Huddersfield Chronicle (13/Dec/1894) - Christmas Preparations in Huddersfield

The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors. If the article was published prior to 1 June 1957, then the text is likely in the Public Domain.


Use and wont, so far as Christmas is concerned, are too deeply rooted in the English character for even bad trade to make any apparent inroads upon the preparations which at this time of the year herald the approach of what is known as the “festive season.” By common agreement, for the time being, thoughts and attention are turned away from bad trade, want of orders, shortness of work, and other disagreeable matters, from which we can scarcely hope that human nature will ever be free, to the brighter and beautiful side of life, and in the direction of seeking recreation and pleasure, not alone for ourselves, but for others as well. These preparations now entail a vast deal of time, attention, and thought, and scarcely any retail trader (and consequently wholesale too) but feels the increased demand for goods of all kinds. It has been said that not only does demand create supply, but often enough supply leads to demand. Surely that must be the case with the Christmas season. Whatever the trade, its suitability or unsuitability for providing Christmas presents and seasonable gifts, its claims are put forward as though they were pre-eminent, and in all, or very nearly all, some amount of success attends these efforts. The useful and the ornamental jostle each other in their claims for precedence. Nowhere can we turn without seeing articles which in themselves create wants of which we were not before conscious. Try as we may we cannot keep out of reach of temptation. In all sorts of disguises temptations meet us at every turn and in all sorts of out-of-the-way corners. Make what resolutions we may, it is impossible to forbear glancing at the shop windows, now in all their bravest array, their attractions shown up after dark by means of the electric light, as though the light of the day had kept on far into the wintry evenings, and to look is to at once give way. It must be that at Christmas time even those who have little to spend manage to raise something, for in no other way than in a universal demand can a tithe of the good things gathered in such profusion, in order that Christmas may be duly and royally celebrated in Huddersfield, be dispersed. If ever we temporarily lose command of the sea again, and enemies attempt to starve us out by stopping the supplies which come to us in such enormous quantities from across the seas, it is to be hoped that such misfortune may occur at this season of the year when we are supplied almost as if we were in preparation for a siege, such is the abundance of eatables and drinkables stored up for those on hospitable thoughts intent. If the supply is large and of the best in those articles calculated to keep up the human physique, the same may be said for every department of business. Abundance is the keynote of every preparation, whether luxuries or necessaries, and whatever may be the state of the finances, if there are funds at all, the best may be made of them in purchasing some of the very many articles of all kinds and values to be seen on every hand. Even those who have nothing may (hard as is the task) find something consoling in the large amount of happiness experienced by others. The very sight of the shops with their wealth of beauty is a strong temptation to covetousness, and although we almost take their wonderful displays as a matter of course, there is for the thoughtful mind abundant food for reflection in the cleverness, ingenuity, perseverance, and endurance which alone have made the purchase of many of the articles now seen at all possible. The sight now presented by our streets with their crowded shops filled as they are with seasonable goods is one which no one not actually incapacitated from outdoor exercise should miss. If only the weather remains fine and dry much enjoyment may be expected only from sightseeing, and still deeper pleasure from purchasing, not alone for ourselves, but for others whose lot may be brightened by a share in that abundance of which there is enough and to spare for all.

The injunction to “take no thought for the morrow” is one which is certainly not remembered at Christmas, of all times of the year, in fact the most momentous questions are what we shall eat and what we shall drink. Quality, as well as quantity, is also a point specially considered at this time of the year. The turkey must be one of the finest, and the round of beef the best English, that can be procured. The grand displays yearly made by Messrs. J.H. Wood and Son, in Victoria Street, of every conceivable variety of game will have become familiar to all, but this year the firm’s aim has been to surpass all previous Christmas shows. Remarkably fine indeed are the rows of turkeys, geese, ducks, chickens, pheasants, grouse, hares, &c., the pick of the country having been obtained, and the purchaser who cannot be satisfied must be an exceedingly difficult person to please. No less than 1,500 turkeys have been ordered, 1,000 geese, and 1,000 hares, besides the very large numbers of pheasants, &c., all from well-known shootings. At the old-established shop of Mr. Rowland Wood in the Market Walk another excellent display of game as well as fish will be seen. The qualities are guaranteed to be the finest, the quantities the largest, and the prices moderate, while English, Dutch, and American oysters are in splendid condition. The reputation of Wiltshire bacon is as good as ever, despite all impositions and competition, and this reputation will not be diminished by the show which Messrs. Cooper and Webb have at their Wiltshire House, 30, Westgate. Those who prefer to make presents of a substantial rather than a fanciful character cannot do better than inspect the large stock of hams, bacon, and Stilton cheese to be found at this house. The hams are not confined to Wiltshire smoked, but include Cumberland, Yorkshire, and Belfast. The visitor to Lipton’s establishment, in the Market-place, is at once struck by the abundance of provision which he sees on all sides. Hams and cheeses can be viewed by the hundred, while the sides of bacon appear to be endless in number. The same wealth of provision is made with regard to tea, which is now one of the special features of Messrs. Lipton’s enormous trade, this branch possessing the great advantage of bringing the grower and the purchaser into immediate relationship, Mr. Lipton having some of the most extensive tea plantations in Ceylon.

Temperance reform, notwithstanding the revenues of the country, will be materially increased ere Christmas has passed. Though the advocates of teetotalism would, of course, urge that intoxicants are best left alone altogether, even they must admit that if a person will have his glass of beer or wine it is better that he should have it of good than of indifferent quality, for the latter is often the cause of mischief, where quantity might not be. Messrs. Seth Senior and Sons, of Shepley, whose order office and stores are in Cross Church Street, are, as usual, prepared to meet all demands in every department, and to supply everything of the best. For the convenience of families casks of beer of six gallons and upwards will be supplied, and the finest whiskies, brandies, and rums, and the leading brands of champagne may be had in single bottles or any number. All kinds of mineral waters can also be had. From the Lockwood Brewery will come, if asked for, Messrs. Bentley and Shaw’s celebrated mild and bitter ales. Intending customers are assured that the new season’s special brewings for Christmas are unrivalled in quality and condition, and casks can be had of 6, 9, and 18 gallons and upwards. The order office is at 35, John William Street, where, in addition, can be obtained the old Scotch whiskies, champagne, and specially selected quinta ports. Orders of a similar character will receive prompt attention from Mr. A. Spivey, 45 and 47, King Street; Mr. William Smith, Folly Hall; and Messrs. Walter Hirst and Sons, 53 and 55, King Street, and “Buxton House,” 17, Buxton Road. At the latter establishments choice British and foreign cigars can also be had. Mr. Jim Briggs gives his customary invitation to all who want a good glass of ale to pay him a visit at the old “Bull’s Head,” Beast Market. He will also be ready to show the best wines and spirits and well-seasoned cigars. Messrs. Benjamin Shaw and Sons, manufacturers of high-class mineral waters, of Upperhead Row and Willow Lane, specially appeal to those who wish for nothing stronger. For children’s parties the cordials which the firm has on sale are eminently suitable.

Every lady enjoys a shopping expedition, and those who are fortunate enough to receive presents in the shape of current coin of the realm, or its equivalent in good passable paper, will find themselves this year quite in their element. Particular and special preparation have been made to suit these and others who may be taking advantage of the season to restock their wardrobes, and possess themselves of that “something to wear.” of which ladies are so often, if they are to be taken as literally speaking the truth, without. They need only the money, and there is no other good reason why they should not at once enjoy themselves to their hearts’ content in providing themselves at once with “something to wear.” If they venture into Messrs. Thomas Denham and Co.’s shop with a well-lined purse they will find their wants develop in a most alarming fashion. The uninitiated male may be forgiven if he imagines that here can be obtained all that go to make up a lady’s toilette, for in abundance and variety the stock would be hard to beat. It includes, in addition to an endless variety of all manner and kinds of things for lady’s wear, both in made-up material, and in material not made-up, a plentiful stock of household requisites in the shape of down quilts, sheets, pillow cases, &c. The lighter material of gloves, linen handkerchiefs, hosiery &c., are not forgotten, and the display made in them is as tempting and complete as in all the other departments of an extensive and varied business. Mr. Herbert Denham announces that he has re-stocked every department, and he invites inspection, with a full faith in his selection, and equal, certainly, of having provided what will be pleasing and suitable. Here, again, every department of dress seems to be provided for, both in the useful and necessary articles of dresses, jackets, and dress fabrics, and also the elegant and pretty trifles which delight the hearts of women, and which all men, who are not bears, believe so much becomes them. Those who elect to go to Mr. George Hall’s, in King Street, will find that their advent has been anticipated. In the dress, mantle, millinery, outfitting, family linen, and general mourning, every department is replete with the latest designs and the best of the season’s goods. Nothing need limit the extent of the purchases, except the consideration of the purse. Necessary, useful, and fancy articles abound, and few who venture to inspect will be able to decline to purchase. It is wonderful to note how much ingenuity has been exercised to meet all the possible wants of the ladies, and here they may see the results in many and varied forms. The Bee Hive, in King Street, has been transformed since Mr. Samuel Chapman went there, and it is now a considerable centre of attraction. All the most cunning millinery, the most beautiful curtains, new materials for evening dresses, silks, laces, ribbons, and Butterick's well-known cut paper patterns can be there seen and purchased. The display for Christmas is on a very considerable scale, and is one which ought not, on any account, to be missed. Mr. Thomas Mellor, 19, King Street, is well to the front with his extensive preparations. Ladies are informed that there are some special bargains to be obtained here in cloth jackets, trimmed with fur, and doubtless they will prove an irresistible attraction. Dress materials, new golf capes, opera mantles, wool and silk wraps, mackintoshes, &c., can also be seen here in abundant variety, enough to please the most fastidious. Lace curtains, art muslins, eiderdowns, &c., are also shown, while the dress and mantlemaking departments are prepared for all orders that may be entrusted to them. Endless are the materials of all varieties shown by Messrs. Barrowclough Bros., family drapers and silk merchants, Kirkgate Buildings, and as every department is replete with the latest designs and novelties, ladies are invited to view for themselves the result of the efforts made, the proprietors being sanguine enough to believe that everyone accepting the invitation will be more than satisfied both at the result, and with any purchases they may make. Messrs. Hilditch and Field make a good display all the year round, but they are surpassing themselves for Christmas. Many novelties in useful and ornamental articles can here be seen, while for the present and next month purchasers can have them packed in boxes, cases, and fancy hampers, free of charge. This ought to prove a great attraction to those desirous of making some useful presents for young men, for whose numerous wants in their particular line Messrs. Hilditch and Field efficiently cater.

Only to enter the well-stocked shop of Mr. E.W. Coates, in Station Street, is to find one’s self face to face with a huge catalogue of wants almost as extensive as the articles to be seen. And yet the display made here in leather goods and brass work is one that no one ought to miss. Without seeing it is almost impossible to believe the many and various ways in which leather and brass can be used for the purpose of making both ornamental and useful articles. Everyone of these dainty and beautiful articles are eminently suitable for presents, and from the small but pretty purse to the elaborately fitted and beautiful dressing case fortunate indeed will be the recipients of any articles from this choice collection. While the numerous and excellent articles in brass and leather work form the strong point of the stock, there are also to be found all the latest annuals, an abundant and varied choice in gift books, and all the standard works in the best editions and the finest bindings. No one who seeks amidst this extensive and varied choice for a Christmas or New Year’s present can fail in the search, for whoever the present may be designed for, something suitable is sure to be found, and satisfaction given. Christmas cards can also be found here in great abundance and of all kinds, from the most reasonable (which are also pretty and good specimens of their kind) to those of a more expensive kind. Altogether a visit is well worth while if only to see what beautiful things our modern workers can produce, but few who venture in will be able to resist the temptations to be found on all sides. Mr. Longley, of John William Street, announces a choice display of Christmas cards, and makes a speciality of the now popular and very generally adopted “private” Christmas cards. If anyone desires to celebrate Christmas by having their photograph taken in the most approved style, they will do well not to forget Mr. John Edward Shaw, of Burlington House. An inspection of the shop of A. Marshall, gilder and picture dealer, 56, New Street, will disclose a variety of etchings, water colour drawings, oil paintings, and artists’ requisites particularly suitable for presentation at this season.

To those who can afford it, the establishments of Messrs. B. Mallinson and Co., 24, New Street, Messrs. Pearce and Sons, 4, New Street, and Messrs. Fillans and Sons, Market Walk, present almost irresistible attractions. Nothing is more desired at Christmas and the New Year than a present of jewellery, and the jeweller’s art is like others so advanced, that the presents are shown in such variety and such beauty as almost to tempt those who cannot well afford to purchase, to stretch their purses for once and endeavour to do so. The many forms in which jewellery can be worked up, have to be seen to be appreciated, and there can be no doubt that amongst the numerous claimants for public favour at such a time the jewellers, and particularly the three firms we have mentioned, are not likely to be left without a large amount of support.