Reflections of Christmas time in the 1920s, taken from ‘Collyhurst Then’ compiled by Mary Turner.

‘Going back to family reunions, every Christmas Day all our relations used to go to Aunt Jennie’s and it was there we met up with all our cousins, my dad used to get dressed up as Father Christmas and, aided by his brothers, used to go out and give away parcels which were bought from Wiles in Lewis’s Arcade; shilling parcels, they were known as, and contained a little toy-perhaps they only toy some of the children would be getting.’

Excerpt from John Tomlinson

Lewis's shop front in 1909

 Lewis’s shop front in 1909, image courtesy of Manchester Local Image Collection, M75558

‘Talking of Woolworths, at Christmas I had the privilege of going with mother (walking two and half miles there and back) to Woolworths to buy the rest of the children their presents- at least (or most) sixpence for each child. Also at Christmas I was able top go to Wood Street, the City Mission, for a party given to regular attenders at the local branch of the City Mission.’

Excerpt from Mary Snowden

Father Christmas with the children at Wood Street Mission.
Father Christmas with children at Wood Street Mission,
image courtesy of woodstreetmission.org.uk 

On winter nights if there were any Corporation workmen in the area we would sit with the watchman, or the ‘ockey’, in his little hut, a hot coke fire burning a bright red in the crisp night air, and get some free scrapings from the chip shop. Scrapings were bits of fried batter from the fish.

Excerpt from Beulah Ellison

Fish and Chip shop on the corner of Roseberry Street

Fish and Chip shop on the corner of Rosebery Street, image courtesy of Manchester Local Image Collection, M32735.

Childhood memories of Chrismas come easily to mind. My mother planned and saved many months to make it special, in spite of the hardships the Depression had brought. My sister and myself were given
small jobs to do; making butterflies out of coloured crepe paper and tinsel, which my mother attached to the parlour curtains. Holly was placed behind mirrors and picture frames, and a bunch of mistletoe hung above the door. The same tree was brought out of it’s wrapping every year and the odd broken brightly coloured bauble replaced. Not having the luxury of electric light in the house, we used small tin trays that clipped onto the tree, each with a small candle in it. It was sheer delight to watch my mother light each one, whilst we waited in the darkened room.

From ‘Collyhurst Recollections-a second collection of memories by the ‘Now and Then’ group

Excerpt by Monica Drury

Fish and Chip shop on the corner of Roseberry StreetChristmas tree in Albert Square, image courtesy of Manchester Local Images, M62001.

 Researched by Joan Ball.