Regular Remember When contributor Simon Hart says readers will be happy to learn that Christmas cards with Portsmouth connections appear in the famous and unique Queen Mary Collection.
These can be viewed in the Print Room at the British Museum and run into many albums.
Queen Mary (1867-1953) was the wife of George V and Simon, from Fareham, has created the image here of her on a cigarette card surrounded by holly and ivy.
He says: ‘In the album entitled King George V and Queen Mary Xmas cards 1917-1918 there is a card from HMS Vernon sending ‘hearty greetings’.
‘In a regimental cards album from 1949-1950, there is a card ‘To our Patron’ from the Royal Naval Club which included a unique illustration of Nelson wearing only foreign ribbons and decorations. These were unexpected discoveries as there is so little secondary source material about the collection. Perhaps the city museum or the city historians will one day take up their story,’ adds Simon.
The heyday of Christmas cards was the Victorian era and Simon includes an image of a card on which he had to pull a tab to open it up. ‘It was amazing that it still worked. When you pressed the robin’s breast on the other card a snap of birdsong was emitted which was a sound from the distant past.’
On another Christmas subject, Portsmouth-born Charles Dickens gave us this thoughtful quote: ‘Remembrance, like a candle, shines brightest at Christmastime.’
And Simon’s sent me a photograph of a pressed glass plate, probably for Christmas pudding, which was sold in Portsmouth many years ago.