Detail from illustration of Savile Street, 1844 by Edward Bannister featured on a Georgian Society Christmas card in 1960. (Courtesy Ferens Art Gallery: Hull Museums)

Greetings and Glad Tidings: Christmas Cards through the Years

The Hull History Centre is putting on an exhibition looking into the history of the Christmas card. There will be lots to see visually and we hope to get people talking about Christmas past as we approach the 2018 festive season.

Inspiration for this exhibition came from a desire to know whether or not Christmas cards, once an integral part of Christmas, have a future in the age that we now live, dominated by social media and digital information.

Christmas cards have undoubtedly seen a decline, especially amongst the younger generation. However, though they can be expensive to post and to buy there are still plenty of people who love to send and to receive them every year.

Many of the cards in the exhibition have been loaned to us or deposited with us as a result of an appeal through the local media. Others come from our own collections.

Changes over time

The exhibition focuses on how the design of Christmas cards has changed as well as the sentiments and language used in them. It has been amazing to find how individual cards often have a story behind them and evoke memories of a bygone time.

We hope you will come into the History Centre and look at the examples we have chosen to display, dating from 1868 to 2014. Through reading the text that accompanies some of the images, you will also find out useful things about our wider collections here at the Hull History Centre.

We are also carrying out a survey to help us to assess what the future of the Christmas card might be? Simply pick up a form, complete it and pop it in our Victorian pillar box. The results will be posted on our website in the New Year.