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This is a backup copy of the West Yorkshire Archive Service's "Off the Record" wiki from 2015. The live went offline in 2016 and is currently unavailable. Editing and account creation are disabled.

The following source list was originally available only on paper in one of the West Yorkshire Archive Service offices. It may have been compiled many years ago and could be out of date. It was designed to act as a signpost to records of interest on a particular historical subject, but may relate only to one West Yorkshire district, or be an incomplete list of sources available. Please feel free to add or update with any additional information.

WYAS Wakefield

Workhouse Christmas celebrations in Hemsworth are recorded in the minutes of Hemsworth Board of Guardians for 1861 (p.210) and 1927.

C596 Christmas cards c1900
C607 Anagram cards
WDP37/112 Scrapbook including Christmas pictures, from Batley
C235/2/1 Programme and account of Clayton hospital charity ball 1835/1836
C101/96 Dance programme covers

WYAS Bradford

Christmas food and recipes at WYAS Bradford

WYAS Bradford holds material relating to Christmas food and recipes. Items range from a recipe book written in 1736 to Christmas lists produced by local grocery shops.

J F Rhodes and Sons, family grocers, were established in the mid 19th century. The Bradford shop was initially situated on Kirkgate, then on Darley Street and then at Rawson Place. At Christmas, J F Rhodes and Sons produced a list of food for the festive season and WYAS Bradford holds some of these lists from 1896 -1935 (DB39/C33/15). The lists include dessert fruits, fruits for cooking, preserved meat in glasses and tins, chocolates and sweets, table jellies, plum puddings at 1s 1d each to 2s 3d each, prize cheeses, wines, spirits and liqueurs, prime Cumberland and Yorkshire hams ‘suitable for Christmas presents,’ and cosaques (a French term for what we would call crackers). The types of crackers available to buy included Clown Box Surprise crackers, Japanese crackers, Parlour Fireworks crackers, Found in a Taxi crackers and Hats, Caps and Bonnets crackers. The prices ranged from 6d per dozen to 3s 3d per dozen for the Little Sweethearts box.

Rhodes and Sons attempted to help the busy Christmas shopper whenever they could. In the 1933 Christmas list the grocers state that they will be holding a special ‘Demonstration of Fancy Tins of Biscuits which we are sure will help you to solve that “present” problem.’ An innovation introduced in 1931 was the ‘emergency service’ which was an automatic machine situated outside the Darley Street store from which a large variety of groceries could be obtained after closing hours. To allay any fears the customer might have had purchasing from the automatic machine, Rhodes and Sons state that ‘these goods are placed in the compartments at the last possible moment and are guaranteed in perfect condition.’

A snapshot of earlier Christmas fare is provided by a recipe book hand written by Mrs Abercomy in 1736 (DB39/C29/1). The book includes recipes for ‘goose pey’, ‘turkey pey’ and ‘minched peys.’ Mrs Abercomy’s mince pie recipe contains beef as well as raisins and currents and spices; spiced meat was included in the recipe for mince(meat) pies up to the Victorian era. If you’ve overdone it with all of the Christmas pies on offer, a Christmas song in the Spencer Stanhope collection is fitting. It starts with the lines: ‘How dry am I/With eating a pie/This Christmas cheer/requires much beer.

WYAS Kirklees

KC753 – Christmas card sent to Hannah Briggs of Birstall

This Christmas card was sent during the war years to Hannah Briggs of Birstall. It has an illustration of a wartime Christmas theme, complete with holly, lanterns and Christmas decorations, surrounding a scene showing a couple returning home by torchlight, and has reference to the blackout in the wording on the front.

The Collection KC753 consists of 15 boxes of papers relating to Hannah Briggs [Nee Heaton] 1865 – 1995. The collection includes: correspondence, diaries, financial papers, school exercise books, genealogical papers, papers re cookery, gardening and handicrafts, notebooks; Batley Grammar School, magazines; Batley Girls Grammar School, magazines; records re Grove Congregational Church, Gomersal