Find out how Christ­mas has been cel­e­brated over the cen­turies in The Gef­frye Mu­seum’s evoca­tive ex­hi­bi­tion, Christ­mas Past.

Step back in time and find out how Christ­mas has been cel­e­brated over the cen­turies. Sam Rogg feels fes­tive as she vis­its The Gef­frye Mu­seum to dis­cover the ori­gins of crack­ers, cards and kiss­ing un­der the mistle­toe

Where London - - Contents -

For mil­lions of peo­ple around the world, Christ­mas Day is a time to gather with friends and fam­ily at home, of­ten in a liv­ing room adorned with dec­o­ra­tions.

It’s a rit­ual that has re­mained the same for cen­turies in the UK while our houses, liv­ing rooms, dec­o­ra­tions and fes­tive tra­di­tions con­tinue to mod­ernise and evolve. This fes­tive sea­son, step back through time at

The Gef­frye Mu­seum and ex­pe­ri­ence how Christ­mas has been cel­e­brated over 400 years.

Set within beau­ti­ful 18th-cen­tury almshouse build­ings in fash­ion­able east Lon­don, this unique mu­seum houses a se­ries of pe­riod rooms, dec­o­rated and fur­nished in the style of dif­fer­ent eras, from 1600 to the present day.

For most of the year, these dis­plays rep­re­sent typ­i­cal English mid­dle-class liv­ing rooms through the ages, but as the fes­tive sea­son ap­proaches they take on a hol­i­day glow for Christ­masPast:400Year­sofSea­sonal Tra­di­tion­sinEnglishHomes (to 8 Jan). As you make your way around, bear in mind the type of home­own­ers who would have oc­cu­pied these rooms. In the 17th and 18th cen­turies, they would have been doc­tors, mer­chants, fi­nanciers and lawyers; by the 19th cen­tury, peo­ple work­ing in busi­ness and man­u­fac­tur­ing; and in the 20th cen­tury, peo­ple from a range of sec­tors, in­clud­ing fi­nance, ar­chi­tec­ture and the cre­ative in­dus­tries.

A small in­tro­duc­tion de­scribes a typ­i­cal town house of the time, in­clud­ing the type of fur­ni­ture and fur­nish­ings and the main changes in the style of English homes. Take a seat on a replica chair as you make your way through the 11 pe­riod rooms and trans­port your mind back to days gone by. Along the way, you’ll see au­then­tic fes­tive dec­o­ra­tions, light­ing and green­ery and hear tra­di­tional mu­sic from each pe­riod. Dis­cover the ori­gins and mean­ings of Christ­mas tra­di­tions such as feast­ing, danc­ing and kiss­ing un­der the mistle­toe.

In which year did we start hang­ing up stock­ings? When did we start send­ing Christ­mas cards to loved ones? What games did our an­ces­tors play? All these ques­tions and more are an­swered in this free ex­hi­bi­tion.

Look out for sub­tle changes in the dec­o­ra­tion of a tra­di­tional Christ­mas tree and get some retro in­spi­ra­tion for your cock­tail par­ties back home. Loved by Lon­don­ers and vis­i­tors to the cap­i­tal alike, this ex­hi­bi­tion will fill you with fes­tive cheer. For full list­ing, turn to p. 42

Clock­wise from this im­age: a draw­ing room from 1910; dec­o­ra­tions from 1935; a draw­ing room from 1830; a liv­ing room from 1930

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.