Christmas pudding given to Royal Navy sailors 120 years ago goes on display in Portsmouth

A CHRISTMAS pudding, given to Royal Navy sailors fighting in the Boer War more than a century ago, has gone on display in Portsmouth.

Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 4:53 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 7:12 pm
Victoria Ingles, senior curator at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, holds a 120-year-old Christmas pudding, which is thought to be the oldest in the world and is the last surviving Christmas pudding from a batch of 1,000 sent to naval personnel serving on the front during the Boer War. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

The 120-year-old traditional tinned treat, thought to be one of the oldest in the world and which was part of a batch of 1,000 sent to Royal Naval personnel fighting in southern Africa, is to be exhibited at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

A museum spokesman said: ‘The tinned pudding was discovered in the back of a cupboard at a family home in Poole in 2011.

‘It is thought to be the oldest Christmas pudding in the world.

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Victoria Ingles, senior curator at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, holds a 120-year-old Christmas pudding, which is thought to be the oldest in the world and is the last surviving Christmas pudding from a batch of 1,000 sent to naval personnel serving on the front during the Boer War. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

‘It is believed to be one of 1,000 puddings made by Peek, Frean & Co and sent to naval personnel involved in land-based operations in southern Africa during Christmas 1899.

‘The puddings were commissioned by Agnes 'Aggie' Weston, a philanthropist who became famous for her kindness to sailors during the Boer War, who went on to became the first woman to be given a full ceremonial Royal Navy funeral and whose charitable work towards sailors and their families continues to this day.’

Aggie’s is a Portsmouth-based charity that helps Royal Navy sailors.

The spokesman added: ‘Although it is highly unlikely the pudding would still be edible after 120 years, the decorative tin still features instructions for preparation.’

The tin displays the message: ‘For the Naval Brigade, In the Front, With Miss Weston's Best Christmas & New Year, 1900, Wishes.’