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Hampshire Archives and Local Studies

Document of the month

  • The custom of sending Christmas cards was begun in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole and has since become a mainstay of the festive period.  678.9 million Christmas cards were sent in the United Kingdom in 2010.  

    Hampshire Archives and Local Studies has an assortment of Christmas cards dating back to the mid-late 19th century.  Included in our collection are some beautiful hand-painted cards depicting flowers, butterflies, horses and Christmas messages.  There are also some wonderful original Christmas cards including a cat knitting next to a stocking with the message ‘Stock-in Greetings’.  The artwork for the card was created by Louis Wain, an English artist best known for his drawings of large eyed-cats and kittens with anthropomorphised features –perfectly displayed in this Christmas card.  Christmas cards have also been sent during more troubled times, such as the First World War.  Many of the Christmas cards are home-made with illustrations depicting life on the Front at Christmas.  

    Join us for a free children’s activity session where you can learn all about the history of Christmas cards and make your own. 19 December 2-4pm at Hampshire Record Office.  Suitable for children aged 3+

    Further information

  • Louis Wain’s cat Christmas card

    Caption: Louis Wain’s cat Christmas card 47M91W/Q5/1/4/6