Incredible black and white Christmas pictures from 1918 reveal how communities rallied together for the festive season 100-years-ago, just weeks after the end of the First World War
- Incredible images of Christmas in London 100-years-ago show how different December was a century ago
- Parties were held in posh hotels including The Savoy as American soldiers enjoyed British festivities
- Abandoned children and wounded soldiers were among those the community rallied around as free meals were provided and parties were put on just weeks after the end of the First World War
Just weeks after the war ended in 1918 families across Britain had their first fear-free Christmas as troops began to make their way back from Europe.
Eye-opening new images have provided a window into those festivities, 100 years ago, revealing how communities rallied together in the capital to celebrate the season of good will.
From parties with wounded soldiers to halls packed with poor children, free meals and festivities took place across the city for both native Londoners and American soldiers who remained in London.
The Savoy Hotel had a children’s party with Punch and Judy shows while ‘foundlings’ – abandoned children’ – came and danced in a special show.
The sense of post-war community seeps through the images, including one picture of the female volunteers at the Eagle Hut YMCA, Aldwych, helping soldiers to decorate a tree.
Aboard The SS Leviathan orphaned children were given toys, including dolls in high chairs and real Christmas trees were sold out of greengrocer’s stores.
Elsewhere money was raised through Christmas carols for charities small children were spotted buying mistletoe.
The sound of music: On December 22, a party was photographed singing old English, French and German Carols, to collect money for charity, in the hall at the residence of Sir Edgar Speyer in Grosvenor Square, London
On Christmas Eve children were spotted outside a greengrocer’s shop which was selling Christmas trees at the very last minute. The war ended on November 11 and troops were making their way back home to their waiting families who enjoyed the first Christmas without worry since 1914
A Christmas greeting card from a member of the Womens Auxiliary Army Corps designed by artist Morag Howard in France, 1918. It reads ‘Cheerio. All’s well.’
Inside the Palace Hotel: Children from a foundling home dance as guests of American officers. A foundling hospital was originally an institution for children who had been abandoned and left for the public to find and save
Christmas trees being delivered for the members of the American army staying at the Palace Hotel in London just weeks after the war ended in November 1918
Tables crowded with children at a Christmas party at the East London Mission for Children where poor youngsters were able to get a hot Christmas meal
Two young girls receive a doll in Laplander clothes from a man dressed as Santa Claus in London. Some children’s relatives were still overseas despite the war being over
World War One Christmas Day Menus for 93rd Field Ambulance stationed in Belgium, 1918. The party was advertisied to go for ‘umpteen hours’ and those invited were offered the chance to take part in fancy dress football
Children watch a Punch and Judy puppet show at a children’s Christmas party at the Savoy Hotel, London. A boy in the front row clutches a balloon from Hamley’s which opened in London in 1881
The balloons are advertising Hamley’s toy shop as the children’s Christmas party got into full swing at the Savoy Hotel which was opened in 1889
Christmas decorations being put up at the Eagle Hut, a YMCA centre in London for American servicemen. The establisment,at the bottom of Kingsway on the north side of Aldwych was established by four American businessmen based in London. The hut served around two million meals in the two years it operated and was run by mainly female volunteers
A young boy in a sailor’s outfit buys a Christmas tree at a greengrocer’s while a much young boy waits in a queue of children clutching mistletoe
Orphans receiving toys at a Christmas party given by the crew aboard The SS Leviathan. The ocean liner which regularly crossed the North Atlantic from 1914 to 1934. On her previous voyage to France, months earlier, the passengers were hit by Spanish flu. By the time she arrived at Brest on 8 October, 2,000 were sick, and 80 had died
Young girls dress in white lace and ballet pumps, teamed with white socks as they celebrate Christmas at the Savoy Hotel in London