Tonight At 6pm: GCA, The Stationers’ Company And The National Archives Talk Christmas

Instigated by The Stationers’ Company, the GCA’s ceo Amanda Fergusson is joining forces with Katherine Howells, visual collections researcher at The National Archives to give an enlightening and enjoyable presentation to champion our UK Christmas card traditions.

Entitled Cards, Crackers and a Stationers’ Christmas – The Victorian (re)invention of Christmas, the hour and a quarter webinar (6pm-7.15pm) will be hosted online (via Zoom) by The Stationers’ Company (the historic City of London livery company for the communications and content industries) tonight (December 1) for its members as well as for those in the greeting card sector wanting to get into the Christmas spirit and learn more about the wonderful traditions which our industry is perpetuating.

Above: A drawing of four illuminated Christmas cards by T Sulman dating back to 1871.
Above: A drawing of four illuminated Christmas cards by T Sulman dating back to 1871.

The presentation will explain that while some festive customs have ancient origins, most of the traditions we associate with Christmas today were created by the Victorians. The 19th century saw the introduction of the Christmas tree, the Christmas card and the Christmas cracker, and also witnessed the birth of modern Christmas consumerism.
Using the wonderful images registered from 1842 to 1912 with the Stationers’ Company, visual collections researcher at The National Archives, Katherine Howells, will show how some of our most treasured Christmas traditions developed in the Victorian era. The talk will be illustrated with many fascinating visual records from the Stationers’ Company Registers (Entry Books of Copies) are held at The National Archives.

Above: Tom Smith Telephone Crackers from 1878.
Above: Tom Smith Telephone Crackers from 1878.

Dr Ruth Frendo, the company archivist will set the scene and explain how these records and images left the Company and were transferred. It is a story of the emergence of copyright with the former “registration” being given a statutory basis in the Copyright Act 1911.

Amanda Fergusson, ceo of the GCA will add her perspective with a contemporary view of how our members manage and respond to Christmas over 150 years on.

Above: Sir Henry Cole, the inventor of the first commercial Christmas card will feature, with his legacy of course living on as the namesake of The Henries. The Best Christmas Box or Pack 2021 award went to The Art File for its Luxury Boxes.
Above: Sir Henry Cole, the inventor of the first commercial Christmas card will feature, with his legacy of course living on as the namesake of The Henries. The Best Christmas Box or Pack 2021 award went to The Art File for its Luxury Boxes.

To register for the webinar click here.

While the presentation is free, the Stationers’ Hall asks viewers to consider making a donation to its charity by copying this link – rb.gy/hd5ji2

Top: A selection of Christmas cards from The National Archives.

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