Community History Music

Christmas 1900s style – what ho? not ‘alf!

The earliest known recordings of a family Christmas  have been discovered by the Museum of London – featuring the Wall family of New Southgate.

The 24 rare wax phonograph recordings dating from 1902 to 1917 were made by Cromwell Wall who on at least one occasion wheeled the phonograph in a child’s pram to record the Southgate Church bells.

Christmas was a rather more formal affair in those days. In one of the recordings, Cromwell thanks the inlaws for their hospitality

Dear Mr and Mrs Baker, I am very pleased we are able to gather once more at your Christmas party. All my little ones have enjoyed themselves very much and I also, as well as Minnie….

His brother in law makes a counter speech, hoping that they may gather again together for Christmas 2005. There are many cheers and “What ho – not ‘alfs!”

To read the full story and hear some of the recordings visit

Thanks to Matthew Eccleston for alerting us to this story.

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