Huddersfield Chronicle (22/Dec/1880) - Christmas Cheer at 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.


The old truism that “Coming events cast their shadows before them,” applies to nothing more forcibly than the approach of Christmas. A sufficiently tangible foreshadowing of the season is no doubt to be seen in the white covering on the hills, in the sloppiness of the most frequented streets, and in the glassy and treacherous surface of those less used, down which urchins of all ages slide with irritating abandon, whilst their elders, with supreme rigidity, and an utterly ludicrous maintenance of “poker backs,” seek to tread the slippery surface without losing by a fall the dignity of standing on two legs, which is inherent in all grown-up manhood and womanhood. But a more forcible foreshadowing still of the near approach of the festivities which characterise home life at Christmastide is to be found in the shops and markets. Fat bullocks and sheep, bereft of their skins, beribboned and bedecked with holly, are hung out in all their pristive attractiveness from the butchers’ windows. Giant pigs repose in all the serenity of greasy contentment, along with sausages and pies under the care of dealers in pork. The poulterers cover the shop fronts with yards upon yards of innocent ducks, geese, and turkeys, while hares and rabbits repose, with their innocent toes turned up, in blissful ignorance of the blessings which a benificent legislature has only this session tried to shower upon them. The grocer’s shops are full of the most attractive arrangements of dried fruit and other essentials for the proper flavouring of the time honoured though heavy Christmas pudding. The fruiterers’ stalls groan with golden oranges and crimson-tinted apples, which look in their ruddy rotundity as if they were the vegetable incarnation of cheerfulness; and in the last place — although a prolific pen might cover a great deal more ground yet — there are the stationers, with counters overflowing with those pretty and artistic messages of love and affection, which the geniuses of the Delarue’s and Marcus Ward’s have furnished with such amazing cheapness, and in such apparently overwhelming numbers.

All these signs of the times have not come at once. Like the stars when the sun has set, they show their light one by one. The illustrated papers, with their beautiful pictures, was the first star of the evening, and the Christmas cards came out in a duster soon after, but the great blaze of beauty did not appear till Tuesday. Let us take up our Chronicle, and look round at the invitations given therein. In point of imposing display, Mr. John Henry Wood is the first to attract attention. “See the show,” he says, “and judge for yourselves?” The big scaffolding put up in front of his premises in Victoria Street, and round the corner too, groans with line upon line of poultry and game. Bows of four-legged animals, from the partrican deer down to the humble “bunny,” lie side by side with geese in nightcaps, turkeys who even in death have not been deprived of their tails, ducks, capons, chickens, pheasants, partridges, wild fowl and a host of other things, until the wonder is how people will be ever got to eat them. At Mr. J. Armitages, Station Street, we find some of these things already cooked. Turkey and tongue, chicken and tongue, and boiled rabbit in tins lie in attractive competition with cheeses of unpronouncable names, with bacon from Wiltshire, Yorkshire and Ireland, and with that delicate and satisfying luxury — real Scotch oatmeal. Table fruit and other preserved delicacies are to be found at Mr. W. Hoskin’s, Devonshire Buildings; or if pastry, “celebrated sausages,” or “real original pork pies” are in request they can be obtained at S.E. Vickers and Co., 50, New Street. But great as is the demand for solids, we must not look over the claims of liquids. For the teetotallers we find yeodone recommended as a “sparkling effervescing tonic, life-restorer,” and they will stand in need of an alternative to the tea, coffee, and cocoa after the revelations of the Oldham borough analyst. We must warn abstainers off the next paragraph, because it will only find favour in the eyes of those who prefer something upon which they can “get a little forrader,” as Mr. Gough would say. In the advertisers of wine, spirits, and beer, we have quite an embarras de richesses. There are Messrs. Bentley and Shaw now ready for the delivery of their October brewings of bitter beer, and who have also some choice old wines and spirits wherewith to gladden the heart of man; Messrs. Seth Senior and Sons, whose offices are at Lockwood’s Yard, off New Street; Mr. Abraham Spivey, whose new offices are at 45, King Street; Messrs. W. Smith and Son, of Rhodes’s Yard, King Street; Messrs. Walter Hirst and Son, of 53 and 55, King Street, whose business is getting near its 80th birthday; and Mr. George Rhodes, of the Zetland Hotel. Then, in the matter of Christmas cards and Christmas presents generally, we can find them at Mr. A. Marshall’s 68, Buxton Road; at Mr. Alfred Jubb’s, the Estate Buildings; at Mr. William Henry Cooks, 31, John William Street. For presents of a costlier sort, such as jewellery and the new goods in plush, no larger variety will be found than at Messrs. Pearce and Co.’s, New Street, and Mr. William Fillans’s establishment in Market Walk; and Messrs. Lewis and Dale, 2, Devonshire Buildings, will be found places for good investments by those who wish for an opportunity of buying at cost price; whilst real hand-painted cards, just arrived from Paris, are to be had at 27, Buxton Road. Visitors to Huddersfield, who come just to look at the beauties of the town, will find a convenient place of refreshment at Vickers’ Restaurant, in the Market Walk; and those who wish for a change from indoor games will find wholesome amusement at Pinders’ Circus, or in visiting Wombwell’s Menagerie. We have said enough, we hope, to show our readers that the materials are ready to hand for spending what with Christian charity everybody will wish everybody else — “A Merry Christmas.”