Huddersfield Chronicle (23/Dec/1886) - 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.


If no other signs of the Christmas season were visible, the appearances of our shops would tell any casual observer of the arrival of a period when more than usual efforts are pat forth to attract customers. These, however, are not the only signs. In the early part of the week it seemed more than probable that we were to enjoy what is generally known as an “old fashioned Christmas,” in the matter of weather. Snow and frost held possession of the land, and what meant short commons and hard times for the outdoor labourers, were the harvest times for skate manufacturers, and a period when healthy and invigorating exercise was possible to all who possess robust health.

A sudden change has come over the scene, and a cold raw atmosphere has given place to the crisp frosty air.

The preparations for tea meetings, family gatherings, and social festivities of all kinds are infallible signs of Christmastide. All around us, in fact, point to the great carnival of the year, and on all hands we find people giving themselves up to the enjoyments of the season. If, as we only too well are assured, every home is not in that state of preparedness that we could wish, still, it is a matter for rejoicing that at such a period the purse strings ate unloosed, and many a home, otherwise not of the brightest, is made more pleasant at Christmas time. With the social habits of Englishmen, Christmas is made much of in the homes of the people, and this year the holidays will fall so well as to permit of many family reunions that would be impossible under less felicitous circumstances. No business worth the name will be done from Friday night till Tuesday morning, and the interval will allow of many family gatherings and much pleasant social intercourse. Christmas numbers also of all varieties, and of varying degrees of excellence, assure us of the nearness of the season of “peace and goodwill to men.” But above all, even more than the conversation beard on all sides, the good wishes expressed for a happy season and the reciprocal desires of a merry one for the good wisher — even more than these do the particularly tempting appearances of almost all the shops show that Christmas at length Is at hand again. A slight examination of the profusion of good things provided so plentifully in all quarters would seem to show that in Huddersfield at least there should be no lack of anything during the festive season. Turn which way one will, it is but the avoiding of one temptation to run into another. Attractive as the Huddersfield shops always are, great and successful efforts have been made to improve their general appearance and render them still more enticing to the townsfolk and to the visitors, who at such a time find much to draw them townwards. Bewildering as is the variety of choice presented to the Christmas purchaser, there are but few who can escape the task altogether, and to the many the variety imparts a little joyous excitement to the purchases they feel compelled to make.

There are few people in health in the immediate neighbourhood who will not think it worth their while, especially when they remember his efforts in past years, to see the display made by Mr John Henry Wood. Possessing a capital frontage for showing off the many varieties of articles in which he deals, Mr Wood takes every advantage this gives him, and this year presents such a splendid show as to eclipse all previous endeavours in the same direction. In the same manner as he did last year Mr Wood is affording those town-bred people who have never had the opportunity of seeing a live deer the chance now, and the pretty timid animal receives more attention than seems to please it. The quantity is immense, and it looks as if Mr Wood had laid all parts of the country under contribution (no doubt he has most of them) in collecting such a large and fine stock of those articles which are so very popular in all ranks at Christmas time. Mr Alfred Wood, of Market Walk, is not behind in his efforts to maintain the popularity of his establishment, and shows his customers a great variety of feather, fish, &c., such as should please all tastes. The display of Mr Rowland Wood, of 31, Market Hall, is most effective, embracing as it does a great variety together with large quantities.

The ladies will be greatly interested in the numerous and beautiful displays made for their especial benefit. Messrs Thomas Denham and Son, of John William Street, have an immense variety of useful and pretty things suitable for Christmas presents, in addition to which they display more expensive and beautiful articles. Furs of all kinds, household requirements, articles of ladies’ end children’s attire are shown in profusion, and such as to make choice a matter of great difficulty. Messrs R. Worthy and Co., 31, King Street, have an immense stock of new goods, the mere recounting of which would constitute a very lengthy catalogue. Ladles may fell assured that all tastes will here be suited. An excellent display is made by Mr Thomas Kaye, 81, King Street, his stock being both large and varied. Mr Edward Dyson, 27, New Street, has a fine collection of winter novelties, including goods suitable for all classes. Christmas presents in all varieties are to be found at Mr George Hall’s, 30. King Street, and his large stock is displayed to the very best advantage. Mr James Armitage, 8, John Wllllam Street, makes an effective and attractive display, such a one indeed as many purchasers must indeed be willing to linger over. A great attraction to all ladies moat be the establishment of Miss Salie, Lion Arcade, St, George’s Square, where a large and choice selection is offered. At Mr Henry Calverley’s, 42, New Street, is to be found a large assortment of new goods, a large number of which are very suitable for Christmas presents. The windows of Messrs Hilditch and Garner always show that great care it displayed upon their setting out, but on this occasion they have surpassed all previous efforts, and their fine stock of useful novelties only need to be seen to be appreciated. Messrs Senior and Yardley have a choice collection of carpets and many other household requisites, which they display to the best advantage. The show of new fancy goods by Miss M.E. Atkinson include large numbers of useful and ornamental articles, many of which must prove an almost irresistible attraction at such a season. Mr Joel Haigh, 14, Westgate, makes a very effective display of most useful goods. Miss Jubb, 35, New North Road, calls attention to her outfitting rooms and large stock of material on hand. In connection with the forthcoming fancy dress ball Mr Simmons, at Mr J.B. Littlewood’s, 39, New Street, is making a very large display of fancy costumes; as is also Messrs John Simmons and Sons at Mr Osborne’s, Byram Arcade, Westgate; while, as being relevant to the same event, Mr George Barlow calls attention to his large stock of wigs, and Mr Allred Jubb to his book of fancy costumes.

To many people the attractions presented by the windows of the jewellers’ shops are too great on ordinary occasions to enable them to resist just a passing glance. Now is the time for more than that, for thorough and complete examination, and those who do so will find themselves amply repaid by seeing the many beautiful things presented to their notice. For presents, perhaps, no article is more acceptable than jewellery, and for those who wish to spend money in this direction Messrs Pearce and Sons, New Street, Mr W. Lockwood, 3, Devonshire Buildings, Victoria Lane, and Wakefield Road, Moldgreen, and Messrs Fillans and Sons, Market Walk, afford every possible facility. The stock of novelties in the shop of Messrs Pearce Is a large one, and people must be very fastidious indeed whose taste cannot be satisfied with some one or other of the pretty articles here shown. Messrs Fillans point out the suitability of many of the articles in their shop tor Christmas and New Year’s presents, and with very good reason, for any buyer once enticed into the premises can scarcely leave without being a purchaser, so many are the temptations by which he is surrounded. Mr Lockwood proudly points to many of his specialities, and courts all Investigation as to quality and price.

There is no danger of the claims of music being overlooked at inch a time. Messrs Wood and Marshall are not the firm to let themselves or their wares be forgotten, and music and musical instruments are so plentiful with them that they are ready to supply even more than the large demands they expect to be made upon them. Mr Joshua Marshall, too, in his new premises and with his large stock, assures the people that at his establishment all their wants In the musical line may be satisfied. Messrs J. Moore and Co., of Buxton Road, point to their old-established business as the one which should secure a large share of patronage, for they have stood the test of time, and are still able to keep up with younger generations of tradesmen.

In spite of the advances of temperance there are still a great many people who require a stronger stimulus than water to keep up the character of “merry” Christmas. To such people Messrs Bentley and Shaw, of Lockwood Brewery, and 35, John William Street, offer a varied choice, and having made special preparations for the Christmas season are able to supply even the large demands they expect to be made upon their resources. Messrs Wigney and Co., 17, John William Street, are also to the fore with a large stock, and Mr Abraham Spivey, 45 and 47, King Street, Mr William Smith, of Folly Hall, Messrs Walter Hirst and Sons, Mr W.H. Neaverson, New Inn, King Street, and Mr Thomas Shaw, Saddle Hotel, Lindley, have each wines and spirits in abundance which all of them can confidently recommend to “classes” and “masses” alike.

Those in want of Christmas presents might do worse than call at the shop of Mr Alfred Jubb, Station Street, whose well-stocked premises present a great attraction to the book lover. In Christmas cards and the numerous fancy articles of elegant stationery Mr Jubb makes a great display; Mr W.H. Cook, 31, John William Street, and Mr Longley, 21, John William Street, make most effective shows, the former displaying a large quantity of beautiful fancy articles, and the latter being stronger In annuals, diaries, &c,, for which there should be a brisk demand.

Tea and traits are always in large request at Christmas time, and Messrs Jackson and Fitton, of 1, Market Place, are fully competent to deal with all orders of the kind which may be placed in their hands. A speciality is made of tea, which la packed up in all quantities, and few Christmas presents could be more welcome to many people than one of these packages. Messrs Graham Brothers, of 65, New Street, in view of the heavy calls made upon them at this season for provisions of all sorts, announce reductions in price, trusting to recoup themselves by a largely-increased sale. Messrs. Joseph Carr Stead and Co., 14, King Street, draw attention to their large supplies of teas at prices to suit all classes of the people, and which they express perfect confidence in recommending to the public.

Christmas without pork would not be worthy of the name — at least not in the estimation of Mr C.C.L. Bernin, of Cross Church Street. Extra exertions have enabled him to make an enormous show of pork, pork pies, sausages, hams, bacon, &c., such as would almost lead one to imagine that the pig tribe, after having suffered such an execution in their ranks, were well on the way for being exterminated in this country. But in spite of the quantity shown this is not the case, and Mr Bernin hopes to make the slaughter even greater next year. Those who do not want to miss one of the sights of the Christmas season will not fail to pay a visit to the shop of Mr George Battye, of Market Walk. The animals whose carcases he is offering for sale have belonged rather to the “classes” (as will be seen by the display of cards and cups which the pigs, when in life, won at various shows), but are now made food for the “masses,” who will no doubt highly appreciate the aristocratic relish thus given to their meals. Quantity and quality are equally conspicuous, at this shop, and the display tends to draw so many people as to crowd Market Walk even more than is usually the case. The display of beef made by Mr George Kay, 23, Market Hall, is well worth seeing, additional interest being attached to it from the fact that one of the oxen shown was fed on Her Majesty's home farm at Windsor. Surely Her Majesty’s lieges who partake of portions of it for their Christmas dinner will be able to judge of the abilities of their Sovereign in growing meat which has been already pointed out to farmers as one profitable sources of revenue, even in these days of foreign competition.

In the opinion of the Singer Manufacturing Company one of their machines is a very suitable present for any householder who lacks what has almost become a domestic requirement — a sewing machine. Those who have tested their utility most certainly think them almost absolutely necessary adjuncts to a home. Mr Neaverson is showing a large quantity of glass, china, &c., at 1a, Queen Street, and people must be difficult to please indeed if something could not here be found to suit their taste and their pocket. At A. Marshall's, 56, New Street, artistic requirements of all kinds can be met, and that right speedily. Messrs Colley and Sons, clothiers, Cross Church Street, think the people might do worse than spend some of their money in clothing at each a time, and therefore put in a claim for consideration.

For those who wish to leave the town and spend a brief season away from its activity, or only to hurry to another scene of the like nature as Huddersfield can show, the railway companies afford great facilities, of which it may be supposed many will avail themselves. On all sides in our town the signs point to a happy and pleasant Christmas, which we sincerely hope may be the lot of every one