Picture a very vintage Christmas

Let’s look back to Christmas in the 1950s, a time without iPads, smart phones and other gadgets.  When only half of the population own a television, car or home telephone.  That isn’t to say that Christmas was dull in decades gone by, some even might say that it was better back then!

Here are some of our favourite recently uncovered photos from the George Street Photography Collection showing festive traditions in St Helens.

The Nativity Play

As is still common today, schools will often perform a nativity play to celebrate Christmas.  The below images are from St Josephs and Parr Mount School in the 1950s.

Carol Singing

Singing christmas songs is perhaps one of our longest standing Christmas traditions, as the first known Christmas hymns can be traced to 4th century Rome!  The publication of Christmas music books in 19th century United Kingdom quickly grew the appeal of carols, and it is still a popular tradition today.

The image below shows nurses in St Helens Hospital in the 1950s.  The nurses would visiting different wards to sing Christmas carols and spread festive cheer.


Singing nurses in St Helens Hospital

A Royal Christmas Message

Queen Elizabeth gave her first televised Christmas speech in 1957 from the Long Library in Sandringham House, starting a new tradition for families to sit down together on Christmas day to watch the Queen’s speech.  In the speech that year, the Queen noted the milestone and the advance of technology that allowed her message to be viewed in her subjects’ homes.


A television set in a St Helens home, 1950s

Party Time!

Of course, children (as well as adults) love a good party!  The below images are all from 1956 and show a children’s Christmas party at Fibreglass Ltd. (let’s hope the igloo wasn’t too itchy!)

Oh Christmas Tree!

Although artificial Christmas trees were around, it was always more common to see a real one in the 1950s.  We can only imagine the colours of the baubles and tinsel on the tree shown in the photograph below!


Little girl with Christmas tree, St Helens, 1950s

What are your favourite Christmas traditions?  Comment below with your festive memories (or if you recognise anyone from the photographs).

Have a very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from the St Helens Through The Lens team!


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