92. Christmas Special – Part 1

Friday, February 1st, 2019

‘Scrooge followed to the window: desperate in his curiosity. He looked out’   (Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (1843))

 

Welcome to Histories of the Unexpected where you will discover the history of things you did not know even had a history, like the history of the follower or the history of the fart.

 

For this episode let us join the Time Lord himself, Professor James Daybell, and the Ebenezer Scrooge of Christmas past, Dr. Sam Willis, as they, with good cheer and merriments abound, adorn the fairy lights and tinsel upon the Unexpected History of Christmas, part one.

Follow our two ruddy cheeked carol singers, as they go door to door, from Sir Christemas and folk traditions to wassailing and sea shanty’s, from the changing patterns of celebration over the past centuries and the increasing commercialisation of Christmas to the different types of Yule logs and festive rituals, from rousing cheers and roaring fires to sharing cider cups, and from Georgian sash windows to Victorian child labourers.

With more than figgy pudding and good tidings on their minds, Sam and James discover that this unexpected history is actually all about; tradition and community, family and children, ritual and change, visibility and voyeurism, privation and contrasts.

Today’s questions to ponder: would Edison cover his house in lights? And what’s worse, shampoo in the eye or a splinter in your finger?

 

‘And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!’ (Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (1843))

Temple Street, Swansea – nineteenth century street scene.

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