Broadside: Christmas Gambols
This broadside offers a clue as to the nature of domestic Christmas celebrations in this period. Christmas Gambols, and Twelfth Night’s Amusements is a mix of seasonal songs, illustrations of characters and games (such as blind man’s buff), and historical nuggets. It was evidently aimed at the middle classes, especially with the relatively expensive price of two pence. Broadsides were large-format single-sheet publications, hurriedly and cheaply printed, and sold on the streets usually for a penny or halfpenny.
Christmas Gambols was produced in 1823 by one of the most successful mass-market publishers, James Catnach (1792–1841) of Seven Dials, London, who became wealthy using only his father’s old wooden presses in the family home.
- Article by:
- Ruth Richardson
- Reading and print culture, Popular culture
From public notes and broadsides to catchpennies and printed songs, Dr Ruth Richardson examines the variety of street literature which informed and entertained the public before newspapers were readily available.
- Article by:
- Judith Flanders
- The middle classes, Popular culture
Judith Flanders describes how many of our own Christmas traditions – from trees and crackers to cards and carols – have their origins in 19th-century industrial and commercial interests.