Friday, 11 December 2015

Festive cheer

As Christmas moves nearer, we can once again look to the Durham Advertiser from 24 December 1915, for guidance on revelry in the city both teetotal and of a more spirited variety (despite government restrictions).  

Crop from 34th Division's Christmas card, 1916 (D/DLI 12/5/3/2)
D/DLI 12/5/3/2 Crop from 34th Division's Christmas card, 1916
Despite the restrictions that seem to be pouring on the devoted heads of the licensed victuallers like a shower of shrapnel, the Trade still comes up smiling for Christmas, and, if we judge from the roaring trade our good friend Boniface [general term for landlord] is doing, it is a smile that will not soon wear off...

...Before enumerating their varied stocks of Christmas cheer, we ought perhaps to draw attention to a few of the restrictions imposed upon the Trade by the Liquor Control Board, and to point out how it affects the Christmas purchaser...orders must now be left at the shop or sent by letter, and as no credit is allowed, a remittance must accompany each order.  We might also point out that following the recent relaxation of the licensing restrictions during Christmas week, spirits may be purchased for consumption off the premises from 12 o'clock noon until 5.30pm and ale, stout, and wine from noon each day until 8pm.  These restrictions apply only strictly to Christmas week, from the 20th until the 24th.  

Sarsfield & Co. shop front, 7 Market Place, around 1900 (D/CL 27/277/308; Clayport Library reference 120A; Durham Record no. DR 02238)
D/CL 27/277/308 Sarsfield & Co. shop front, 7 Market Place, around 1900
There is such an outcry nowadays about the drink evil that one is glad to turn to a good teetotal beverage, and we can strongly recommend a good drink of Swenden’s Seltzer Water as supplied by Messrs Sarsfield and Co. the well-known family and dispensing chemists, of the Market Place.

Although the whole of the local balls have this year been abandoned owing to the dark war cloud looming over the country, there is no reason why the delightful art of Terpsichore [one of the muses, delight in dancing] should be entirely neglected. Our little friends need to be instructed how to “trip the light fantastic” so that they may do themselves justice in the ballroom when peace again reigns, and we notice the classes held by Miss E. Smith at the Masonic Hall in Old Elvet, and those held by the Misses Balles at the Burlison Art Gallery, 49, Sadler Street, have been running merrily during the past term and that the second term is now announced.

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