historic England’s Archive is not just a record of England’s architectural history, archaeology and historic environment – the photographers whose collected work it holds have, like everyone else, been caught up in the fun and fervour of the festive season.
Here is a selection of our historic images that capture something of Christmas past and gift an introduction to some of the extraordinary collections of photography held in our Archive.
Deck the halls (factories and streets) with boughs of holly
Those with a head for heights climb ladders or jump into cherry pickers as every town puts up its festive season decorations.
Rockin’ around the Christmas tree
Time to dig out that box of decorations, try to get the lights working and have a close encounter with something prickly.
Away in a manger
For a family with young children no festive season is complete without the emotional roller coaster of their little one appearing in a nativity play.
Santa Claus is coming to town!
Although Santa has moved with the times and got a web page with the Royal Mail, little else about him has changed.
All I want for Christmas is you (and some toys)
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a fraught trek around your local high street, hunting for the latest gadgets.
Time for parties and celebration
Whether you love them or dread them, the run up to 25 December is Christmas party season and time to enjoy the company of friends and colleagues.
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding!
A Christmas meal once meant a splendid wild boar or a big fat goose. These days, most people tuck into a Turkey. It’s always been more about getting everyone together around a table and eating and drinking until you can’t move.
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
The child in us always hopes for some snow to set a magical Christmas scene. Actually, according to the Met Office, there has only been four Christmases since 1960 when we’ve had widespread snow: 1981, 1995, 2009 and 2010.
It’s been a long time since the Thames has frozen over, but ice-skating is still a Christmassy pastime. (Usually on a rink these days though!)
And a Christmas is truly magical if you get to build a snowman!
And a Happy New Year…. let’s hope it’s a good one
Historic England wishes everyone a safe, healthy and prosperous 2022.