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, Good Wishes and Glad Tidings: Christmas Cards through the Years

In November the Hull History Centre is hoping to put 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.

But, it is your help we need!

Please think about whether you have any examples of Christmas cards at home that are not mass produced and could potentially be of historical interest.

For example;

  • In the 1870s cards with a black background were in vogue.
  • In the 1880s single and double folded cards with silk fringes round the edges appeared.
  • Comic and trick cards such as two faces appearing in different moods depending on the way the card was turned or cards that contain a hidden picture if you look at it long enough or sideways on.
  • Embroidered cards.
  • Oddly shaped cards
  • Cards with embossed brightly colored celluloid covers.
  • Cards sent or received during the First World War. Whilst large quantities were printed, they are scarcely found today because of the paper salvage drive of 1914-1918.
  • Cards sent by Prisoners of War.
  • Greetings from British Regiments.
  • Christmas cards commissioned by Hull businesses.
  • Christmas cards with a famous Hull-based connection.

We would love to hear from you - call (01482 317500) or email ( us in the first instance if you have anything that could be of interest to us. It would be really great if your card has a story to tell. You would have to agree to us potentially using it in our exhibition.

Afterwards, you could choose to have the original returned to you or to deposit it with us within an archive collection specifically created for this project. We would, of course, look after it well and preserve it for future generations to enjoy and discuss.