The post of Christmas past

As I was getting our Christmas cards ready for the Wadhurst Arts & Crafts fair tomorrow, I was inspired to look online for a bit of Christmas postal history. Armed with a cup of tea I spent an enjoyable few minutes looking through Bath Postal Museum’s online collection.

The Museum’s website is a great resource for British postal history and among their digital collection, they have a small but diverse range of Christmas post. There are a variety of Airletters and Airgraphs from World War Two , which give a fascinating insight into Christmas at a very difficult time. Some examples are stylish, but restrained, reflecting the sober mood of the time. The Christmas Airgraph issued at the end of 1944 is a good example:

Bath Postal Museum

Bath postal museum


Others, particularly those sent by the troops, include humour and use designs we wouldn’t traditionally associate Christmas. I like the exotic palm trees of the 1943 Royal Air Force Middle East Airgraph:

Bath Postal Museum


And the runaway elephant that Santa is clinging to in the 1943 Ceylon Airgraph:

Bath Postal Museum

My personal favourite is an older one; this 1870 issue Postal Stationary Christmas Greetings Postcard:

Bath Postal Museum


Beautiful, don’t you think?

Before I go I should mention that I borrowed the title of this post from postalheritage.org who have an interesting collection of articles on the postal history of Christmas if you want some extra reading.

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