Great expectations as museum becomes the host of Christmas past
It’s just the type of picture perfect Dickensian scene that’s an annual festive fixture on countless Christmas cards.
And this week, visitors to Abbey House Museum will get the chance to follow in the footsteps of characters from A Christmas Carol as they step back in time and visit the city’s very own Victorian Christmas past.
The museum’s beautiful streets and their authentic shops have been decked out with traditional decorations as the historic attraction hosts a series of family-friendly events over the holidays.
Visitors on December 11 will also get the chance to handle a series of artefacts from the Leeds Museums and Galleries collection which have been part of Christmases in the city stretching back over a century.
Among the objects from the collection will be an impressive Victorian Christmas pudding mould that was once used to craft the perfect pud.
It was during the reign of Queen Victoria that the cannonball of flour, fruits, suet, sugar and spices, was first dubbed a Christmas pudding in cook Eliza Acton’s bestselling 1845 book Modern Cookery for Private Families.
Also at the museum will be a Christmas club savers card from Henry Thorne’s, a Leeds-born confectionery company which grew from a humble mustard and chicory shop in the 1830s to producing mroe than two million pieces of confectionery a day in the 1960s- including the famous Thorne’s Super Crème Toffee.
Visitors will also get the chance to see how Christmas cards have changed over the decades, and to look at traditional decorations including 1930s Christmas lights and a set of Woolworth Christmas baubles.
Nicola Pullan, Leeds Museums and Galleries’ assistant curator of social history, said: “The idea of Christmas in the Victorian era conjures up so many powerful images of traditional streets and colourful decorations and it’s great that we’re able to bring those images to life for visitors over the festive season.
“Giving them a chance to handle objects from the past also helps to build a genuine, tangible connection to the people and places of that time and to experience a little piece of what Christmas has been like for people in Leeds through the ages.”
Christmas events take place at Abbey House all through the holidays including the chance to visit Father Christmas, listen to carols and dress up.
The object handling session takes place on Wednesday, December 11 from 2.45pm until 4.15pm.
For more details on Abbey House including opening times and admission, please visit: https://museumsandgalleries.leeds.gov.uk/abbey-house-museum/